Public Health Discusses New Health Order and Beach Closure
Dr. Van Do-Reynoso during Thursday's press conference
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) discusses their new order to close indoor business sectors and beaches ahead of the holiday weekend.
During a press conference on Thursday, County Supervisor Gregg Hart expressed his concern for the increase in COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday PHD reported 268 new cases and on Thursday an additional 111 cases were added bringing the total to 3,275.
"This week has been particularly difficult as yesterday there was a very significant spike in local positive COVID-19 cases. The very large number of new positive cases reported is potentially the first indicator of a very serious problem," said Hart.
Governor Gavin Newsom had already ordered the closure of all bars and indoor operations for Santa Barbara County on Wednesday. PHD followed up with a formal health order announcing these closures as well as deciding to close all beaches.
PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated the Governor will be taking action if local COVID-19 rates continue and their department will have no other option but to comply. PHD can issue stricter guidance than what the state allows, and they are currently evaluating these options, she said.
While local agencies are pushing towards education for residents and businesses who fail to follow these orders, Supervisor Hart warned that state agencies such as Alcohol Beverage Control could be used. Additionally, public health inspectors have issued violations and will continue to investigate claims of businesses who are not following guidelines. Community members are encouraged to call 833-688-5551 on businesses that are not following protocol.
The Beach Closure
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) has reversed course and announced the beaches will close through the July 4th weekend.
Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg issued a health officer order requiring all beaches to be closed to the public during the July 4th weekend. This order is effective from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 3, 2020 and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 5, 2020.
PHD stated this order is being issued in response to Santa Barbra County not meeting the threshold criteria for Elevated Disease Transmission, Increasing Hospitalization, and Limited Hospital Capacity for the past 16 days as noted in the County Monitoring Metrics. However, just days earlier when the county was still not meeting the threshold criteria, PHD announced beaches will remain open. There was pushback from numerous residents and suggestions by Governor Gavin Newsom for local officials to close beaches.
Sheriff Bill Brown confirmed that deputies will be patrolling beaches and trailheads as well as parking areas adjacent to beaches.
Read more on the closure here.
The New Health Order
Santa Barbara County Health Officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg has issued a Health Officer Order mandating the closure of multiple business sectors that promote the mixing of populations beyond households and create environments where physical distancing and wearing face coverings is difficult. This guidance is effective at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2020 and will continue until 5 p.m. on July 26, 2020 or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.
At the direction of the California Department of Public Health and by mandate of the health officer order the following business sectors must close:
- Bars, breweries, pubs, and brewpubs, including bars located at permitted indoor and outdoor food facilities;
- Nightclubs, including private social clubs; and
- Indoor operations of Dine-in restaurants, Wineries and Tasting Rooms,
- Indoor operations of Family Entertainment Centers, Movie Theaters, Zoos and Museums, and Cardrooms
Outdoor operations of the above listed sectors, except for bars, breweries, pubs and brewpubs, may remain open with strict physical distancing protocols in place.
“We have made the decision to close these businesses in order to follow State guidance, especially since our case count continues to rise day by day. This action, particularly in anticipation of the holiday weekend, is a proactive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 locally,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg.
The full Health Officer Order can be found here.
The Latest Numbers
PHD is reporting 111 new COVID-19 positive cases on Thursday. Of the 111 new cases, 64 are hospitalized with 20 in the intensive care unit (ICU). Approximately 55% of call cases are due to person-to-person transmission, 44% is community-acquired, and 1% is due to traveling outside the county.
Dr. Do-Reynoso confirmed Santa Barbara County has not met the state's criteria set as a benchmark to further reopen business sectors for the past 17 days.
PHD is revising its data dashboard to reflect metrics that describe cases in the county as well as including the metrics of symptomatic and asymptomatic cases and the spread of transmission.
The data will be available here once it's updated.
Sheriff Announces Increase of Staff COVID-19 Cases
On Wednesday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's office announced four employees tested positive for COVID-19. During Thursday's press conference, Sheriff Bill Brown announced two more employees had also tested positive.
Overall, 321 inmates out of the total 578 have been tested for COVID-19. There are 139 negatives, 178 pending, 1 inconclusive and retested, and 4 inmates who tested positive.
Of the four inmates, one has been released on bail and one has been released on their own recognizance. Sheriff Brown confirmed both inmates received educational information on COVID-19 before their release. One inmate has recovered and one inmate is in isolation under medical supervision.
Currently, 340 staff members have been tested with 310 being negative, 9 pending, and 21 tested positive. Of the positive tests, 6 recovered and returned to work, 1 is hospitalized, and 14 are isolating at home.
For more information on local cases, visit https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/
For a state situation overview, please visit the California Department of Public Health webpage: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx
For a national situation overview, please visit the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html
For a global situation overview, please visits the WHO COVID 19 Situation Dashboard- https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd100