Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

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Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases
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Santa Barbara County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg

By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) officials are concerned by the increased number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the last week.

The county has averaged 50 new cases each day over the course of seven days, officials said during a press conference. 

Supervisor Gregg Hart called the increase "significant and sobering" while Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg stated today's numbers are "very concerning."

PHD reported 67 new cases today bringing the county's grand total to 2,319. While there are currently only 306 active cases, the numbers that catch health officials' attention are the increases in hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Right now there are 65 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and 17 of them are in the ICU. 

Just last week Dr. Ansorg stated he was confident to reopen more business sectors as ICU cases were decreasing and staying around 10 or 11 cases. Today he said he does not feel comfortable providing the same reassurance as last week. 

"In COVID times, one week is an eternity," Dr. Ansorg said. 

He went on to state that the first three to five days of contracting COVID-19 are critical to determining if the patient will be really ill or move towards recovery. Once a patient starts getting worse, it's a very rapid decline and the 67 hospitalizations are like "ticking time bombs" as they could potentially turn into ICU cases, said Dr. Ansorg.

Officials stated there is no exact way to pinpoint the cause of the recent spike but as mobility increased and businesses reopened, it was expected and many communities throughout the nation are experiencing similar results. Dr. Ansorg stated that most infections appear to occur at work and at home due to longer exposure times compared to visiting a restaurant or marching in a rally. 

He went on to state that many more people are letting their guard down and being lax with social distancing, handwashing, and wearing face coverings.

"Reducing mobility of people is the best way to slow the spread of the virus," said Dr. Ansorg.

Due to the increase of hospitalizations, Santa Barbara County has been added to the state's monitoring list that prevents any further reopening of business sectors until the numbers decrease.

Santa Maria continues to harbor the bulk of positive cases within the county with 44 of today's 67 cases located within the city limits. PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso confirmed her department is continuing their public outreach with prevention messaging and engagement with community partners to educate residents and employers. 

Additionally, she reported the outbreak at Country Oaks skilled nursing facility in Santa Maria has continued to grow with 28 residents and 26 staff members testing positive. Five other skilled nursing facilities were reported to have COVID-19 outbreaks, but the data and facility names were not available at the time of the press conference.

Sheriff Bill Brown provided an update on the current COVID-19 outbreak at the county's main jail. Yesterday it was reported that 9 custody staff had tested positive and today an additional 4 staff members and 2 inmates had tested positive making a total of 15 positive cases.

Brown confirmed all staff members and inmates are being tested with 114 staff members tested today, the results are pending. All 574 inmates will also be quarantined for 14 days when entering the jail and will undergo temperature checks.

Supervisor Hart reminded residents the virus is highly contagious and easily spread. Due to the increase in cases this week, PHD paused reopening extended personal services businesses. 

"The path forward won't necessarily be straight," said Hart.

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gooseberries Jun 21, 2020 06:27 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

I don't understand why Santa Barbara is still allowing people from other cities to visit? I've said it before and I'll say it again, everyone needs to stay in their own area. If you live in Goleta don't come to Santa Barbara, if you live in Santa Barbara don't come to Goleta. People need to stay away and we need to shut down again. Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso and Dr. Ansorg acknowledge and say words like "very concerning" and yet do absolutely nothing to close businesses again. If there is such a public health concern and they are suppose to be public health experts why not do something? AND why are we not using the COVID-19 Exposure Notification? Why isn't Santa Barbara public health agreeing to adopt Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification? For all those have issue with this and think it's going to impede your privacy, as if using facebook, twitter, driving maps apps, taking photos which mark your GPS location, etc. if these don't track your location than you're ignorant --- do some research and read how this actually works. SBPH needs to do something rather that sit and BS every other day being absolutely useless.

mtndriver Jun 21, 2020 05:18 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

550 new cases in our county since June 7. Any way you slice it, that is bad. 3 people died yesterday. Please take this seriously. If people would follow the guidelines, wear masks and distance in public, others who are more anxious would feel safer to patronize businesses. That would help the economy. After reading what the poster at 7:19pm yesterday wrote, I am going to avoid CVS. Hard to believe an employee wouldn't say something to a maskless person in a drug store. I'll get my toothpaste and vitamins online--delivered from Costco. At Trader Joe's, everyone is masked and they have staff members directing traffic in places where it can get crowded. That creates confidence, and more people shop there as a result. Good for TJs, good for the shoppers.

