Isla Vista COVID-19 Outbreak to Prevent County from Reaching Orange Tier
By edhat staff
The Public Health Department (PHD) stated the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Isla Vista will most likely prevent the county from moving on to the less restrictive orange tier.
There are currently 34 active COVID-19 cases within Isla Vista and officials are monitoring outbreaks at five fraternity and sorority houses, said Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso in a press conference Friday afternoon.
The initial outbreak reported last week appeared to show two separate clusters of positive cases within two fraternity and sorority houses. Unfortunately, increased testing showed the outbreak was not contained and several more cases were identified through contact tracing.
County Supervisor Gregg Hart cautioned that if these residents did not gather at parties and were more responsible, this situation could have been avoided entirely.
UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College are reportedly sending letters to their students revealing possible consequences such as suspension if public health guidelines are not followed. Hart urged Isla Vista property managers and landlords to also show stronger restrictions with their tenants.
"There's so much at stake right now," said Hart.
Santa Barbara County was very close to achieving the orange tier, although this latest outbreak has set us solidly in the red tier, said Do-Reynoso. The county will need to achieve orange tier numbers for two consecutive weeks before being allowed to step down. She also cautioned that an increase in more cases could set us back to the highest purple-colored "widespread" tier where more businesses would have to shut down.
The Public Health Department (PHD) is hosting another COVID-19 testing event on Thursday, October 29 through October 31 at the Isla Vista Theatre. UC Santa Barbara is also hosting their own testing events on campus and will report their findings to PHD and the general public, although official numbers may lag by a day or two, said Do-Reynoso.
As of last week, the county's daily case rate fluctuated between 4.5 to 4.9 cases per 100,000 population with the testing positivity trending downward between 2.1 - 2.4%, said Do-Reynoso. In order to move into the orange tier, the county's daily case rate will need to be less than 3.9.
There were 45 new cases reported on Friday, 12 of those located in Isla Vista and 18 in Santa Maria. The grand total is 9,760 with 129 currently active. There have been 120 deaths.
There are currently 17 hospitalizations including three in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Do-Reynoso stated that while it's good the hospitalizations are going down, we all need to be mindful of the increase of COVID-19 cases because it may impact vulnerable populations She warned it's not a good idea to throw open the gates based on one metric, it's best to examine case rates and testing positivity.
More data can be found at https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/