COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen title=
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen
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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) announced 61 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths but is confident the county should continue to reopen.

During a press conference on Friday afternoon, Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg confirmed the majority of the new cases are mostly due to a backlog of cases that were not previously reported and the county is in good shape to reopen. 

While Friday's case number is the highest ever recorded in the county, Dr. Henning stated 38 positive test results were recently added due to a glitch from a testing lab that delayed the reporting for approximately ten days. The positive number is more truly 23 cases, he said.

The Numbers

There were 61 new cases announced making a total of 1,971 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County. Of the total, 985 cases are at the Federal Prison in Lompoc, 986 are community cases, and 1664 have fully recovered.

There were also two deaths announced, both were over 70 years of age with underlying health conditions residing in the City of Santa Maria. This marks 18 total COVID-19 related deaths within the county.

“We extend our condolences to the families and friends of both of these individuals. Please, as we continue to open more and more of our economy wear your face coverings, wash your hands often and avoid gatherings.” said Dr. Ansorg.

From the 218 active cases in the county, 167 are quarantined at home, 51 are recovering in hospitals with 12 in intensive care units (ICU), and 57 are pending information.

The Case of Santa Maria

From the 986 community cases, 645 belong to the Santa Maria area making up 65% of the county's community cases. North County as a whole contains 78% of the COVID-19 cases within the entire county.

In previous press conferences, PHD officials have stated the increase of cases in the Santa Maria area is concerning but they have yet to pinpoint a specific reason as the cases are evenly spread among demographics.

PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso will brief the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday about demographics of COVID-19 cases within the county, which will include in-depth information on the Santa Maria cases. 

Are We Safe to Reopen?

Additional sectors of business including hotels, bars, gyms, and museums are allowed to reopen with modifications. More than 2,456 local businesses have self-certified through the county's website to become eligible for reopening. 

Dr. Ansorg stated he's confident to continue reopening due to a decrease in the number of ICU patients, which indicates the severity of the illness in the general population. In April there was an average of 17 to 18 patients in the ICU whereas now it's averaging around 10 or 11, he said. 

Due to increased testing capabilities, the number of total positive COVID-19 cases will continue to increase, but those numbers have to be interpreted with background information, said Dr. Ansorg.

Additionally, the nasal swab testing is highly sensitive and a positive result does not mean the carrier is necessarily ill or contagious, he said. The testing process has shifted over the past month from just focuses on patients with severe symptoms to allowing anyone to get a test. 

"We do treat all positive [cases] as if they were contagious out of an abundance of caution because the swab cannot tell infectious from no longer infectious," said Dr. Ansorg. 

He gave a rough estimate that approximately half of those who test positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic and appear to be healthy.

Cases Increase at Skilled Nursing Facilities

PHD confirmed they are continuing to support the 14 skilled nursing facilities within the county. 

Country Oaks in Santa Maria reported an outbreak on May 31 and they currently have 12 positive staff members and 24 positive residents with two that require hospitalization. Resources from the state are currently assisting the facility.

Additionally, there has been one positive case at Valle Verde and one positive case at Casa Dorinda. 

The positive case at Casa Dorinda was a private duty nurse the family had asked to visit a patient in the Medical Center. The nurse did not have any symptoms and was asked to quarantine following the diagnosis. The nurse's patient has tested negative as well as all other residents at the facility, according to a member of the Casa Dorinda Medical Committee.

Baseline testing for all residents and staff members at each skilled nursing facility is expected to be complete at the end of June. Between five and six facilities have already finished. 

Following the baseline testing, the facility is responsible for future surveillance testing.

Is a Second Wave Coming?

Dr. Ansorg warned the virus is still spreading however fewer people are experiencing severe illness as daily case reports suggest.

It's unclear if local protests will contribute to an increase in numbers or if it's due to reopening business sectors. However, if PHD needs to reengage stricter measures, it will not be done overnight, said Dr. Do-Reynoso.

