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)
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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

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LooseCannon Jan 13, 2021 02:33 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Uh, no. Teachers are currently prioritized to receive the vaccine earlier than others, regardless of age. What I am saying is: if they refuse to return to in-school instruction, they shouldn't be getting the vaccine. No in-school instruction = no vaccine.

RHS Jan 12, 2021 04:22 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Belatedly but wonderfully it seems that the powers that be are going to knock down the dam that has kept the vaccines unused. Anyone over 65 is eligible. No more attempts at the feckless and impossible logistic task of putting people in almost impossible to manage categories which has made us a laughing stock. Next step is for SBCHD to identify where we go to get this done. Some cities are opening up 24 vaccine sites in large venues. Earl Warren and the County Fair Grounds in SM sound like possibilities. Sooner the better!

STARSB Jan 12, 2021 03:32 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Why are we lowering out standards on opening schools? In November we had to have case rate of 8 per 100,000 to be able to open and now its at 28 and we are still close to 3 times that amount.

Also anyone know how to figure out how to get the case rate ? we have about 450,000 people in SB county meaning we can have around 125 cases in SB county and open up schools?

Voice of Reason Jan 12, 2021 11:38 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

SBTownie, I don’t know who “science” is but CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said:
“The truth is, for kids K through 12, one of the safest places they can be from our perspective is to remain in school" “The [CDC] did not recommend closing schools in the spring, nor does it recommend it now.” From back in November:

dukemunson Jan 12, 2021 09:58 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Our public health (science if you will), said this:

"“I come to you with data that I didn’t know until this morning and I wouldn’t know until ahead of time,” said Susan Klein-Rothschild with the Public Health Department. Klein-Rothschild was referring to the unpredictable turns of the pandemic and that recent data shows it is safe to open schools and that students are more likely to follow guidelines in school than out of school with friends.

And from what little has played out in Santa Barbara Unified so far, it appears true. There has been no COVID-19 transmission on any campus since small cohorts and athletics have been allowed to resume in person"

ChemicalSuperFreak Jan 12, 2021 04:11 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

The current 7-day average case rate (with no 7-day lag) is currently 96.6. The population that the SBPHD uses for SB County is 456,373 persons. To get the case rate, take the new cases on any given day and divide them by the population. Do this for 7 consecutive days and then take the average of those seven days.

STARSB Jan 12, 2021 03:28 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Why is SB county only doing a limited amount of tests per day? Other counties such as Ventura have 15-20 testing sites for walkins that you can go to the same day without an appointment. SB had ONE place to go and recently opened two more. There was a wait list of a week just to get tested. Something is broken in SB and I think our numbers will be higher if more would be able to test.

SBTownie Jan 12, 2021 04:46 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

I agree. And I thought the new testing bus with 500 appointments per day was a great improvement until I saw that it is moving around the county every 2 weeks? The county said it could be headed to Lompoc next. Huh?

SBCountyLocal Jan 12, 2021 02:06 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Why is Edhat using the word "claimed" rather than the word stated in this article? Using the word with reduces the message in this article and the article should be revised to reflect the seriousness of this topic.

letmego Jan 13, 2021 12:00 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

SBTOWNIE, the important thing to note is that while there are outbreaks AT schools, they are not spreading AT schools - they are a result of community spread. I initially was against reopening schools. I have been closely following the opening of schools across the country, and reading reports about outbreaks. I look for results and reports about once/ month. What I've found is that so far, in every case where schools are taking proper precautions, the spread is occurring OUTSIDE of schools, not AT schools.

If you have different data that contradicts that, I'd love to see it. We learn more about the virus every day - and there are plenty of schools across the country that are open. From what I've read so far, contact tracers have traced school outbreaks to parties, etc., not schools.

(I do not think we should open schools in SB with our current rates of infection, which are increasing. Frankly, we are likely going to have difficulty maintaining staffing levels. We need to bend the curve downward first.)

