Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19 title=
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19
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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County health officials held a press conference Monday evening to answer questions and calm the community about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

County Supervisor Gregg Hart opened by acknowledging the anxiety everyone is feeling stating this is a very serious event. "Elected officials and fully committed to doing everything we can to adapt to this rapidly changing environment," said Hart. "Heed the recommendations and mandates from the local public health department."

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso reminded community members to practice social distancing as it is essential to slow the progression of the virus.

Current Numbers

Officials reiterated the previous reports of one person testing positive for COVID-19, a male in his 60's located in the Santa Maria area, as well as five UC Santa Barbara students quarantined in Isla Vista. Test results are expected to become available within the next two days for the quarantined students.

As of Monday at 2:40 p.m., there were 128 tests used within Santa Barbara County to detect COVID-19 in specific patients. Of those tests, there was 1 positive as mentioned above, 31 negatives, and 96 are currently pending.  

Do-Reynoso stated these numbers are underreported as they're still waiting for data from one hospital and two private labs. 

Testing Tiers

Santa Barbara County has over 1,700 testing kits available. Due to the limited number, officials state it is extremely available to focus on symptomatic patients. The area's five hospitals and community clinics determined a three-tier system for providers to assess who will receive testing.

Those in Tier 1 will receive testing first. This group consists of elderly people living in assisted living homes, nursing facilities, or senior communities. Anyone who works in the healthcare or first responder industry: doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, etc. will also receive care first due to the community relying on their services. Also, people who are hospitalized and must be isolated in negative pressure rooms will have their test results fast-tracked in order to mitigate the potential shortage of pressure rooms, said Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg.

Tier 2 will include severely ill people with underlying health conditions. Tier 3 will include people who are mildly ill where the treatment would include isolation at home until medically cleared. 

"We would like to have everyone tested but at the moment we cannot afford it. In the next 10 days we hope for more availability of testing," said Ansorg. "I urge people to understand this is out of our hands, there are nationwide and global shortages of important ingredients in these test kids and swabs."

Two community healthcare partners are organizing drive-by testing centers. However, this is meant for patients who have been previously screened and met medical criteria. The collection of samples done in parking lot or outside the facility will be by appointment only.

What If I Feel Sick?

If you feel sick and coming down with upper or lower respiratory systems, consider yourself a potential case to take it seriously, says Dr. Ansorg.

"Do not go to work, do not mingle with people. Stay isolated and take care of yourself. Have lots of fluids, take Tylenol for body aches and fevers," said Ansorg.

If you feel yourself getting sicker, contact your healthcare provider and call ahead. Dr. Ansorg states that your symptoms are highly contagious and it's best to wear a mask if traveling outside the home to the hospital or doctor's office. If you are experiencing shortness of breath or trouble breathing, call the hospital's Emergency Room before going. 

For those who do not have a primary care provider or do not have insurance, medical support and attention is offered at the County Healthcare centers and Neighborhood clinics.  

COVID-19 is transmitted via droplets, unlike other airborne illnesses. Droplets in a cough typically only travel three feet, which is why the social distancing recommendation is six feet. The virus can also live several hours or days on surfaces, depending on the environment. It's recommended that everyone disinfects frequently touched surfaces and does not touch their eyes, nose, or mouth due to the virus surviving in mucous membranes. 

A community call center is available at 833-688-5551 for anyone with questions.

The full video is available below:

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MyHonorStudentB Mar 19, 2020 11:09 AM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Why is the PH white coat telling us that coughs carry "three feet". 15:30 Google tells me: that is the guideline. But didn't the cottage hospital briefing posted on EdH, thank you, tell us six feet? And sneezes, even further, with 15 foot and even 25+ foot potential risk zones? Doesn't seem right. Is it a matter of downplaying risk to tamp down what they view as undue concern (panic buying, hoarding)? I am just asking, not propounding any particular doctrine here.

MyHonorStudentB Mar 19, 2020 02:19 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Spot on, Minibeast. I too found many sources which contradict the feel-good "three-foot" line. To be fair, she probably meant to say that the highest risk zone was three feet, but the way she presents it she omits to point out the extended risk zone, which as you indicate extend to 15-30 feet. Clearly, she omits mention of sneezes, which project further than coughs. It seems to be the W.H.O. which puts out the 3' bit. Well, Dr. V is working very very hard everyone is tired, I wouldn't come down too hard. Human beings at work.

Minibeast Mar 19, 2020 01:41 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Just to be clear: droplets from a cough can carry 6m/20'. Droplets from a sneeze can reach as far as 8m/26.25'. And, one thing to remember, too: those droplets may then linger in the air for up to 10 minutes.

jqb Mar 18, 2020 04:21 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Good article on projected number of cases and availability of hospital beds, tailorable by location:

jemila Mar 18, 2020 12:40 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Reply to A-1584558998 Mar 17 8 am.: re: "universal health care propaganda" Their system is rated much higher than ours and works better than ours. You are about to see how badly ours handles it if we don't act VERY fast. OUR system has very little extra capacity to handle this pandemic. The only difference is, we are able to borrow billions (from China) to try to push up our capacity, while Italy cannot. And, we got to learn from what happened to Italy, and what will happen to us if we don't take more extreme measures NOW. See Jemila answer 3-18-20 9:17 am, above, to Gifted in SB (3-28-20 9:17 am)

a-1594584257 Mar 17, 2020 08:50 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

They are coming out with new data on this virus - I was reading new results and they are now saying it can be airborne up to 1/2 hour after someone sneezes or coughs, and definitely can travel more than 6 feet (more than the distance they've been telling us). Also stays viable on steel and plastic for quite some time, longer than the SARS-CoVid-1 virus.

jqb Mar 18, 2020 02:21 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

The "they" who are coming out with new data are the same "they" who have been telling us 6 feet -- namely, hard-working scientists who are trying to eke out the details. But the report you're referring to does not say that it can be airborne for up to 1/2 hour after someone sneezes or coughs (it actually says that it is "detectable in aerosols for up to three hours"), nor does it say that it definitely can travel more than 6 feet (it doesn't mention the distance). Nor does it say that it stays viable on steel and plastic longer than "SARS-CoVid-1" (sic); it says the opposite: "In the stability study the two viruses behaved similarly, which unfortunately fails to explain why COVID-19 has become a much larger outbreak". [COVID-19 means "COronaVIrus Disease of 2019; the disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. SARS-CoV-1, previously called SARS-CoV, is the virus that causes SARS] See Eastbeach's link for what it actually says. Including links and quote exact wording is a lot more reliable and credible than trying to recall and paraphrase what you have read somewhere.

EastBeach Mar 18, 2020 01:02 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

This is the CDC update referred to by 08:50 PM .....

a-1594584257 Mar 17, 2020 08:07 AM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Dr Fauci said the virus doesn’t survive long on porous surfaces, but I received a slick magazine in the mail, so I sprayed it with rubbing alcohol. I’d love to get better guidelines to know if this is ludicrous or actually wise.

Santabarb Mar 17, 2020 07:30 AM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Test kits should be used on the local airport's TSA people where numbers of TSA people have tested positive at other California airports.

a-1594584257 Mar 17, 2020 06:58 AM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Um so could the INSURED person in the coffee shop, or in the grocery store line that you're standing right behind (people need to give others in line some space!). Insurance or lack of insurance is not the issue here, it's really about people that think it can't happen to them. Our communities are making it possible, and pretty much a necessity, to stay home right now so let's all do that as much as possible.

Nature Boy Mar 16, 2020 08:41 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

“If you feel yourself getting sicker, contact your healthcare provider.” As if everyone HAS a healthcare provider. Imagine someone saying “Hmmm i have a fever, maybe i should ask my doctor” instead of “Hmmm i have a fever, i wish i could afford to have a doctor”. Maybe universal healthcare isn’t such a crazy idea? We’re the only industrialized country without it, and our life expectancy ranks NUMBER 46, behind TONS of nations that have it. Source:

jqb Mar 18, 2020 02:58 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Unfortunately, Jem, the U.S. is behind Italy on the timeline of viral arrival and spread, and the shape of the growth curve is the same as theirs, so we will probably see the same overwhelming of the healthcare system (especially in high population areas like NYC), despite having seen their experience unfold.

jemila Mar 18, 2020 12:25 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Ours works much worse. You lack accurate information, thanks to American propaganda. See reply above to Gifted in SB from Jemila 3-18-20 9:17 am.

jemila Mar 18, 2020 09:17 AM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

VERY misinformed. Italy's system is much better than ours, the U.S. is way down there -- OUR system would also have been overwhelmed if we got the numbers of people they got, as suddenly as it happened. our funding is much worse becoz it's for profit; only a fraction of Americans feel they can afford to go to a doctor until things are critical. So they would have waited til very sick - thus totally overwhelming the available beds /resources. Our much more expensive system (because inefficient, and corrupted by profit/greed) would have been totally crushed if we got the onslaught Italy did. WE do NOT have excess capacity to handle much extra patient load, have you not been watching the news? The reason Italy's system got crushed is because they did not employ widespread testing & social distancing soon enough to contain it before the numbers of people were out of control. WE ARE LUCKY that we get to watch what happened in Italy so that we can prepare better. If we hadn't witnessed what happened to Italy, we would have had the same result because our capacity is similar. But now, if we MOVE FAST, we may be able to avoid Italy's fate. Our health system's resources CAN NOT meet the challenge, but if we call in the military's medical resources & staff, and buy a lot supplies from other countries FAST, we may be OK. Some of our hospitals are out of masks NOW, and are about to be out of respirators, and it's just getting started. Crucially, we lack staff- even if the military sets up field hospitals & finds enough beds, we lack the staff for them. . . . Also - it's not that Italy's health system doesn't have the money to handle this -- ours doesn't either. -- But in an emergency, our govt can step in and borrow the billions needed (from China), while Italy cannot. We and our children, though, will be paying off the tab for this health+economic crisis for a LONG time.

mtndriver Mar 17, 2020 09:48 PM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

8:01 am--Italy's health care system is rated 2nd best in the world, after France. The reason they're in trouble is not the quality of their health care, it's because the virus went exponential before they instituted social distancing. That's why our country is being so adamant about it now, because the quality of your health care doesn't matter if there isn't enough to go around when people are really seriously ill. Slow down the spread so you can treat people when they need it. European health care is excellent, cost is low, and everyone is covered. That's not political language, that's just what happens to be true.

giftedinSB Mar 17, 2020 11:44 AM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

And this is crippling their system. There is simply not enough funding for everyone to have their services covered, and doctors are being asked to make some tough calls about who gets funding. “Informed by the principle of maximizing benefits for the largest number,” they suggest that “the allocation criteria need to guarantee that those patients with the highest chance of therapeutic success will retain access to intensive care.” This is why socialism doesn't work.

a-1594584257 Mar 17, 2020 08:01 AM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

Really you are going to stand on the universal health care propaganda right now? Italy has universal health care. So does France. Take a look at what is going on there. Get off the political BS right now ppl.

Santabarb Mar 17, 2020 07:37 AM
Health Officials Update Community on COVID-19

I spent most of my life without a doctor; in other words, I never visited a doctor for any purpose. Anytime the phrase "see your physician" is mentioned, I wonder how many of the younger generation actually don't have a physician to see!

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