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SB County Public Health encounters rise in asymptomatic COVID-19 cases

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Santa Barbara County Health Officials are encouraging the public to get a COVID-19 test as a way to possibly bring down the rate of positive results.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — Over the past week, the Santa Barbara County Health Department identified 300 new COVID-19 cases

However, most of these positive tests came from those not displaying symptoms. 

"Although our case count may be steadily rising, many of our new cases remain asymptomatic,” Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said.

According to Santa Barbara County Health, the rising number of COVID-19 cases can be attributed to increased testing for asymptomatic individuals.

“We have begun to test a lot more asymptomatic folks,” Ansorg said. “Mainly at our community testing sites.”

With many people curious on whether or not they have COVID-19, it’s been difficult to schedule a test locally. 

"The individuals who haven't had exposure and aren't at risk are unfortunately coming at a volume that prevents individuals who do need that test,” Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services Director Nick Clay said.

Personal care businesses such as nail salons, estheticians and massage therapy were allowed to reopen today with new safety measures. 

Given the fact that coronavirus cases continue to rise locally, some question this decision from county health leaders. 

"The impact which personal care service businesses reopening will have on future COVID-19 cases is not a serious threat to public health in our county,” Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart said.

"We feel confident that with these precautions in place, they are safe to operate,” Ansorg said.

The county health department also gave a positive outlook on hospitalization rates. 

"The virus is definitely more widespread but only a small fraction of these cases will need hospital level care,” Ansorg said.

"There are increasing hospitalizations particular in regards to ICU beds but there is not a crisis with the availability of hospital resources,” Hart concluded.

According to California’s COVID-19 Assessment Tool, Santa Barbara County's death toll could increase to 225 over the next 30 days. 

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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