Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope
(left to right) Dr. Henning Ansorg, Supervisor Gregg Hart, and Dr. Van De-Reynoso
By edhat staff
Santa Barbara County health officials provided an update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stating social distancing is our only hope to slow the spread of the virus.
The Friday afternoon press conference discussed the shelter in place order issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday evening.
The shelter in place order means all residents should stay in their homes unless accessing essential services such as food, banks, and doctor's visits. Residents are allowed to leave their home but they must practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from other people. (More information on the order can be found here).
County health officials are working with the homeless task force to ensure those in the shelter system are assessed and, if symptomatic, taken care of.
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart emphasized the health and resiliency of our community depends on every resident taking COVID-19 and social distancing seriously.
There are 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County, none of which required hospitalization and are expected to fully recover. There are approximately 200 pending test results, as of Friday afternoon, but that number may be higher due to providers using outside laboratories, said Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg.
However, a new laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona has recently started processing COVID-19 tests and local officials hope to have test results much sooner.
"The recent increase in cases has shown we now have widespread community transmission. This means we can no longer hope that the Santa Barbara area will be spared by this virus," said Dr. Ansorg. "Social distancing is the only option we have to slow down the progression of this contagion. This virus is very contagious and nobody has immunity to it because it is a new virus to the human genome."
With recent reports of, mostly younger, people partying on beaches and hosting "covid parties," Dr. Ansorg urged people to take this threat seriously. "It's capable of making younger and healthy people quite ill. The odds are in their favor, however, it's not unreasonable to believe a younger person can get seriously ill," he said.
Dr. Ansorg continued by stating if we let COVID-19 run its course we could end up worse than Italy with nearly 85% of the population getting sick within two months and at least 5% requiring hospitalization.
"Our healthcare system would collapse. In order to prevent this from happening, we have to take social distancing really seriously. It will give us the chance that not many people get sick at the same time," said Dr. Ansorg.
People with mild symptoms who have not been tested are urged to self-isolate and consider themselves infected with COVID-19. They are advised to stay home for at least 7 days until respiratory symptoms have resolved or the fever has dissipated after 72 hours without the help of medication.
For non-essential businesses who are not complying with the order to temporarily close, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Director Van Do-Reynoso stated it's really unfortunate this is happening and she hopes everyone can abide by Governor Newsom's Executive Order. Additionally, the Environmental Health Services team will be reaching out to all food places to remove dine-in options and transition to dine out options.
Officials also urged people who are panicking and overbuying supplies to be prepared and methodical about their approach while avoiding public situations but not to panic as everyone will still have access to food and medical attention.
To help those who are unable to work during this time, Supervisor Hart stated the county is working with all levels of government to provide assistance packages.
For additional information on COVID-19 visit https://publichealthsbc.org/ or call (833) 688-5551 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The full video of the announcement is available below: