COVID at All-Time High in Santa Barbara County

Stay Home on New Year's Holiday

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Dr. Henning Ansorg. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County has reached record high levels, making it even more imperative that residents stay home during the New Year’s holiday.

As of Wednesday, the adjusted case rate is 30.8 cases per 100,000 residents; the positivity rate, or the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests in the county divided by all the tests administered overall, is 9.1 percent. 

“What this means is that COVID-19 is actively spreading across our county. It is not safe to gather with people outside your household,” said Van Do-Reynoso, director for the public health department. “Not only is gathering unsafe, but we risk losing the extremely limited hospital beds we have left and exhausting the health care staff that has tirelessly cared for our community.”

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The county, part of the Southern California Region, recently had its stay-at-home order extended because the region’s intensive-care-unit (ICU) capacity is at zero percent. This doesn’t mean that there are zero ICU beds available because the state uses a formula to allow bed space for non-COVID patients. However, many hospital resources are stretched thin.

On the bright side, more COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Santa Barbara County this week. To date, 17,575 vaccines have been delivered to hospitals, health-care centers, and the Public Health Department; 8,775 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and 8,800 Moderna vaccines have been received.

“As we move further into COVID-19 vaccine distribution, we come closer and closer to being out of this pandemic,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg. “We are in for a very difficult next few weeks. Unfortunately, we cannot stop what is to come in the immediate future, but we can impact the longer-term trajectory of this virus spread. Stay home, wear a mask if you must leave for essential tasks, isolate immediately if you are sick, and please do not gather with those outside your home.”

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