Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community title=
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community
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By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP, Health Officer County of Santa Barbara, Department of Public Health

In order to return to the things we enjoyed pre COVID-19, such as gatherings, travel, live entertainment, in-person education and indoor dining, it is critical that we increase the amount of COVID-19 testing in our County, as well as mask up, physical distance and vaccinate when it is our turn. 

The state of California currently ranks Santa Barbara County in the most restrictive “purple tier,” and in order for us to move to the less restrictive “red tier,” one of the things we must do is increase our COVID-19 testing. In our County, we still have widespread community transmission, with about 25 cases per 100,000.

Right now, it is as important as ever to get tested for the COVID-19 virus because frequent testing is the best way (short of getting vaccinated once available) to make sure positive cases are identified quickly and get isolated in order to stop further spread.

Would you be surprised to learn that about 50% of infected people have NO symptoms when testing positive? The highest viral load in infected people occurs typically 48 hours before their symptoms start. Your friend or neighbor who does not look or feel sick, could spread the virus. Identifying and isolating positive virus cases and quarantining the contacts remains a very powerful tool to stem the progression of this virus.

Who should get tested?  If you are planning to travel, gather (even in small groups), or be around those outside your immediate household, you should be tested for the virus, even if you feel perfectly well.  If you, have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, or anyone displaying virus symptoms, you should be tested as well.  Athletic teams that are playing and practicing together are currently having their teams and coaches tested daily, and schools are encouraged to test their staff weekly or every two weeks when open for in-person instruction in the purple Tier.

Even if you don't have COVID symptoms like a loss of taste or smell, coughing, or fever, you might still have the virus and can spread it to others. It is important to continue wearing a mask, physical distance and avoid gatherings and travel.  The only way to know for sure whether you have the Coronavirus is by getting tested.

Some may think that now that there is a vaccine, testing is no longer important but in reality, the Pandemic is not over yet, and it is still very important to test, isolate, socially distance and wear a mask. In actuality these measures are even more powerful than vaccination alone.  Combined, they will get us beyond the Pandemic faster and with less people getting seriously ill or dying from the disease.

 Please get your vaccination when it is your turn.  Don’t let your guard down! Stay safe Santa Barbara County and get tested!

For a list of free COVID-19 testing sites in Santa Barbara County visit: https://publichealthsbc.org/testing/.

For more information about local public health orders, guidance, and vaccine distribution in Santa Barbara County, please visit: https://publichealthsbc.org/.

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Voice of Reason Feb 24, 2021 10:31 AM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

The entire rational for the extreme restrictions and NPI (non-pharmaceutical interventions, like masks, social distancing, closing businesses) was because of the asymptomatic spreaders. Staying home when sick only works if your know you're sick so we should "treat everyone as if they have it" because you might catch it from someone who is asymptomatic. Well.... tucked into a recent CDC report on transmission in schools (link at the bottom) they confirm that "lack of [asymptomatic] transmission is consistent with recent research (5), which found an asymptomatic attack rate of only 0.7% within households". and that is within households where the spread is most likely to occur (close quarters, indoors for extended periods of time), so catching covid from an asymptomatic person walking down the sidewalk is about as likely as getting hit by lighting (probably less likely). This would explain why the virus took the same course in FL with no restrictions vs. CA heavy restrictions, asymptomatic spread is extremely extremely rare and throws out the entire basis for our mandated covid response.

RHS Feb 24, 2021 06:45 PM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

Dr. Ansborg is totally out of touch with what is happening in our county. It is absurd for him to tell people to get the shot when it is "their turn" as he knows, or should know, that people are crowding in line and taking what they can get. Read the LA Times for stories on how 30 and 31 year olds are getting pass codes allowing them to get the vaccine intended for people in East and South LA. In our town private MDs are offering the vaccine to their otherwise ineligible patients while people panic to find sites where they can get the shot. Locals have gone to Bakersfield, LA Dodger Stadium, Thousand Oaks and other places to get served instead of finding a reliable source in our community. SB County Public Health Department has stumbled and only offers us PR and platitudes. The leadership should be removed.

ChemicalSuperFreak Feb 24, 2021 08:05 PM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

RHS: "Dr. Ansborg is totally out of touch with what is happening in our county."

You speak the truth. He's been totally out of touch, and out of his depth, since the very beginning of the pandemic. Appointed or elected, all incumbents, at every level, should go.

Hokey-Pokey Feb 25, 2021 04:10 PM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

All y'all needed to do was wear a mask, stay home. Surges aren't driven by the people who aren't circulating. You are out of touch.

RIP Nestor.
One of way too many lost too early.


Basicinfo805 Feb 24, 2021 08:36 PM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

Is it Ansborgs fault we don't have everyone getting vaccinated in a timely fashion? I don't think so. The former president has to bear much of the blame for the state we're in with regards to vaccine availability. Beyond that, we like most other countries, don't have a system capable of handling this type of public health crisis. It's a failure at many levels. Let's just hope the same people complaining about vaccine availability won't balk at receiving the shot when their time comes up.

dukemunson Feb 24, 2021 08:50 PM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

Basic - What are you talking about????? We’ve administered far and away the most doses of any country in the world... do you have any concept of reality?????


Hokey-Pokey Feb 25, 2021 07:49 AM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

Really? (dripping sarcasm)

Because sick and dead people spend lots of $$ for the economy? Why don't you come down to the hospital and visit with someone who nearly died in an isolation unit and who never returns to work to support their family?

I'm glad to see you employing your Christian values, caring and helping others. How was Church last week? No worry if you didn't zoom into the sermon.

Too late to save you from single vision and Newton's sleep.

oops Mar 01, 2021 10:03 PM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

Another new goal post. The key is actually recalling all our officials at the state & local levels, starting with Newsome. Time to go!!

ChemicalSuperFreak Mar 01, 2021 10:59 PM
Testing is Key to Reopening Our Community

Yup, time for all of them to go. Less than a week after Ansorg made this statement---yet another of his useless proclamations---testing actually fell to less than 600 new tests reported today (Monday). We haven't seen testing numbers that low since before the first wave hit Santa Barbara last June. It's clear that no one listens to a thing he says, so can we just fire him already and spend the money on something else that actually helps the community?

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