SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Over the past month, the weekly sum of coronavirus cases has doubled in Santa Barbara County.
"COVID-19 cases in California and across the country are exploding,” second district supervisor Gregg Hart said. “Even before exposures connected to Thanksgiving gatherings have begun to be identified."
The breaks are being pulled, as a regional stay-at-home order is inevitable.
If fewer than 15% of beds are available in intensive care units for Southern California’s hospital network, a stay-at-home order would go into effect within 24 hours.
This would force all hair and nail salons, bars, playgrounds along with museums to temporarily shutdown for at least three weeks.
Restaurants would be limited to take-out and delivery only.
"I anticipate that we will have more difficult days ahead,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said. “As we grapple with the impact of rising cases in our community.
Throughout the shopping season, retail stores can remain open at 20% capacity.
"This holiday season will make or break many local retail businesses,” Hart said. “Amazon doesn't need our local dollars but our local businesses do."
This evening, a maskless freedom rally took place on State Street’s promenade.
"We decided we have to do a march because the people are just being complacent,” rally organizer Hesu Whitten said. “Just taking what the Board of Supervisors is handing down."
"We bonded over our desire to live a normal life without insanity,” rallygoer Jerome Verhasselt said. “Without being denied human contact."
Although times may be tough, Santa Barbara County officials are preaching patience.
"If we all remain vigilant and keep our local COVID-19 cases low, I'm hopeful we could emerge from the stay-at-home order in position to move directly back into the red tier,” Hart said.
Nevertheless, people’s patience is wearing thin.
"The cost of lockdowns are way worse than the cost of the pandemic,” Whitten concluded.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department anticipates that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved by the FDA next week.
If this were to take place, over 3,900 vaccine doses would be available for the county’s hospitals by December 18th.