Mistaken Assumptions

Concerning “Can Santa Barbara County Escape the Governor’s COVID Purple Tier?” those cycling and walking in Isla Vista were compliant with the County Health Order: They were separated by at least 6 feet and were recreating outdoors.

The “popular belief” that I.V. is “one of the densest packed masses of humanity west of the Mississippi River” has been debunked: I.V.’s census tract ranks 87th in California in population density, and lower than one tract in Santa Maria.

I hear Isla Vista nearly 24/7. So far the compliance there has been excellent; I.V. has over 5 percent of county population and less than 2 percent of COVID cases. The mass Del Playa multi-thousand throngs on weekend evenings are gone.

I.V. is also home to many essential workers, some undocumented, who reside with extended families in close quarters, a quality that I.V. shares with Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

As far as I know, the origin of I.V.’s recent outbreak remains unpublished: students, essential workers, or the houseless. Of course no prejudice should result, but corrective measures are best based on hard data.

Luckily I.V. now has a Community Service District, seemingly ignored by both the Indy and our county supervisors, a terrific vehicle for making I.V.’s COVID compliance even better.

I have no doubt that the I.V. community will rise to the task.


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