The Delta variant, aka B.1.617, has now been identified in six Santa Barbara County residents through genetic sequencing. | Credit: NIAID

Around the state, COVID case counts are rising consistently and slowly, as the presence of the Delta variant balloons, with two new cases found in Santa Barbara County.

Both the rate at which new cases are known and the rate at which all tests are positive have for the past four days increased by two-tenths of a percentage point every day. (The state took a break for the Fourth of July and before that dumped a backlog of more than 6,000 cases which skewed results until July 2.)

The seven-day average case rate for California is now 3.3 cases per 100,000 residents and the seven-day positivity rate is 2.3. In the rainbow days, those numbers qualified for orange tier status.

Santa Barbara’s most recent daily case rate was 1.2 percent; a rate as high as 3.3 percent is two months in the rearview mirror. Test positivity was at 1.5 percent on July 4 and has been steadily moving upward since June 1; a positivity rate of 2.3 hadn’t been seen since the end of March.

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A new update at California’s variant tracker showed the Delta variant moving up seven notches. The hyper-infectious variant that was first found in India was at 42.9 percent in results posted on July 7, compared to 35.6 percent the week before. The number of cases found through sequencing increased to 1,085 from 634.

Among those are now six cases in Santa Barbara County, out of a total of 940 samples sequenced. Two are newly discovered since July 6, when Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said the previous cases were due to community transmission but had not required hospitalization.

Vaccination is widely viewed as the pathway out of the pandemic, and Santa Barbara County Public Health is holding walk-in, no-appointment-needed vaccine clinics morning, noon, and night all weekend. Santa Maria’s Downtown Fridays event at 201 Town Center East goes until 8:30 this evening, offering the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Villa Esperanza at 155 South Kellogg Avenue in Goleta offers the same through 8 p.m.

More clinics take place this coming week in Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Goleta — as well, pharmacies dispense vaccine in those locales and Carpinteria, Montecito, and Orcutt — all of which can be found at

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