The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is providing updates on the county's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg appeared on NewsChannel 3 Midday for the health department's weekly conversation with Joe Buttitta and Alys Martinez.
Ansorg discussed the rising number of coronavirus cases linked to the Delta variant, which he said is nearly twice as transmissible as the original COVID-19 virus.
One person infected with the Delta variant could "easily" infects five or six others, Ansorg said.
Ansorg said case rate is going up "significantly" and said the health department is very concerned.
Case rate has risen so steadily, that Santa Barbara County currently meets the criteria to land in the 'Red Tier' of state's now-retired Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The Red Tier from the old reopening plan would signify that COVID-19 cases are "substantial" in Santa Barbara County.
Despite these rising cases, Ansorg says vaccines are still effective tools in battling rising coronavirus cases and protect against serious illness.
"We do see the occasional so-called breakthrough case where a vaccinated person does come down with COVID," Ansorg said. "But the vast majority of cases, whether in or outside of the hospital, those are mostly unvaccinated people."
As Santa Barbara County began encouraging people to wear masks indoors again, Ansorg also reminded the community that a mask mandate is still in place for all unvaccinated people.
Ansorg also said the Public Health Department is doing all it can to ensure students can return to the classroom in the fall, and urged parents to make sure their kids are vaccinated if eligible.
To find specific information about case totals, hospitalization information and to find COVID-19 vaccine resources, visit PublicHealthSBC.org.