Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical" title=
Graph of COVID-19 case rates from March 2019 to present day (Source: SBC Public Health Department)
Reads 12155

By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) claimed the recent increase in COVID-19 cases is "astounding" and "astronomical."

PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso made the statements during the Board of Supervisor meeting on Tuesday morning.

The county's case rate is 68 per 100,000 population with 16.8% testing positivity. The intensive care unit (ICU) availability four weeks ago in the county 38.4%, it dropped to just below 15% on December 24, and on January 5 it decreased to 0%

These metrics are anticipated to get worse until at least the end of January mainly due to resident's holiday travel and gatherings.

The occupations that continue to be the most affected according to contact tracing are retired/unemployed residents, people under 18 years of age, and people who work in clerical/administrative settings.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) projects the county's data will not meet the criteria to move out of the lockdown order in the next four weeks.

PHF is offering 1,173 COVID-19 tests per day at various sites throughout the county. There is a walk-up, no appointment needed test in Isla Vista available on Fridays and Saturdays as well as a mobile testing unit at the CenCal Health parking lot. (Click here for more information on testing)

PHD has received 2,800 COVID-19 vaccine doses and administered 40% of these in three days. Community providers, including hospitals and clinics, received 13,975 vaccine doses and administered 53% within three weeks. 

Those who have questions about the vaccine and if they are eligible are urged to call 2-1-1 where they will be referred to a public health representative. 

On Tuesday evening PHD reported 470 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths. 

Seven individuals were 70+ years of age and one was between 50-69 years of age.  Six had underlying medical issues and three deaths were associated with an outbreak at congregate facilities.

Three individuals resided in Santa Maria, one in South County Unincorporated, one in Santa Barbara, one in Lompoc, one in Orcutt, and one in North County Unincorporated.

There have been 207 total deaths.

There are currently 2,895 active cases with 211 people in the hospital, including 57 in the ICU.

More information can be found at

Login to add Comments


Show Comments
mesarez Jan 13, 2021 11:37 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

@ chemsuperfreak - you don’t answer any demographics because you have not tested positive.
If you had, like myself, you would know those demographics are gathered by the CDC when they contact every positive patient to follow up.
If you are really not sure then don’t post. It’s misinformation, miscommunication and guidelines that are unclear which has caused much confusion among healthcare workers and those seeking testing, trying to understand their isolation requirements and so forth. Rumors = Uncertainty. In uncertain times all we really want is the truth.

PitMix Jan 14, 2021 07:36 AM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

If there is not a link associated with a post asserting facts and data, then I just figure it is entertainment. I really enjoy some of the crazy things people say. It's a good reminder about how we got to where we are.

mesarez Jan 13, 2021 11:26 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

I wonder if the category of “unemployed” includes anyone currently collecting unemployment.
If this is true, then there you go. Anyone who has lost a certain amount of hours or wages due to covid has been eligible to collect unemployment since March. This includes self employed, independent contractors and even part time employees.
I’d venture to say this covers a large portion of Santa Barbara’s population and thus the reason covid is so high in this group.
The elderly? Several large nursing facilities had Covid outbreaks with one after the next testing positive. The elderly are also susceptible. We almost could have expected this to be a group with high numbers.

shorebird Jan 13, 2021 10:56 AM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Sorry that i didn’t keep the links but I have been reading that a couple of factors are now emerging about covid 19 infected patients.
People with low Vitamin D levels seem to be more susceptible. As we age, even if we spend a lot of time outdoors our ability to convert sunlight into vitamin D wanes. Vitamin D is available over the counter.
There seems to be an minor overlap between the mumps virus and Covid. The vast majority of kids have had the MMP vaccine and students get a booster late in their school years. Perhaps this is why even if they do get covid they have mild or symptomless case but are still able to infect others. MMP vaccine is widely available for adults at local pharmacies.
These are 2, relatively easy, self care strategies that people might consider to lower their risk of Covid bad outcomes.

