SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — This week, Santa Barbara County residents witnessed mask mandates and physical distancing requirements being removed as things began opening up throughout California.
Despite the state’s restrictions being rolled back, COVID-19 case numbers hit a new low in Santa Barbara County.
Over the past week, only 38 coronavirus cases were reported.
“I feel quite confident that we have reached a level of immunity that we will not see a huge outbreak,” Santa Barbara County public health officer Henning Ansorg said.
Now nearly 70% of eligible residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
By the same token, around 57% of folks are fully vaccinated.
“We have to pause and acknowledge that nearly one in three community members who are over twelve years of age, are not vaccinated,” Santa Barbara County public health director Van Do-Reynoso said.
Currently there are 12 people hospitalized — with three in the ICU — with COVID-19 in the county.
Yet all of these individuals fighting for their lives against the deadly disease are those that decided not to receive a vaccine.
“We now see that almost all patients who are requiring hospital care and ICU admissions are unvaccinated people,” Ansorg said.
Although the county is inching closer to reaching herd immunity, there's still work left to be done.
“There are currently 22 community partners doing outreach and education throughout the county to increase vaccination rates,” Do-Reynoso said.
“With every additional individual getting inoculated, there is one more person who cannot pass this virus along,” Ansorg concluded.
Friday night marked the county’s 88th COVID-19 press conference since March of 2020.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department mentioned that it’s taken a true team effort to keep the community as safe as possible throughout the past pandemic year.