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Santa Barbara County hit hard by second wave of COVID-19

Marian Regional Medical Center
Blake DeVine/KEYT
Santa Barbara County is experiencing its highest hospitalization rates since the summer.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — Santa Barbara County is experiencing its worst wave of the coronavirus since the summer. 

According to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, this widespread transmission has resulted from many maskless gatherings taking place in people’s households.

“In the past month, active cases have increased nearly eightfold from 100 to over 800,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said.

“The bulk of the current increase predates the Thanksgiving holiday,” second district supervisor Gregg Hart said. “Cases will likely continue to increase and patients will get sicker.”

Last week, Southern California’s regional stay-at-home order got underway. 

Limiting restaurants to take-out and delivery options only while forcing hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, museums and bars to temporarily close. 

“Activities considered safe a month ago are no longer low risk,” Do-Reynoso said.

As a precautionary tale, Congressman Salud Carbajal described his experience battling COVID-19.

“I still experience fatigue on occasion,” he said. “Sometimes it feels like it’s one o’clock at night and it’s only twelve o’clock in the afternoon.”

Pending approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine could soon be arriving in Santa Barbara County.

“All hospitals in our county are expected to receive and start vaccinating their staff within the next two weeks,” public health emergency preparedness program manager Jan Koegler said.

In the meantime, county officials are urging everyone to avoid gathering with those outside their immediate households this holiday season. 

“Please take this moment seriously,” Hart said. “Heed the stay-at-home order and only leave your home for critical needs.”

“Do not let this holiday season be the last one some people will have with their loved ones,” Do-Reynoso concluded. 

Carbajal was confident that Congress will pass another economic stimulus package next week.

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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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