Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

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Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope
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(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:

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Shasta Guy Mar 22, 2020 11:06 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

In parts of Italy, only those younger than 60 get ventilators. A month ago, no one thought it would come to this. STAY AT HOME AND SOCIALLY DISTANCE NOW! *** https://www.jpost.com/International/Israeli-doctor-in-Italy-We-no-longer-help-those-over-60-621856

MyHonorStudentB Mar 21, 2020 01:23 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

At this point, I wonder if there is much point in trying to explain the facts to anyone posting comparisons of the current deaths from COVID-19 with flu, car accidents, etc. We are in the VERY EARLY STAGES of the FIRST WAVE of a pandemic series which is 10x as lethal as flu and far more infectious. Since the vast majority of serious writing on the matter explains this, it seems that the contrary argument is more about arguing for the sake of arguing. This isn't the time for it.

SBLetsGetAlong Mar 21, 2020 12:34 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

US has 24,116 reported cases. 288 deaths Flu season last year by this time 35.5 million people infected with 34,200 deaths. We’ve had COVID-19 here for two months that we are aware of. That’s about half The time period of “flu season”. We are a far way from that number at 288 COVID-19 deaths. Last year there were 490,600 hospitalizations from the flu vs the 24,116 reported cases of COVID-19. So why the mass hysteria and lockdowns? Is this the future every year are we going to shut down the world for “flu season”? Or is that no one cares about the “normal flu”? https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

Minibeast Mar 21, 2020 02:46 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

I should share your well-written comment with my "denier" octagenarian friend, by way of helping him understand the virulence of this virus, but he is one of those who will remain in his belief that this is all "mass hysteria" ------until, sadly, it hits closer to home.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 02:12 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Consequences : These are the accounts of a Louisiana ICU Respiratory Therapist .“It first struck me how different it was when I saw my first coronavirus patient go bad. I was like, Holy shit, this is not the flu. Watching this relatively young guy, gasping for air, pink frothy secretions coming out of his tube and out of his mouth. The ventilator should have been doing the work of breathing but he was still gasping for air, moving his mouth, moving his body, struggling. We had to restrain him. With all the coronavirus patients, we’ve had to restrain them. They really hyperventilate, really struggle to breathe. When you’re in that mindstate of struggling to breathe and delirious with fever, you don’t know when someone is trying to help you, so you’ll try to rip the breathing tube out because you feel it is choking you, but you are drowning. “When someone has an infection, I’m used to seeing the normal colors you’d associate with it: greens and yellows. The coronavirus patients with ARDS have been having a lot of secretions that are actually pink because they’re filled with blood cells that are leaking into their airways. They are essentially drowning in their own blood and fluids because their lungs are so full. So we’re constantly having to suction out the secretions every time we go into their rooms.” I do not want to catch this !

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 02:09 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

You make a some good points. However, there are very significant differences between seasonal influenza and Covid-19. Some of these are: the Covid death rate is 10-20 times higher than for flu. Covid spreads much faster than the flu, each Covid patient infects twice as many people compared to a flu patient. It is 10 times more likely that a Covid patient will require hospitalization compared to a flu patient, and once in hospital many more Covid patients progress to critical care. A Covid patient who is in critical care requires two to three full-time staff wearing full protective gear 24 hours a day. Critical Covid patients usually need a ventilator to breathe, and ventilators are in very limited supply, especially in Santa Barbara. Covid patients stay in hospital twice as long as flu patients. Because Covid-19 is a new virus there are still many unknowns regarding the expected disease trajectory from this point on. All of these factors can easily add up to overwhelm our health systems, just as they did in China, Italy, and other countries. That is why it is so important for our local hospitals to be prepared with ventilators, protective gear, backup medical staff, accurate and fast testing.

