COVID Recap: More Businesses to Open, New State Coding System & More
By edhat staff
California has switched its COVID-19 monitoring system and is allowing hair salons, barbershops, and retail stores to reopen indoors with restrictions.
During a press conference on Friday, local officials discussed their efforts to quickly adapt to these new changes.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) Director Van Do-Reynoso stated the county is launching a Housing for Harvest program on Monday. It's aimed at providing temporary hotel housing for food processing and farmworkers who either test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed, do not require hospitalization and are unable to isolate at home.
Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg also stated that with the announcement of the school waiver program last week, 13 elementary schools have submitted applications throughout the county. Of the 13 schools, 12 are private schools and one is a school district. PHD is actively reviewing the applications which will then be forwarded to the state for approval or denial.
Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said her district is waiting until they receive 70% of participation in a recent survey with parents and families' input before moving forward.
Blueprint for a Safer Economy
Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) introduced the State’s new Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a color-coded, tiered framework for reducing COVID-19 and adjusting permitted sector activities to keep Californians healthy and safe. This replaces the state's data monitoring list.
The Blueprint for a Safer Economy includes four tiers designed to loosen and tighten restrictions on activities and business operations. Each tier indicates a particular risk level:
- Purple (widespread) - Many non-essential indoor business operations are closed
- Red (substantial) - Some non-essential indoor business operations are closed
- Orange (moderate) - Some indoor business operations are open with modifications
- Yellow (minimal) - Most indoor business operations are open with modifications
This framework lays out the measures that each county must meet, based on indicators that capture disease burden, testing, and health equity. A county may be more restrictive than this framework. Movement across the tiers are based on COVID-19 metrics such as new cases and positive test rates.
Santa Barbara County currently falls under the purple “Widespread” risk level. To move down to the red-colored "substantial" risk level, the county would need to achieve between 4 - 7 daily new cases per 100,000 and a 5-8% testing positivity rate.
Currently, the county is achieving a 9 daily new case rate and 6.5% testing positivity. The daily case rate must drop to 7 and the testing positivity rate cannot increase past 8% for a period of two consecutive weeks before the county would be able to move down to the next level and reopen more businesses.
Throughout the states 58 counties, only 8 are in the red tier, 8 in the orange tier, and 3 in the yellow tier. The rest are in the widespread purple tier.
Hair Salons, Barbershops, and Retail Allowed to Reopen Indoors
Governor Newsom also released new industry guidance for hair salons and barbershops to reopen indoors.
Employees and customers are required to wear face coverings at all times, businesses must establish a written workplace-specific COVID-19 prevention plan and train all employees on the plan, investigate any COVID-19 illness and any close contacts with that person, and provide temperature and/or symptom screenings for customers and employees.
Employees are also required to wear disposable gloves and face shields, clean all surfaces and tools regularly, and remove any self-serve amenities such as beverages and magazines.
The new guidance also allows all retail and shopping centers to reopen at a maximum of 25% capacity.
PHD is expected to release a new health officer order within the coming days so these businesses can reopen early next week.
State-Run Testing Site Moves from Earl Warren Showgrounds to Goleta Valley Community Center
The State-operated testing site currently located at the Earl Warren Showgrounds is moving to the Goleta Valley Community Center. The last day of testing services at Earl Warren Showgrounds will be August 31, 2020.
Testing services will begin on September 3, 2020 at the Goleta Valley Community Center. Testing appointments can now be made for the Goleta site online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.
“We are very pleased with this move to the Goleta Valley Community Center. This location offers residents of Goleta and Isla Vista expanded testing opportunity by proximity to, and ease of access by public transportation,” said Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County Public Health Director.
The testing being conducted is intended to identify if an individual currently has the COVID-19 virus. When considering getting a test, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) recommends asking yourself the following questions. If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you should get tested.
- Do you work in a high-risk environment for the transmission of COVID-19?
- Are you an essential worker?
- Do you live or work in a congregate setting?
- Have you had close contact with an individual who has been recently confirmed as having COVID-19?
- Close contact is about 15 minutes, in a closed room less than six feet apart.
- Have you been experiencing any symptoms of illness, different than seasonal allergies?
- Cough, runny nose, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, loss of taste, nausea, etc.
- Has a Public Health Department employee told you to get tested?
If you cannot answer yes to any of these questions, you are at a lower risk for contracting COVID-19 and are not advised to be tested at this time.
The Goleta Valley Community Center is located at 5679 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117. Testing is by appointment only. For more information about COVID-19, please visit www.publichealthsbc.org.
Do-Reynoso added the testing site in Buellton still has a capacity of over 100 slots per day.
Beaches & Waterfront Parking Restrictions for Labor Day Weekend
PHD clarified all county beaches will not be closed, just restricted over the Labor Day weekend.
All beaches will be temporarily closed for stationary activities. Only immediate access to and from the ocean for water sports or beach access for active physical activity will be permitted. A Health Officer Order has been issued effective Friday, September 4 at 12:01 a.m. and continuing until Monday, September 7 at 11:59 p.m.
In addition, all Waterfront parking lots, except for Harbor Main, Launch Ramp, and Stearns Wharf, will be closed from Friday, September 4 at 2 a.m. through Tuesday, September 8 at 6 a.m.
Disease transmission rates have been consistently improving in the last few weeks yet this metric still remains above the threshold outlined by the California Department of Public Health for being removed from the County Monitoring List.
The following restrictions apply for the duration of the Health Officer Order:
Sitting, lying, standing, sunbathing, sight-seeing, picnicking, and all other non-exercise, passive, or sedentary activities on beach parkways are prohibited.
Items for sitting or lying on the beach are prohibited for use of possession on beaches, such as umbrellas, shade structures, tents, barbecue grills, sand or beach toys, coolers and beach chairs.
Full details regarding these restrictions can be found in the Health Officer Order.
"Reduced disease transmission is critical in the fight against COVID-19. We anticipate a high volume of visitors at our beaches during the Labor Day weekend, which will impede the practice of safe and necessary social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County," said Dr. Henning Ansorg. "Our community has remained diligent in their efforts and now is the time to protect all the positive outcomes we have accomplished."
Friday's COVID-19 Numbers
PHD announced 67 new COVID-19 cases and one death during Friday's press conference.
The resident was over 70 years of age with underlying health conditions and lived in a congregate-care facility in Santa Maria.
The county's total is now 8,014. Of those, 246 are active within the community. There are currently 40 hospitalizations and 21 in the intensive care unit (ICU).
During Friday's press conference, Dr. Do-Reynoso stated that over 70% of positive COVID-19 cases across the county's three testing sites have been asymptomatic.
Visit https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/ for more data.