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Thursday’s hot news was not only another 20 COVID cases — about the same daily number as all week long — but the announcement from Old Spanish Days that Fiesta 2020 would go online only. This would mark the first time since World War II that the city has not enjoyed the annual horse parade, dance events, and accompanying parties, but the need to prevent crowds from spreading disease is itself a historic concern.
Fiesta Pequeña will be televised on August 5, instead of being performed live on the steps of the Old Mission. As well, the music normally heard in the Mercados around town will go live on Facebook and TVSB.
In the pandemic causing these changes, more than 2,000 people were tested in Santa Barbara County since Monday, accounting for some of the 83 new COVID cases found this week. Lompoc penitentiary has had 15 new cases since May 18, and Santa Maria has emerged as a possible hotspot. The area had 15 positive tests today and 10 on Tuesday. Among the 20 new cases reported today, one was in the City of Santa Barbara and one in the rural backcountry or City of Guadalupe, and three were in the Montecito/Summerland/Carpinteria area.
The number of people who’ve contracted the disease badly enough to require hospitalization in South County has inched upward this week as well. Cottage Health, the only hospital system that reports daily, started the week with six COVID cases, which increased to nine today. The single patient on a ventilator on Monday, however, has apparently recovered enough to no longer be listed in that category.
At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff is working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis — sorting truth from rumor. Our reporters and editors are asking the tough questions of our public health officials and spreading the word about how we can all help one another. The community needs us — now more than ever — and we need you in order to keep doing the important work we do. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.