SBTownie Jan 13, 2021 09:20 AM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Newsflash: Family members in Orange County over 65 are being vaccinated THIS WEEK. They do not work in healthcare, one does have pre-existing condition but it is NOT a requirement for vaccine. What is going on here?! I just visited the county health website and it states they will START on over 75s in FEBRUARY? What are our local bureaucracies doing? Why are we so behind? Every article I read and press conference is a big pat on the back to everyone yet here we are weeks or months behind other regions nearby who are moving ahead with mass vaccinations? We need to demand action, answers, and accountability!!!

sandy1 Jan 13, 2021 05:36 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

SACRAMENTO — California officials on Wednesday announced a major expansion of vaccination eligibility guidelines, allowing all residents 65 and older to more quickly qualify for COVID-19 vaccinations in response to new guidance from the Trump administration aimed at speeding up vaccine rollouts across the country.
The move signals a fresh urgency to increase access to the vaccine amid surging caseloads. Officials in Orange County were the first to adopt the new rules on Tuesday. Todays Presidential EO has also authorized the immediate distribution of "All" available stockpiled / warehoused doses of vaccine ! YAY !

Voice of Reason Jan 13, 2021 02:46 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

100% SBTownie, they work for us! "Is it not citizens' jobs to keep government on its toes and to demand answers? The leeway you grant our overlords while decrying anyone who dares challenge authority or list its failures is truly astounding."

SBTownie Jan 13, 2021 02:34 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Cool story, Pit. Los Angeles also struggled in the first few days of the previous phase and got things figured out within 1-2 days. You're fixated on the wrong thing. My question is why our county hasn't even started rolling out the option to people over 65 and ALL medical workers. I know medical workers here in SB who are STILL waiting because they're part of some lesser tier within phase 1. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country... more and more people are being vaccinated and we're patting ourselves on the back for vaccinating 600 people last week. At that rate, we'll be finishing up our 2-dose vaccines about 28 years from now. Why are you so antagonistic to anyone suggesting our local government may be anything less than perfect? Is it not citizens' jobs to keep government on its toes and to demand answers? The leeway you grant our overlords while decrying anyone who dares challenge authority or list its failures is truly astounding.

PitMix Jan 13, 2021 02:29 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

SBTownie, so the 2 people (and their friends, unknown number) you know that got appointments "trumps" the news that the published article that says the sites were inundated with people without appointments and therefore couldn't get vaccinated? That is some sharp thinking. Eyeroll.

LCP112233 Jan 13, 2021 12:58 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Because our County is run by a bunch of bozos. There are many states and counties across the country that are rolling out the vaccine in record time with websites that clearly state how to go about getting a vaccine.

SBTownie Jan 13, 2021 12:20 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Pit, these people have scheduled appointments THIS FRIDAY. It's happening. This is real. They are vaccinating people over 65 in OC right now. Two different family members were able to get appointments, as were their friends.

PitMix Jan 13, 2021 11:32 AM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Newsflash, saying they are "eligible" doesn't mean they can actually get it. They don't have enough right now to give to everyone over 65. But it sure got you fired up to attack our officials. From LA Times:
“The county’s three existing POD [point of distribution] sites were overwhelmed by individuals without appointments today, effectively shutting down the vaccination sites. It is critical for people to understand that appointment slots are available based on VACCINE AVAILABILITY. Showing up without an appointment stresses the system and depletes SCARCE resources,” the healthcare agency said in a statement.

MountainMan4865 Jan 12, 2021 10:12 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

I just want it to be known, that I am so ridiculously thankful for edhat to continue communal dialog. I watched it being shut down on other sites - the Independent, Noozhawk. This is the last community, truly community site for conversation and I am grateful for that.

a-1610504693 Jan 12, 2021 06:24 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Eight more deaths today and 34 more healthcare workers infected since Sunday.
It's well past time for [people to start taking the health protocols very seriously.
Do not patronize any businesses flouting the regulations, now or in the future. They are killing people.

MountainMan4865 Jan 12, 2021 06:50 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

No, not eight more deaths "today". Two deaths are attributed to last week, five the week before, and one from three weeks ago. I'm now having to screen shot the 'Weekly deaths' tab on a daily basis, because it keeps changing and you can't go back to compare the data.