PitMix Jun 22, 2020 01:40 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

What lowly-paid employee at any of our local businesses thinks it is a good move to enforce mask polices for their employer? Wearing a mask is part of the culture war now, and mask-deniers seem willing to fight over it. Broken arm at LA Target. Employee spat on in Texas. To me this is one of those laws that should be sensibly followed by most people and we are just going to have to deal with the people that won't. Maybe by leaving the store.

Lorax Jun 20, 2020 10:35 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Wear masks, yes you! I am so sick of hearing "oh it does'nt mater outside"
And how about the ones that have their nose hanging out? or the ones that have it under their chin or around their neck! Put the dam thing on!!
I'm about to start saying "where is your mask" can we all do this? its not that hard.
People have to be shamed into it, they are not giving the 1000.00 fines they could be . Too bad the City needs the money. They need to hire mask police and bring in some revenue and keep the covid numbers down.... what a win win.

a-1592786720 Jun 21, 2020 05:45 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

We are in our 70s, relatively healthy. We have grandchildren. We wear masks and we try to abide by 'stay at home' so we can see our grandkids and tell our children that we know who we have been exposed to, etc. WTF is wrong with everyone. Wearing a mask is no big deal. I love my kids and my grandkids and I will abide by their wishes so I can see them and my grandkids.

Chip of SB Jun 21, 2020 10:35 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

You can do as you wish, but you can’t force others to conform to your demands. It’s a free country. Freedom is scary, but the alternatives are far worse.

MountainMan4865 Jun 20, 2020 10:01 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Buckwheat - for me personally, I choose not to engage with anyone who adopts packaged/marketed terminology such as covidiot, anti-vaxer, etc. I put those along with racist, trumper, etc. It's all designed to divide. You want to eliminate conversation, fine, but don't expect a civil dialog if you are going to draw such divisive lines. We are better than this.

macpuzl Jun 21, 2020 05:25 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Why sugarcoat abject stupidity? Under the current conditions, anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are a threat to others in society, not just an embarrassing lunatic fringe.

mattyboy Jun 21, 2020 09:25 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Only a fool blindly accepts all vaccination without skepticism. To not would be to deny the factual history of injurious pharmaceuticals and those affected by them.

a-1592735884 Jun 21, 2020 03:38 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Sadly, reports of and observation of reality show that we're actually NOT better than this. Nice try, I agree, overall. But some people ARE anti-vaccination; some people ARE racist. Don't hide from reality while you avoid name-calling.

buckwheat Jun 20, 2020 07:52 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

I would like to know how many of those who are getting infected are anti-maskwearers, are opposed to social distancing, and are anti-hand washers, i.e., covidiots?

a-1592705993 Jun 20, 2020 07:19 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

I just cannot believe this. Even with this message - went to CVS in 5 points. TWO PEOPLE not wearing masks AT ALL - one was trying on CLOTHING putting it over his head. The other asked an employee where the stuff for toothaches was and the employee said NOTHING about him not wearing a mask. And I had to go into that aisle after he was in it. WHY is this still happening? Especially somewhere like CVS where they should be mindful of this?? Do I have to buy EVERYTHING online now?

a-1592753612 Jun 21, 2020 08:33 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

I did not go near those people and I waited to go to the aisle. No way was I saying anything to them, and no I did not say anything to the employee or manager b/c once before I did and the manager got annoyed at me and lectured me about all that they have to deal with. SO - CVS 5 points off my list.

a-1592736120 Jun 21, 2020 03:42 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

But what did you DO? I agree with not engaging strangers, but did you speak with the manager? Share your concerns and suggestions for doing better? Wait before you entered the aisle you had to go to? Your care should save you, thanks for helping.

Luvaduck Jun 20, 2020 10:40 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Tourism is up big time. Driving to get gas this morning early, I noticed motel lots full and saw license plates from NMex, TX and SCarolina. SB depends on tourist income, a "damned if you do, damned if you don't," dilemma, and makes it more dangerous for residents to be out let alone when students from all over the country/world come to live/party here even if classes are virtual.

a-1592674362 Jun 20, 2020 10:32 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

With a half-million people living in our county, the number of cases is teenie/tiny/puny. The dire predictions that tens of thousands of us in the county would be dying were soooooo far off, that we should be quite satisfied the number are so low. Due diligence though people, please wear masks in public and keep you distance if at all possible. For goodness sake, if you see 50 people in line at TJs on De la Vina.....keep going, you can get your gluten-free cat food and peanut-free peanut butter somewhere else!

letmego Jun 21, 2020 11:17 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

I just went to TJ's for the first time since March 13. It was my go-to before the pandemic. No line, almost nobody there- it was glorious I tell you. A few things weren't available, but overall, a much better experience than my cramped little Vons.

a-1592735122 Jun 21, 2020 03:25 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Also, thanks for your good advice. And -- are you aware that tens of thousands of Americans HAVE already died? How do you define "us"?! I look further than our county and try to support our most dire communities.

a-1592734936 Jun 21, 2020 03:22 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Don't pick on TJ's! I've mainly shopped there for almost 6 months now. I did my last in-person stocking up on March 9. TJ's is the easiest place to tell a paid shopper what to shop for, as I can visualize it more easily. I buy staples there. Products for my cats come from Chewy online. They're too picky to eat TJ's food. My helper is a driver, I met him through Sunshine Cab years ago, and I pay really well!
I purposely don't use restaurant delivery companies; do you KNOW what they charge restaurants?! Sorry, off-topic.)

bigman Jun 20, 2020 12:10 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

10:32 I agree, relatively speaking the numbers are not terrifying but it's not the raw numbers it's the hospital capacity issue. The more the hospitalizations go up - and they are - the more risk of insufficient capacity b/c someone in a regular bed could require ICU at any time during a certain time frame of the infection - that is where they have to walk a fine line - if hospitalizations go up - that's greater risk for ICU beds being needed at some point without knowing how many. They have to proceed cautiously.

aragorn Jun 20, 2020 09:17 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

City, county and state went ahead and jumped the gun to open up restaurants, bars and few other business, and also many people are not wearing masks nor keeping social distancing. Sure, I do understand that business owners want to open up their business' and people in the service industry need to work, but better to be safe than sorry. Just the other day (I do not know where exactly) but a group of 12 friends got together for the first time to go out drinking, and all 12 of them came down with COVID-19. This was on Yahoo News. I did not read the article, just the headline.

Shasta Guy Jun 20, 2020 09:12 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Despite all the talk of surges and spikes, the daily deaths reported in California has been flat since mid April while the daily cases have doubled since mid April. Deaths haven’t been tracking increased case counts for about two months now. Here’s the link to the California numbers.

bigman Jun 20, 2020 09:03 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

. Dr. Ansorg stated that most infections appear to occur at work and at home due to longer exposure times compared to visiting a restaurant or marching in a rally. Really? Really? Screaming and shouting with no masks, shoulder to shoulder, is less risky than being at home or work? I can't trust these people anymore! They politicize EVERYTHING.

letmego Jun 21, 2020 11:21 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

It would be interesting to get more details. All the photos of the rallies that I have seen showed people wearing masks and keeping distance. The photos that I have seen of State street, not so much. It only makes sense that at work and at home you'd see more spread (indoors, over a long time). We have opened up a lot, so what is it? Tourists from LA not wearing masks, eating at restaurants, spreading to workers there? Those workers spreading to people at home? It's hard to tell from the data available to most of us (general info about age/ race/ location). I suspect that if the county is doing tracing, then they probably do know how most of the cases are spreading. Certainly we know the sheriff's department and jails. The infection rates are trending younger right now (0-49), so opening up and having more people back at work...not surprising. What is surprising is that it jumped up so quickly.

a-1592734407 Jun 21, 2020 03:13 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

If you're afraid of out-of-city/county influx, then why didn't you simply *say* that in your "They politicize EVERYTHING" rant?
I hope you cook, get take out, watch tv and movies, and read at home for entertainment. Responsible outdoor exercise is extremely unlikely to hurt you.

bigman Jun 20, 2020 10:07 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Also, saying they are picking it up at work flies in the face of what they were saying before - that essential workers weren't a huge number in the counts so there's that too.

bigman Jun 20, 2020 10:04 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

JM I didn't miss anything. Our local protest may have been somewhat small but not everyone was wearing a mask OR distancing. However, ppl come here from the LA area and even SF where there were LARGE protests, as I described so, yeah, didn't miss anything. It's political again. He's afraid to say it b/c of backlash. It's not right and it reduces trust.