SBLetsGetAlong Mar 21, 2020 12:22 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Thus far the numbers of COVID-19 infected and death rate is not anywhere near the levels they’ve stated worldwide or in countries like Italy. Let’s look at last years flu season in the US 2018-2019 Flu Season per CDC.gov This web page provides estimates on the burden of influenza in the United States for the 2018–2019 influenza season. CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2018–2019 season included an estimated 35.5 million people getting sick with influenza, 16.5 million people going to a health care provider for their illness, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths from influenza. Peak activity during the 2018–2019 influenza season was classified as having moderate severity across ages in the population. Compared with the 2017–2018 season , which was classified as high severity, the overall rates and burden of influenza were much lower during the 2018–2019 season https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2018-2019.html

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 12:43 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

The reasons which explain your first statement are because most of the US is still in the initiation phase of COVID-19 and there has been a significant lack of testing and therefore no accurate data on numbers of infected.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 12:20 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Victory gardens WWII. Victory mask-making, Covid-19. Where is the leader in S.B. for this worthy project, needed for doctors and nurses, police/fire. Your clever hands can help save lives. Submit pictures to Edhat, please, if you decide to make masks. Thank you. Remember to keep it sterile.

MyHonorStudentB Mar 21, 2020 01:26 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Sterility is not required at the sewing phase. Masks can be disinfected en mass. Maybe Grant House Sewing Machines will have some ideas on facilitating ramping up of citizen production?

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 11:52 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Front page of News-Press this morning, “County officials say supplies are already running low at Cottage.” The wave of Covid-19 cases has not started yet. Who at Cottage Hospital is fixing this problem? When do Cottage Administrators expect to have adequate supplies?

YouDownWIthGBC Mar 21, 2020 11:49 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

The stats coming from California feel irresponsible. Not to be counter alarmist but the impact of our actions needs to be better considered. https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 11:23 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Hanes (the men's t-shirt makers announced today they will convert some of their factories to make face masks. You can do this from preshrunk cotton t-shirts: National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides instruction on how to construct a simple respiratory mask out of preshrunk cotton t-shirts. NIH quote: "We showed that a hand-fashioned mask can provide a good fit and a measurable level of protection from a challenge aerosol.“ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3373043//

markpat Mar 21, 2020 11:17 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Can anyone tell me how the homeless are doing, the ones that don't want to go to the religiously-based (and probably overwhelmed) Mission, etc.? They get their money and sustenance on State Street and it is closed. Rain coming. Illness comes on when your system is low on food and warmth for sleep. You need a bed when you're sick. And so on.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 10:58 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Everyone is becoming so much more creative than we normally would have, eh?? As for the TP issue: google "8 Reasons You Should Pee in the Shower" ;-}. Now, as I prepare for my daily shower: "To pee or not to pee, that is the question"... <3 goletaanne

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 10:45 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Making Your Own Reusable Elastomeric Respirator For Use During Covid-19 Viral Pandemic N95 Shortage, video 3/20/2020, Harvard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es_iY5WJdmI

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 10:39 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

N95 masks Harvard instructions w/video DIY: "Through a multidisciplinary effort, we have identified a combination of existing manufactured components to create a mask that we believe meets the requirements of: (1) Effective filtration of pathogens, particularly small viral particles (2) Allowing adequate ventilation while performing routine tasks (3) Assembled from readily available materials (4) Reusability to minimize waste and extend supplies (5) Cost-effective to allow the device to be readily obtainable and scalable "

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 10:37 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Does anyone know who we can turn to when businesses are ignoring the shelter-in-place order? Paseo Nuevo Mall is continuing its renovation construction despite the order and those workers are working in confined spaces and potentially contaminating heavily trafficked public spaces. Is there a phone number to call? A person to contact? Naturally, Paseo Nuevo Santa Barbara's offices are closed so calling them does nothing. Help?