Bene Jan 12, 2021 06:06 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Does anybody have a theory about why retired/unemployed would have high case rates? Chem? I get it that some of the retired category may have infectious caregivers, but what about the ones who don't have caregivers? And the unemployed? I thought it was front line grocery store workers who had higher rates, not people who don't have to work with the public.

letmego Jan 13, 2021 12:05 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

PHD would know, but my theory is that a subset of the retired and unemployed are bored and need social interaction. So they are going ahead with it, regardless. This does not apply to all, of course. In my own personal experience, I have a couple of relatives (not here) who fall into that category. They curtailed their social interactions, but only slightly. They continued to travel, see their friends in person, etc. Several have gotten COVID and were hospitalized and one died. One of my relatives isolated almost completely for the 10 months, leaving the house ONLY to go to the post office, and ended up on a ventilator. One trip to the post office (not here), probably with a bunch of unmasked people, considering the state they are in.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 12, 2021 06:50 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Bene, I hope you're well. With respect to your question, I'll just offer my opinion that these observations are incorrect and largely worthless for the following reasons. First of all, "people under 18 years of age" is not an occupation that I've ever heard of. Furthermore, people under 18 years are only 9% of the cases (see the SBPHD Dashboard), which doesn't sound like "most affected" to me. The classification of cases is suspect as well. I get tested weekly, and I don't fill out any questionnaires regarding my demographics. It appears that no information on the employment status of an individual is lumped in to the "none" category, which is being interpreted here as "retired/unemployed". You can see this breakdown for various areas in our county here ( Look at the infographic for Goleta. You can see that 60% of cases in Goleta are categorized as "none"; it's 64% "none" for the state of California. Does that mean that we have 60%+ retired/unemployed, or just that they don't have enough information to classify these cases? In summary, don't worry too much about that data supplied from contact tracing, as it's only as good as the process used to collect it. As of today, contact tracers have determined that 44% of COVID transmissions are unknown or under investigation, which speaks volumes.

Bene Jan 12, 2021 06:50 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

You are really trying hard to pick a fight with someone. Are you okay? My post was so benign can't believe THAT could be controversial! LOL. If you don't like to hear other people's opinions, why are you on EdHat? Unlike you, I think there can be value in getting a conversation going. You don't have to believe or be influenced by what others say, but there are a few people on here who are intelligent and qualified in various fields, and have interesting thoughts to share. That is why most people are on here---because they are interested in other people's opinions. If you are not, and have to be so unpleasant, you don't have to read EdHat, no one is forcing you.

Seabird Jan 12, 2021 06:43 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

@6:20pm, no need to be weird. I think Bene's observation IS interesting. Maybe retired/unemployed people go out more, or have friends and family get-togethers more frequently than those who are busy working? I do think it's strange that they lumped these two together, though. Retired folks and unemployed folks are (in this climate of shutdowns) typically two completely different demographics.

Bene Jan 12, 2021 06:15 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

I'm not asking for health advice. I don't take health advice "from fools on the web." My question had no personal utility. But I was and still am interested in other people's theories. I find other people's thoughts interesting. Sorry you don't.

ChillinGrillin Jan 12, 2021 06:05 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Let's just have another round of applause for the federal government, everybody. Without their stunning, phenomenal abundance of leadership we would have never found out how to inject people with bleach and pray until it went away by the grace of Jesus and Emperor Trump. We should also give a big hand for VP Pence, head of the response effort and former governor of the state ranked 40th for healthcare. And when we needed testing kits, the government Went to Jared, who made it his school project to arrange national testing efforts. The national response was so good that nobody noticed it and they stopped trying because they were winning so bigly. Trial by Combat! Huzzah!

LooseCannon Jan 12, 2021 05:11 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

The schools aren't going to reopen in the Spring, despite local health advisories that it is relatively safe. We (us parents) should stop deluding ourselves. The teachers' union is absolutely adamant that there will be no in-school instruction until the fall at earliest. Maldonado and predecessor have lied to us time and time again.

If teachers aren't going back to school, they need to join me at the very back of the vaccine line. No in-school instruction = no vaccine.

dukemunson Jan 13, 2021 09:07 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Do you mean no school without vaccination for teachers... or no school without vaccination for every single person? Basically, are you aligning with crazy teacher unions that are looking to never go back to school or are you saying let’s get the teachers vaccinated and then start school ASAP?


Please Login or Register to comment on this.