Jm129 Jun 20, 2020 09:17 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

I think you missed his point about the spread in this count and are the one politicizing this. How many protesters in total were there in the county over the last month? Are not restaurants workplaces.

a-1592668270 Jun 20, 2020 08:51 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

A lot of talk about deaths which are not common on infection. However have any of you met someone who has had it? I have. Many say this was the worst thing to happen to them. One fellow said the thought he would have to get better in order to die. He still has issues.

OpossumBoy Jun 21, 2020 04:31 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Chelsea, it sounds odd, but I was so sick that I did nothing to combat it. I was incredibly tired and couldn’t even think straight. My friends and neighbors checked every day to see if I were still alive, and really helped me a lot. Really, I was one of those that got off easy. But still, it’s like nothing else I’ve ever had. COVID-19 is bad news.

@chelsea Jun 21, 2020 02:39 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Did you do anything special to combat it , breathing treatments , meds, supplemental oxygen . Were you monitoring O2 saturation , B P, Temp ? I find your comment verry helpful . Thx.

OpossumBoy Jun 21, 2020 10:38 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

I had it back at the end of March and first three weeks of April. I’m 74 yrs old with high blood pressure. It was hell. It lasted a month. The worst for me was the breathing in short shallow gasps, and only being able to speak two or three words at a time. I’ve had influenza once in my life: Two weeks of hell in a darkened room, barfing. Covid-19 is nothing like that. It’s far more life threatening.

a-1592673006 Jun 20, 2020 10:10 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

8:51, I don't mean to downplay this b/c I really don't want to find out how it will affect me but, you can't take one anectodal case and apply it to all - that just breeds more fear. I have had really, really bad flus where I was in so much pain/aches that I wondered what was going on - literally moaning in my sleep, with very high fever. And, 7 hours of puking. It really depends on a person's pain level tolerances, and if they've ever experienced a bad flu before. Without more it's hard to gauge if this person maybe has a lower tolerance for illness or really had a bad case. I don't doubt peole have had bad cases but, you can't apply one story to all.

a-1592670878 Jun 20, 2020 09:34 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

@ 8:51 - COVID19 affects people to different degrees. I had it and it was not that bad. I fullly recoved ij about five days, although the dry cough persisted for a few weeks. I have had regular flues that were worse and lingered much longer, and those included intestinal problems. You can not generalize about the effects of COVID, because it may be the same virus, but people's immune system's and ability to fight disease are not. Many other people I have met also had it and also said it was not that bad, so please don't generalize about the severity and how it can affect people.

ginger1 Jun 19, 2020 09:50 PM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Here's a much less scary way of looking at the number of cases. (Remember that number is a reflection of how many people were tested and how many tested were suspected of being ill, or not. And those protocol were changed at least twice in the 102 days of monitoring. So basically pretty worthless data.)

Anyway: out of 2,319 test positives, only 280 people were located on the South Coast. That's 12% of the county numbers. The weekly rolling average is about 10 new cases and on a daily basis, zero-to-ten, the outlier being this past Wednesday with 26 cases. Bottom line is there is no accountable post-Memorial Day, post BLM demonstration "spike." Not on SB South Coast. Very little has changed. The virus continues to do what viruses do and you still have a 99.87% chance of not dying from covid. It is still important that we protect our at-risk population and continue to be concerned about spreading it unnecessarily. So stay home if you are sick, keep your distance from others (just in case you've got it and don't know,) and use a face covering when you cannot. Let's not become LA.

letmego Jun 21, 2020 11:27 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

You are not correct on the lack of a "spike". From May through early June the average new # of cases on the South Coast was 1.75 per day. It is now 8.75 per day (over the last 2 weeks). That's a five fold increase.

m-cubed Jun 20, 2020 07:58 AM
Public Health Concerned by Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Ginger's post didn't seem all that bad. I'd actually like to believe it. 'Like' to. May as well mix some optimists in with the doomsayers. Still remaining cautious.


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