Dr. Ansorg stated he is confident the continued phased opening is a responsible move providing the community adjusts to the new normal and continues to physically distance, perform proper hygiene, and wear a face mask.

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a-1592025679 Jun 12, 2020 10:21 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

So, when someone is "over the age of 70 with underlying health conditions" - that could be 98 and in hospice, or any number of combinations. I think the over-generalizations creates an atmosphere of alarm, where in the before-times, it would have been assumed that the person passed along, whether it be from age, or exposure to any number of things - food poisoning, legionnaires disease, god forbid - the flu, heart attack, pneumonia, etc. would have been attributed to those things alone. It seems now, that regardless of the ultimate cause of passing, if the person is tested positive for Covid-19, that gets the limelight and is listed as the cause of death. https://denver.cbslocal.com/2020/05/15/coronavirus-death-colorado-health/ The rising numbers of cases, in my mind, simply reflects the fact that, initially, only the very sick - hospitalized - were being tested. It is now being opened up to anyone, symptoms or not. Of course there is going to be a rise in positive diagnoses. I am in no way dismissing the concerns of others, but questioning the panic driven 24/7 screaming media.

TJTom Jun 13, 2020 09:54 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

@ 11:58 Re: Correct me if I'm wrong...
The original posting included "While Friday's case number is the highest ever recorded in the county, Dr. Henning stated 38 positive test results were recently added due to a glitch from a testing lab that delayed the reporting for approximately ten days. "

I find it disturbing that these such things happen and it makes me wonder what other mistakes the testing labs make.

ginger1 Jun 12, 2020 10:31 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Dr. Ansorg said (something completely opposite of what was said last week): **the nasal swab testing is highly sensitive and a positive result does not mean the carrier is necessarily ill or contagious** The testing process has shifted over the past month from just focuses on patients with severe symptoms to allowing anyone to get a test.

"We do treat all positive [cases] as if they were contagious out of an abundance of caution because the swab cannot tell infectious from no longer infectious," said Dr. Ansorg.

He gave a rough estimate that approximately half of those who test positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic and appear to be healthy.

Bottom line: Try to decipher that, it means he doesn't know a damn thing and decisions about how to "manage" the "contagion" and the "re-opening of the economy" are based on bullshit and are mostly just a good, oftentimes politically expedient guesswork.

a-1592060202 Jun 13, 2020 07:56 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

It simply means you could test positive but it doesn't mean you are contagious or symptomatic. It means you have the virus, period. To date there is no test to show the actual transmission of a virus particle from one host to another and whether that transmission results in a new colony of viruses to be established in the new host. Keep it simple and try to keep political agendas out of public health as it affects everyone, not just liberal or conservative.

Mesarats Jun 13, 2020 07:25 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

“Dr. Henning stated 38 positive test results were recently added due to a glitch from a testing lab that delayed the reporting for approximately ten days. “

Wonder if there was any delay in the patients getting their results

a-1592064334 Jun 13, 2020 09:05 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

It appears that there is no real control over social distancing and wearing masks from what I have seen. Therefore, there is no real control over the virus spreading, other than the people who do follow the guidelines, which is not a majority of the people I have seen.

Shasta Guy Jun 13, 2020 09:37 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Your job is to keep yourself safe using proper hygiene. If you think encountering someone outside who isn’t wearing a mask will kill you, then don’t go outside. Don’t expect other people to cater to your hypersensitivity. Do what you think is safe to protect your health, but don’t freak out when others don’t.

Chaparral Jun 13, 2020 09:56 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Rumors have had it for a few weeks that there are unreported Covid19 cases in local nursing homes. Plus there's a general sense that cases in the city of Santa Barbara are under-reported. The local tourism industry suppresses negative news from Santa Barbara in general. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest they have a hand in this? The hotels pay hefty tax bills which equals influence, after all.

a-1592070661 Jun 13, 2020 10:51 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Eastside and Westside residents can't get to Earl Warren Showgrounds. Major transportation issues between lack of vehicles and reliance on MTD. The testing facility needs to be moved or rotated into both areas. This is why Santa Barbara is being under-reported.