LCP112233 Mar 21, 2020 12:40 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

https://pasoroblesdailynews.com/covid-19-list-of-businesses-that-are-allowed-to-stay-open-under-county-order/105640/ A list for San Luis Obispo county of businesses that can remain open. If we shut down the entire country we would be in another great depression.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 10:35 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Harvard U. instructions, N95 replacement/reuseable filters DIY : https://www.childrenshospital.org/research/departments-divisions-programs/departments/surgery/surgical-innovation-fellowship/covid-19----how-to-make-a-reuseable-respirator-as-a-replacement-for-n95-mask

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 10:05 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

What's with the TP? Many use it for tissues, too, but in any case, do as the Europeans do, who think we're crazy about TP use: 3 sheets only, and then you wash the heck out of your hands rather than using more TP.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 10:03 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

The infection spreading more slowly (known as "spreading the curve") is just about in how large groups, -the people whose lungs are overwhelmed and need respirators - come into our hospitals. More slowly means not overwhelming the equipment and medical staff. Overwhelming means more dead, people that couldn't be treated. Parties to "get it over with" are therefore not good because it brings too many cases into the hospitals. We need to keep spreading the curve and hope several things happen: The virus wears itself out, similar to how the flus do every year; or GRADUALLY we are touched by the virus but natural immunities and herd immunity washes out the heavy cases.

Shasta Guy Mar 21, 2020 08:35 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

I have four females in the house who are very nervous about our TP supply. I was unable to find paper products yesterday. For social distancing reasons I was also uncomfortable with mingling with a lot of people in stores. I ended up at Home Depot for my back up plan: a bag of cotton painter’s rags. They can serve as both paper towels and TP and washed for reuse. It’s better than having nothing on hand.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 08:32 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

So this is about the jist of it. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara County remains at nine, officials announced Friday. But based on the timing and transmission methods of known infections ― and the predicted disbursement of unknown cases ― it has become clear, “We now have widespread community infection,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg. “We can no longer hope Santa Barbara will be spared by this virus.” Testing kits are still in short supply and the turnaround time for results remains slow. More than 200 local test results are pending. Ansorg said the county’s best hope moving forward is strict adherence to California’s new shelter-at-home order, as well as continued social distancing. If we allowed the regional outbreak to run its course without the safety measures, he explained, an estimated 85 percent of Santa Barbara’s population would get sick in the next two months, with 5 percent of the infected likely requiring hospitalization. That translates to around 19,000 Santa Barbarans suddenly needing critical care. “It would mean our health-care system would basically collapse,” Ansorg warned. “We would be worse off than Italy.”

Kruppe Mar 21, 2020 07:24 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

I am practicing social avoidance. If you are not living with me, please stay away. I leave a bar of soap outside near the garden hose. Anybody in my household walking in wash their hands, face and feet before stepping in. Shoes go in the garage and sweaty clothes directly in the wash. I'd rather look like a paranoid fool than risk harming others. I don't want anybody dying on my conscience.

a-1585967985 Mar 20, 2020 11:07 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Social distancing is not the only thing we need to do. Cottage hospital does not have enough ICU beds, ventilators, safety equipment, or backup doctors and nurses. If as doctor Ansorg suggests that in the worst case at least 5% of people in Santa Barbara require hospitalization over a two month period, and assuming each person is hospitalized for a week, this amounts to close to 600 hospital beds at Cottage that will be devoted to Covid-19 patients alone. Cottage currently has 500 beds in total. In doctor Ansorg’s opinion how many Covid-19 cases should Cottage be realistically planning for, even if we practice perfect social distancing? In his opinion, how many beds and ventilators do we need to handle the anticipated Covid-19 load?

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 11:05 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

I have watched the first council presentation and also the Cottage webinar and other than good info. about the need for social distancing, there was a lack of facts of exactly what is Cottage's level of preparedness - I suppose that's because it is so very low _at this time_ and, more important, exactly what are the specifics of what it feels like to be infected, what to watch for since there are so few tests available. (It was an excellent presentation by Dr. P..., but at the end I was very frightened, not reassured.)

a-1585967985 Mar 20, 2020 11:53 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

This is a good question. There is little information specific to Cottage Hospital regarding planning for additional hospital beds, ventilators and critical care staff. Testing is severely limited here in the County with results slow to come back. Is there enough protective gear for the hospital staff? Are there enough available medical staff to replace those who become sick and potentially expose their colleagues who will then have to quarantine themselves? The lack of this information is concerning.

