Santa Barbara Councilmember and Mom Test Positive for COVID-19

Oscar Gutierrez Quarantining in Place at Elderly Mother’s Home

Santa Barbara's Westside Councilmember Oscar Gutierrez announced at the end of Tuesday’s council meeting that he and his mother had tested positive for COVID-19 after she went out to a Thanksgiving dinner. They are now quarantining in place. | Credit: Paul Wellman (file)

Santa Barbara City Councilmember Oscar Gutierrez announced at the tail end of Tuesday’s council meeting that he and his mother had tested positive for COVID-19 and are now quarantining in place. Gutierrez, who represents the city’s Westside on the council, lives with his girlfriend and his elderly mother in his mother’s Westside home. Gutierrez stated that he and his girlfriend had scrupulously insisted on staying home during the Thanksgiving holidays, but his mother “decided to go to a family member’s house.” He added, “We asked them not to have the gathering and begged my mom not to go, but pandemic fatigue got the better of them and they gathered anyway.”

Gutierrez said his mother and other relatives observed all the gathering guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but to no avail. “Even then, my mother unknowingly came into contact with an infected person and returned home infecting both of us with COVID-19. We are suffering from the symptoms and isolating at home.”

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Gutierrez said that since the outbreak of the pandemic he and his mother had followed the CDC guidelines, but for this incident. “Now I am an example of how you can do everything right but still get infected because of the actions of others. You don’t even have to leave your house, and you can still get infected.”

The moral of the story, from Gutierrez’s vantage point? “Do not leave your houses or travel for the holidays. Do not gather. Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain social distancing, and we’ll get through this together.”

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