RHS Jun 13, 2020 10:15 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Dr. Do-Reynoso simply does not want to go the way of Orange County's health dept head who ended up resigning after protest on mask orders and such led to her being harassed on line and in public and her home address being disclosed in open at the Supervisor's public meeting. I am skeptical than any place in CA is ready for opening if that means it is predictably safe.

mtndriver Jun 13, 2020 02:13 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

RHS, at 10:15--No place on earth is predictably safe, except maybe New Zealand right now. It seems like people are forgetting that the lockdown's purpose was to flatten the curve, not to eradicate the virus. Most of us are going to catch this thing eventually, unless there is an effective vaccine produced in record time. The decision to open is based on the ability of the health care system to handle serious cases. Even though more people are getting infected, the hospitalization numbers have stayed pretty stable, and the ICU beds in use also. If the ICUs look to get overwhelmed, they will shut us down again. In the meantime, use extra care because a lot of people seem to think businesses being open mean this is over. It is far far far from over.

a-1592097709 Jun 13, 2020 06:21 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Read Ginger1's 10:31 p.m. comment. This is the issue. The Dr.s Ansborg et al are equivocating to protect their asses. We have to get better information to make decisions about our own behavior. Meanwhile, get social distance and wear mask in public contact areas. This isn't that hard.

RHS Jun 13, 2020 06:40 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Mtndriver: Check out what is happening in Arizona right now. They are nearing capacity for ICU beds. The problem is not trivial. This is not the same as the common flu or diseases we can understand, diagnose and treat. We need to step back and get some perspective. The inconvenience of this moment is not the test of the value of what we need to do.

@chelsea Jun 13, 2020 12:28 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

A new NPR report suggests the global response to COVID-19 may have been reached on a flawed premise.
Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared.
The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself.
The tests are finding large numbers of people in the US who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous.
"The current best estimates for the infection fatality risk are between 0.5% and 1%," says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. That's in contrast with death rates of 5% or more based on calculations that included only people who got sick enough to be diagnosed with tests that detect the presence of virus in a person's body.

mtndriver Jun 13, 2020 02:16 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

It will be great when there is an accurate antibody test. Hope that day comes! And that it's widely available and cheap. I think knowing if we've been infected already would have a very good effect on people's mental health!

ChemicalSuperFreak Jun 13, 2020 05:18 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Antibody tests are notoriously unreliable. You can pick up past exposures to other coronaviruses if there's low specificity. Look at the FDA's EUA page that lists the stats for some of these quick and cheap tests. A lot of them are garbage.

PitMix Jun 15, 2020 12:28 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

CSF, is there a time limit on the antibody tests? I started feeling sick on 3/8, had many of the reported symptoms, and went to Quest Diagnostic on 6/15 for an antibody test. Supposed to be 1% for false positives and 10% for false negatives. Got a negative result on the blood draw test. Did I wait too long? I couldn't find any info on that.

stewart14 Jun 14, 2020 10:25 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Have any of you gone to Earl Warren and got the test? I went on Monday the 8th and was tested. They said results would be 48-72 hours but I am now on day 6 with no results. BTW, the test itself is very quick, but man... it's an experience/feeling I have never felt in my life!

stewart14 Jun 15, 2020 09:58 AM
COVID-19 Cases Increase but Health Officer Confident to Reopen

Update on my Test after 7 days and no results:

Due to an error, the results for Patient ID <PATIENT_EMPLOYEE_ID> were not received. We apologize for the inconvenience and would like to schedule you again. Please go to www.LHI.care to reschedule.

I can only take 1 brain probe in a lifetime and I'll pass. What a waste of time.

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