Shasta Guy Mar 20, 2020 10:16 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

I asked two coworkers to stand further apart while they were talking in the hallway. We are exempt from the stay at home order. After I enter the building I immediately wash my hands and touch nothing until I get to my office. The building is a ghost town. If I touch a door to go somewhere else I immediately wash my hands in the next location. It was good to see an empty Rose Garden on my way home.

SBCountyLocal Mar 20, 2020 08:21 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

It's going to be a wild ride. We all need to stay away from others and act like we all have the Coronavirus to stay healthy. The first scary thing is the young believe they are invincible. They can kill someone with a cough or by touching a door knob... The second scary thing is the extreme lack of concern I have seen from some socioeconomic groups. I fear an extremely high death rate if we don't get everyone to act responsibly. We have lost souch time and our economy is going to be hit hard. It's very very scary.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 10:05 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Fact is two sets of standards. I drive on Madon a few times a day observing what you post and multiple unsanitary food cards surrounded by several kids and adults chatting, eating with no hand washing or bathroom facilities. Licensing and enforcement is only for theirs profiled who look like they can afford to pay the citation fine. The memo was put out in December.

Djmachineart Mar 21, 2020 09:11 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

My friend says most of his coworkers that are allowed to work in the office are the older people because they don’t care if they get it or not. So yes, there are people that think they are invincible and those that just don’t care if they pass.

Djmachineart Mar 21, 2020 09:12 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

My friend says most of his coworkers that are allowed to work in the office are the older people because they don’t care if they get it or not. So yes, there are people that think they are invincible and those that just don’t care if they pass.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 08:03 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

The "young people" are definitely not all like that. Trust me, there are plenty of us begging our parents not to go out, to no avail. Every generation has people that think they are invincible, it's very scary.

a-1585967985 Mar 21, 2020 07:53 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Agree about the apparent “lack of concern from some socioeconomic groups”. Driving by the “Ed St. George Church” on Mason & Voluntario I was shocked: lots of chairs, each at a distance, some being used but many more people standing around, talking with each other, close quarters. What is the Foodbank thinking to participate in this? Are there masks and gloves for the volunteers, not that gloves would do more than protect the volunteer? This is a residential, an R2 neighborhood, and the Baptist Church that used to be there operated under a Conditional Use Permit and was a good neighborhood. Not so now. The City may not care about zoning violations, but it SHOULD care about the health of its residents and have the food donations somewhere else. What about the jr. high school parking lot, for instance? Or the Franklin Center parking lots?

sbdude Mar 20, 2020 07:30 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Italy has only 50,000 cases but 4,000 deaths, an 8% death rate. If we extrapolate actual vs tested cases to a 1% death rate then they have over 200,000 cases. They currently don't have enough ICU beds for those patients who require them (and their health care system is relatively good), and things are getting rapidly worse. Check New York's numbers in 4 days.

oceandrew Mar 21, 2020 11:52 AM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

That 8% mortality figure is for Lombardy not whole of Italy. Neighbouring provinces are reporting 2.5-3.5% but no one can pinpoint the real reason for the discrepancy as every region is following their own guidelines for dealing with this outbreak of a disease no one has seen before. On the bright side one town of 3000 saw their new infection rate drop to 0 after they tested everyone in town and separated the positive cases from the rest until they finally tested negative.

boop2 Mar 20, 2020 08:20 PM
Local Doctor States Social Distancing Is Our Only Hope

Italy has more than the official number of cases because they are so overwhelmed in the worst hit region (Lombardy) that they cannot test all those that used to be tested. They just cannot keep up. The number of deaths is also likely somewhat underreported because people are now starting to die at home (not in the hospitals) and it is not clear that those are being reported. Bottom line: numbers need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but it is very bad. Source: I have been reading the Italian news sites.

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