Santa Barbara County’s coronavirus case numbers are sliding upward again, County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg announced on Friday, in part due to an outbreak at a nursing facility in Santa Maria. According to the county’s statistical dashboard, 41 residents and 23 health-care workers at the Santa Maria Post Acute care facility have tested positive for COVID-19. One resident died, and another was admitted to the hospital, Ansorg said on Friday, and the facility has been suffering the outbreak since September 25.
Ansorg added that people are relaxing their use of face coverings and social distancing, possibly because more businesses are opening and the public perceives this means masks are optional. “Quite the opposite is necessary,” he said. “The more people are out and about, the more important these measures actually are. They are the only way to keep infection rates down,” he reminded.
“Please understand that industry sectors can only remain open as long as we maintain or reduce the current level of new infections,” Ansorg warned. “If we were to experience a resurgence in cases, we would have to shut down businesses again.”
The uptick in case rate and the increase in test positivity has also been attributable to people getting together in groups, Dr. Van Do-Reynoso said. As the county’s contact tracers have spoken to infected individuals, they have learned that gatherings of all types are leading to infections, said Do-Reynoso, who is the director of the county Public Health Department. She asked residents to “Please limit mixing with those outside your household.” If Santa Barbara County reduces infections, it can stay in the red tier and possibly continue into the next lower tier, or the orange tier, “realistically in three weeks,” Do-Reynoso said.
Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.