SBTownie Jan 12, 2021 04:44 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

VOR, please tell me - I sincerely mean this - how I am contradicting myself? Please can you help me understand? What you wrote after that declaration seems to be in line with exactly what I am saying - that COVID is airborne, aeresolized, and therefore the masks many children are wearing are useless. While I see many adults in N95 or the slightly less secure Asian KN94, etc. variants, I mostly see children in cloth masks. This could be anecdotal, but I am guessing it is because most masks are not designed to fit children's small faces. Thus, they are stuck in flimsy masks that as you say could even contribute to spread, versus inhibit spread of aeresolized particles, etc. Please help me understand how I am contradicting myself.

bosco Jan 12, 2021 04:21 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Keep in mind that outbreaks in schools do NOT equal an increase risk of community spread. There are "outbreaks" in all kinds of community settings: workplaces, churches, restaurants, and most importantly in family homes. Schools (when using precautions) have NOT contributed to an increase in community spread (this is now well understood by the CDC). Keep in mind that many schools have been open in Santa Barbara since August and the COVID numbers have not correlated with school openings here or in other areas. The key here is the negative impact on the community of schools being closed vs. the negative impact schools pose on "community" outbreak.

Voice of Reason Jan 12, 2021 02:57 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

SBTownie, you're contradicting yourself. You keep talking about insufficient mask usage, then go onto to say its airborne with aerosol spread. I agree with this and think that's exactly why, even though we have widespread mask usage, cases have continued to climb. Non-N95 masks are useless against airborne viruses/aerosols. I also believe this widespread cloth / paper mask usage has actually increased the spread (of an airborne viruses/aerosols) due to the constant touching of the mask (very bad PPE protocol) and the false sense of security that cause many embrace masks (and engage in behaviors they wouldn't have otherwise). Also, just as there wasn't "widespread" fraud, there has not been "widespread" outbreaks in states and countries that have had school open. You are free to continue remote learning as long as you see fit, your family, your choice.

dukemunson Jan 12, 2021 02:36 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Actually we're just referencing the Public Health official from their last briefing about schools in which they said studies out of the US and Europe were showing that there was less community spread with schools in session. So...what are you actually referencing, because I'm referencing our local health official....

SBTownie Jan 12, 2021 02:27 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

By the logic of everyone here advocating for school openings, we should just reopen everything then except indoor dining without masks. New studies coming out show that once transmission within a community reaches a certain level, schools DO contribute to the spread of COVID. A lot of survivor bias showing up here, and failure to distinguish between what a school like MUS or the private schools can carry out (and whose students are most likely to be infected to begin with), and what will play out in the general public schools overall.

sacjon Jan 12, 2021 02:22 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

SBTOWNIE - there have been no outbreaks in local schools. The school outbreaks have been at schools in the South were they didn't take serious precautions, at Christian summer camps, etc. CA schools are required to implement strict monitoring and precautions. I'd feel safe with my kids at school than playing with a bunch of friends at the park. I do allow my older kid to participate in HS sport "practice" only because it is monitored and safe. Only 1 or 2 positive cases due to school sports. All the other cases are due to unsupervised kids/teens hanging out and spreading it without even knowing it.

dukemunson Jan 12, 2021 02:20 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

And there is plenty more evidence of outbreaks (AS IN RIGHT HERE IN CALI) when schools are closed. Again, as per public health officials...studies are showing that there is less community spread with schools open in the manner that we here in SB can be open! Montecito Union is spending quite a bit more time outside. Lot of handwashing and plexiglass. But again, as per public health, the best data right now is indicating that having kids in school is the safer environment.

SBTownie Jan 12, 2021 02:06 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

There is plenty of evidence of outbreaks at schools across the nation, and the world. To think it could somehow get better if kids are in classrooms wearing insufficient masks, is delusion. I don't disagree with you kids are getting it from hangouts. I see kids who live around me hanging out with friends all the time, riding in cars, meeting up, hanging out on the street together, etc. Some of them also go to school daily. COVID is airborne, there is now plenty of evidence for that. We were all told about droplet spread, but aeresol spread is proven to be real. Combine that with kids sitting in classrooms all day, insufficient masking, the B117 mutation (which is far more contagious), and you've got a recipe for disaster. One of the other groups of people getting heavily infected according to our officials are office/clerical workers. What does an office remind you of? A classroom.

dukemunson Jan 12, 2021 02:02 PM
Public Health Claims COVID-19 Case Increase is "Astronomical"

Everyone already knew that SBTOWNIE...the point is they aren't spreading it at school. The kids spreading it are the ones NOT in school...which is why you haven't seen outbreaks in's been kid to kid in unsupervised settings with friends at the park, beach, cousins house, etc...


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