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Santa Barbara County stays in ‘red tier’ as concerns about group gatherings rise

COVID-19 testing is taking place regularly for residents of Santa Barbara County to help health officials understand the rate of spread of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 Testing
Dave Alley/KEYT
COVID-19 testing is taking place regularly for residents of Santa Barbara County to help health officials understand the rate of spread of the coronavirus.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With improved testing and low positivity rates, Santa Barbara County is getting another good report card after it moved into the COVID 19 red tier last week.

The County Board of Supervisors has been told these numbers need to remain consistent or lower. If they remain in the same range the county stays in the red tier.

Santa Barbara County Health Director Van Do-Reynoso says there is a slight increase in case numbers in Santa Maria, Orcutt and the unincorporated are of the North County.
There was also an uptick in the Montecito and Carpinteria area.  First District County Supervisor Das Williams said, the increase was very small.  "We had two," said Williams.

Improved numbers as outlined by the County Health Department could move the county into the orange tier which is less restrictive.

The county also received a report on the latest analytics, hospitalizations, and collaboration with community groups.

There's been an organized outreach to underserved groups including the Latin population, Blacks, and Asian-Americans due to statistics showing those demographics have a higher rate of coronavirus cases.

The messaging includes television and radio announcements in many languages.

93 organizations and over 200 individual people have participated in a special task force. Messages are shared by the county and through individual social media sites.

"This is just incredible.   It is not easy to reach these populations," said Supervisor Joan Hartmann. She has offered assistance from her staff to continue to address the outreach.

We may be in the same storm but we have different sized boats and may be disproportionately affected by those storms," said Williams.
He pointed out there should be a greater concern about housing issues because there are dangers when "people are living in high density."

So far the county has had 26 schools  evaluated for waivers.

The report did not address Halloween or the guidelines in place with the return of students learning remotely in Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara.

The county has warned about group gatherings for holidays and Halloween events. Friday, it was suggested for those handing out Halloween candy, that it be done with tongs.

Electronic sign boards in Isla Vista warn those coming into the area not to gather in groups and to keep their social distancing.

For more information go to :Santa Barbara County Health COVID-19 update

Article Topic Follows: Health

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John Palminteri

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