Aerial view of Santa Barbara Courthouse. | Credit: Courtesy

Santa Barbara County is joining forces with Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties in asking the state to separate the three counties from the larger Southern California region and instead assess them as a smaller Central California region.

Currently, Santa Barbara County’s ability to reopen from its shutdown is measured by the Southern California Region’s intensive-care-unit capacity. The large region, which includes more than 23.1 million people and 11 counties, goes under a shutdown every time the intensive-care-unit capacity falls below 15 percent. If the three counties separated from the larger Southern California region, the smaller Central Coast Region would include approximately 1.5 million people.

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“A smaller regional approach is important for our community members and struggling businesses. We believe it’s reasonable to have the Central Coast as one region instead of including our County with over half the State’s population in the current Southern California Region,” said Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers. 

“This is a critical time to work together to bring the numbers down, save lives, and save businesses,” Powers continued. “Allowing our local tri-counties to meet the State’s metrics collectively provides a better opportunity for our Central Coast Region to move forward safely.”

The hope is that Governor Gavin Newsom will allow the three counties to secede from the greater Southern California region because the high prevalence of disease in the large southern California counties could prevent the Central Coast from exiting the regional stay at home order, further causing educational and economic hardships.

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