Credit: NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), U.S. NIH

[Update 3/19 5:19 p.m.]: A ninth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Santa Barbara County. No further information is available at this time. This is a developing story and will be updated as more details become available.

[UPDATE 3/19 5:08 p.m.]: In an email to Santa Barbara City College faculty and staff, SBCC Superintendent/President Utpal K. Goswami confirmed that one of the people who has tested positive for COVID-19 is a “currently enrolled credit student” at SBCC who is “enrolled in a single course this semester.”

Goswami goes on to state, “The student in question is in isolation at home until cleared by the Public Health Officer. PHD is taking steps to identify persons who may have had close contact with the student, including friends, family members, or health care professionals. PHD will monitor them and take appropriate measures, including testing for infection if needed.”

The original story follows:

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara County has now risen to eight, five from the North County and three from the South County. That’s a jump from three as of Wednesday evening. Of the new cases, one is in his or her sixties and is a relative of the first confirmed case that was reported last week in Orcutt. Two are in their fifties, two in their thirties, and one in his or her twenties. 

While the increase is dramatic, it was also expected, in large measure because the number of tests administered in Santa Barbara County has grown considerably in the past week. As of earlier Thursday, 214 individuals had been tested in Santa Barbara County. That’s up from 128 earlier in the week. Of the 214, 66 have been deemed negative and 145 are still pending. 

All eight of those who have tested positive are quarantined in their homes; none have been hospitalized. It’s not been determined yet how many of the new cases involve travel-related contact and how many caught it from other community members. 

To date, Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg has issued an advisory strongly recommending the closure of all bars and restaurants. The Santa Barbara City Council went a step further this Tuesday, mandating the closure of bars, breweries, and tasting rooms and added to the list all gyms, dance studios, yoga studios, concert halls, and movie theaters

Neither has issued a proclamation ordering that all residents shelter in place—except for emergency health workers and others deemed to provide essential services. That order, however, is seen as likely given that San Luis Obispo County health officials did so yesterday. 


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