COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia  title=
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia
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Crowds gathered on Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista for a past Deltopia event (Photo: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office)

By edhat staff

UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang confirms a COVID-19 case in Isla Vista and urges students not to participate in Deltopia activities.

On Wednesday afternoon, Santa Barbara County stated the beaches in Isla Vista will be closed from April 4-5 due to the potential for a “Floatopia” event this weekend.  The closure is being declared to prevent a re-occurrence of the conditions that resulted from the 2009 Floatopia where trash and debris, including human waste, were left on the beach.

"This large scale event with thousands of participants had no provision for the health and well-being of the public, including no facilities for human sanitation or refuse collection. Since 2010, the County of Santa Barbara took action to close the Isla Vista beaches for similar events," the county posted in a statement.

Following 2009, Isla Vista residents moved the beach party to Del Playa Drive hosting a large scale street party dubbed "Deltopia." Neither event is sanctioned with proper permits. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department will enforce the closure.

Additionally,  no overnight parking will be allowed on the UC Santa Barbara campus Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4. Registered students with appropriate parking permits may use designated lots from 9 a.m. Friday, April 3, until 7:30 a.m. Monday, April 6. Parking is allowed only in Structure 22 and Parking Lot 30. All other campus lots are subject to closure and may be physically closed. Parking in Isla Vista will be subject to potential closures beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, April 3.

Below is Chancellor Yang's message to the UCSB community, sent on Tuesday, March 31.


Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

We write to share two important COVID-19 related developments. 

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has deployed GIS mapping to more precisely identify locations of confirmed cases. As a result, a previously confirmed case of COVID-19 was found to be located within the boundaries of the Isla Vista community. We have no indication that this case involves anyone affiliated with UC Santa Barbara, but given the proximity of Isla Vista to campus, the number of our students who live in Isla Vista, and our faculty and staff who live in Isla Vista or adjacent communities, we wanted to notify our campus community of this development. We send our best wishes to this individual as they recover. 

We would like to use this opportunity to remind our students, especially those who remain in campus housing and who live in Isla Vista, of the actions we can all take to save lives by helping slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition to the preventative actions recommended by the CDC, we strongly urge everyone to follow Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order and the IV Community Services District’s state-of-emergency declaration that directs everyone to stay inside, avoid social gatherings with anyone other than those who share your living space, and practice social/physical distancing. Please read a new message from our faculty health experts, our Associate Students president, and our Student Health medical director that I have included as an attachment below. Every one of us has an important role to play in battling this pandemic.

In addition to the case in Isla Vista, we were informed by two members of our UC Santa Barbara community who live together that they both tested positive for COVID-19 after one of the individuals returned from travel to Europe on Friday, March 13. Both individuals have not been on campus and have been in self-quarantine since March 13. They currently remain in self-quarantine off campus and are recovering. Our thoughts and well-wishes are with our two colleagues.  

These confirmed cases in our community will raise concerns and questions. Our highest priority is protecting the health of each and every one of you, but we also are committed to ensuring everyone’s privacy. Santa Barbara County Public Health conducts thorough investigations of positive cases and notifies any individuals they believe may have had contact with the confirmed cases. We will work closely with public health officials to follow notification procedures and guidelines and to keep our community informed.

For our community members who may be feeling anxiety and stress, we urge you to reach out and contact campus support services. Students in need can reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and Mental Health Peers, and faculty and staff can contact the Academic & Staff Assistance Program (ASAP). Additional information and assistance are available at our Office of International Students and Scholars and our Student Health Service (SHS) as well.

We are thankful to everyone in our community for playing their part to slow the spread of this virus. We also want to express our deepest appreciation to all of those individuals who are on the frontlines, here on campus and across the nation and globe – risking their own health and safety to protect us and to support the daily life of our communities. We are grateful for their heroism. 

Please take good care of yourselves and each other. 

Sincerely, 

Henry T. Yang
Chancellor


Letter to Our UC Santa Barbara Students

Students at UC Santa Barbara — We are now at a critical moment.

We are writing to inform you that the number of cases is increasing rapidly in Santa Barbara County. There are 88 cases as of today, 14 of which are in individuals younger than 29, and one confirmed case in Isla Vista. If we can slow the spread of the disease throughout IV by minimizing contact with each other, every one of us — but especially you, our students — will be the heroes of our community. By standing strong in adherence with strict social distancing, we can beat this disease.

To the people who have been taking their social responsibilities seriously, we thank you. Thank you for being strong and accepting the challenge of staying at home and taking these precautions. 

Our message remains simple: We need your help now more than ever. With the rapidly mounting case numbers of COVID-19 in our communities, we have reached a tipping point. If we fail to act decisively at this moment, this disease will extract a terrible toll on our community. It is not an exaggeration to say that without maintaining social distance, our community will very likely lose lives to this invisible virus. In a very short time, COVID-19 could spread within the close quarters of Isla Vista, leaving no one untouched. 

We understand there are many temptations: socializing with friends you do not live with, gathering at the beach, having Deltopia. We ask each of you to be a leader and to communicate to your friends that the social proximity of large parties and gatherings, especially one like Deltopia, is dangerous. This is the time to be mindful and smart. Doing the right thing now will give you the gift of another day, in the not too distant future, to enjoy with your friends and family. We know this isn’t easy, but we can overcome this together.

Please remember how COVID-19 spreads. It begins with a small number of cases. Some people may not even know they have the virus, because sometimes its symptoms are mild. During this time, the virus is silently working its way through the community, and before long, the number of cases will increase dramatically. Large numbers of people will become infected. Young people are not exempt. You can suffer for weeks and weeks with the illness and sustain lifelong damage to your lungs or kidneys. You can infect others including your parents and grandparents for whom the disease has a high risk of mortality. In a crowded place like Isla Vista, the virus will spread quickly, so we must strictly adhere to social distancing.

What is social distancing? Deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illnesses. Staying at least 6 feet from others reduces your risk of catching COVID-19. Six feet is about the length of a pool table. 

How can I practice social distancing? Avoid gatherings and parties, avoid handshakes and hugs, and limit contact with people

Does it work? YES! 
• Without social distancing, one person can infect 2.5 people on day one and a total of 460 people over 30 days. 

• By reducing social contacts by 50%, one person can infect 1.25 people on day one and a total of 15 people over 30 days. That is a reduction of over 30-fold!

Remember COVID-19 does not discriminate. It can come from any person, at any time, in any place. Do not treat those you believe may have COVID-19 with acts of racism or hate. There is no room for that behavior in our community. Let us come together during this tough time. We thank you all again for your continued cooperation in doing your part.

Kenneth S. Kosik, MD
Co-Director, Neuroscience Research Institute
Harriman Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Carolina Arias Gonzalez, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Charles E. Samuel, PhD
C.A. Storke Professor and Distinguished Professor, Emeritus
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Ali Javanbakht, MD
Medical Director and Interim Executive Director
UCSB Student Health

Alison Sir
UCSB Student Body President
Associated Students

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65 Comments

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Chip of SB Apr 03, 2020 01:10 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

Kids will be kids, but perhaps their actions are unintentionally enlightened. From what I have read, this virus will continue to spread until a majority of the population has had it and become immune. Once a sufficient portion of the population is immune, the virus can no longer transmit quickly enough to survive. If we "lock down" and actually succeed in stopping new cases before a sufficient portion of people become immune, then what happens when the "lockdown" ends? Will exponential growth of new cases simply resume until enough people become immune to stop transmission? Will all our economic sacrifices be proven a waste when transmission of the virus resumes? It certainly appears that is the case. Countries that were successful in stopping the spread early, like Singapore and Hong Kong, are now implementing renewed "lockdown" measures because transmission has resumed. They are unable to transition back to normal life. This indicates the only way we can truly get back to normal is by getting enough people to develop immunity. Assuming that's the case the best thing we could do is have the people who are least likely have severe cases of the virus, specifically all those damn kids, go out and get it so they become immune. Healthy young people are not going to become a burden on the healthcare system because of this virus, and once they develop immunity they will truly do their part to "slow the spread." Are these kids wantonly endangering the public, or heroically (although unintentionally) sacrificing themselves in order to build herd immunity and stop the virus for good? Time will tell.

TJTom Apr 02, 2020 11:52 AM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

The Chancellor's message included "... we strongly urge everyone to follow Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order..."
That is a disturbingly weak position.
He should have phrased it as " we remind you that everyone is required to follow Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order"

aragorn Apr 02, 2020 10:26 AM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

My mom who was born in Mexico, never finished 3d grade, came to SB in 1952 when she was only 19 years old, practically learned on her own how to speak, read and write English, always said about those who are learning higher or have higher education, and they do the most dumbest things or act and behave in a undeucational manner would say, "Where is the education"? She was right on with her question.

Kruppe Apr 01, 2020 04:17 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

The more pressing concern is students driving back from LA/SF and bringing COVID with them. If I were to guess, the 1 positive case in IV was "imported" from elsewhere. Now that we have 1 positive, the floodgates are open.

Lucky 777 Apr 01, 2020 03:40 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

My favorite part of the letters is this, apparently necessary for college students who are math challenged: "Staying at least 6 feet from others reduces your risk of catching COVID-19. Six feet is about the length of a pool table. "

Chip of SB Apr 01, 2020 03:15 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

The constitution recognizes the right of the people to peaceably assemble. If this virus justifies suspending that right, then why not also suspend the constitutional prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment? Then we could handle this situation like the authorities in India by having the police chase all the kids out of town by beating them with bamboo sticks.

sacjon Apr 01, 2020 05:35 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

CHIP - ticketing partiers from being on a closed beach will not result in the use of lethal force, unless the partiers pull a weapon on the police. Telling people to stay off a closed beach is not unconstitutional.

x01660 Apr 01, 2020 05:13 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

PUGLVR, you say that "violence is never the answer"; Let me provide you an excerpt from one of my favorite books: ' My mother said violence never solves anything." "So?" Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly. "I'm sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that … I was not making fun of you personally; I was heaping scorn on an inexcusably silly idea — a practice I shall always follow. Anyone who clings to the historically untrue and thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms."

Chip of SB Apr 01, 2020 04:55 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

My point is, if you want to compel people to do things against their will, then you are advocating for the use of lethal force. Let's not mince words here, lethal force is the "enforcement" part of law enforcement. Without it, nobody pays taxes, nobody pays tickets, and nobody goes to jail. The use of lethal force is both necessary and desirable in order to maintain a safe and organized society. I fully support it, but only if that power is strictly limited per the constitution. I find it extremely disturbing that folks are willing to cast aside our constitutional rights so easily in response to this virus. This is setting a frightening precedent.

sacjon Apr 01, 2020 04:04 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

CHIP - paying tickets, etc are all compelled by law. Do you really believe we should have no laws, nor any penalties for violating them? Checkpoints, while useless and unproductive, have been found, by a court of UNARMED men and women, to be constitutional with limitations. As for enforcing the basic laws - paying your ticket and giving the cops your name, well that's part of living in a civilized society. It's not a free for all where no one has to obey the law. Where are you living where this is now somehow a surprise to you?

Chip of SB Apr 01, 2020 03:59 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

SACJON, how do you make the kids pay the tickets, or even provide their names in the first place? What if they refuse? Men with guns will compel their compliance, which seems rather violent to me. You make an excellent point about closing the beach every year. They also set up checkpoints to restrict travel in and out of IV on a somewhat regular basis. I wold say constitutional rights were suspended in IV years ago. Kind of reminds me of the old song by The Clash, "You have the right to free speech.......as long as you don't actually try it!"

sacjon Apr 01, 2020 03:40 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

CHIP - they close the beach every year for Deltopia. And no, violence isn't the only solution. They have these paper tickets where the cops write the kids' names and it tells them where/how much to pay or go to court. Super simple.

Pugluvr1912 Apr 01, 2020 03:36 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

On Wednesday afternoon, Santa Barbara County stated the beaches in Isla Vista will be closed from April 4-5 due to the potential for a “Floatopia” event this weekend. The closure is being declared to prevent a re-occurrence of the conditions that resulted from the 2009 Floatopia where trash and debris, including human waste, were left on the beach.

Chip of SB Apr 01, 2020 03:36 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

PUGLUVR, how do you propose to stop the kids from congregating on the beach? Are you not advocating for the police use the threat of violence in order to stop them? Either you allow the kids to hold their event, or violence is your solution.

sacjon Apr 01, 2020 02:51 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

I'm really hoping they have a strong police presence for this. There are plenty of out of towners probably planning to attend (as every year), who might not be as vigilant or caring about our community as we are. It would be a great opportunity for the police to enforce the social distancing order among those who are repeatedly violating it.

CoastWatch Apr 01, 2020 02:41 PM
COVID-19 in Isla Vista and Beach Closures to Prevent Deltopia

"...We understand there are many temptations: socializing with friends you do not live with, gathering at the beach, having Deltopia. We ask each of you to be a leader and to communicate to your friends that the social proximity of large parties and gatherings, especially one like Deltopia, is dangerous. This is the time to be mindful and smart. Doing the right thing now will give you the gift of another day, in the not too distant future, to enjoy with your friends and family. We know this isn’t easy, but we can overcome this together...." That these are the individuals, who were SELECTED FOR HIGHER EDUCATION and that they need to be told NO DELTOPIA is quite frankly, amazing.

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