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Santa Barbara - South County

SB Co Public Health Officer: ‘Next couple of weeks are extremely critical’

Dr. Henning Ansorg urges the community to abide by current state mandate and "stay home."
(Photo: Beth Farnsworth)

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif - Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg, sent out a renewed warning Tuesday reiterating California's stay-at-home and social distancing mandate. 

"I'm urging everybody to stick with it, stay with the plan," Ansorg said. "I know it's uncomfortable but it's really the only tool we have."

During Monday's press conference, Ansorg called out kids and teens spotted on local basketball courts over the past weekend as well as people seen gathering in larger numbers in private homes and restaurants.

According to state and local officials, gatherings of more than 10 people are not recommended and even at that size, there must be a distance of six feet between each person.

Ansorg said he knows people are uncomfortable holed up inside their homes but insists following the rules and guidelines are more important now than ever, as Santa Barbara County nears the 100 mark for confirmed cases of COVID-19.

"The next couple of weeks are extremely critical because we only see results from what we're doing now in two weeks," Ansorg said. "We started the isolation on March 19, probably more March 20 until it really rolled out, so, it's just been 10 days in the making. So, we cannot yet see any results from that. It takes a minimum of two weeks. Then we will see that the curve is going to go down."

Ansorg said Santa Barbara County is roughly two to three weeks behind the Bay Area and Sacramento.

"We're pretty late to the table with having active cases here so I anticipate our spike to be more in the mid-May."

Ansorg says modeling numbers are created by academic institutions and Santa Barbara County health officials are going by those created by Penn State University. Right now, he said the numbers vary so greatly and are really only good for giving a framework for worst and best case scenarios.

"The best case scenario means that our hospital capabilities with, including the surge, including alternate care sites that we're setting up, we'll be able to take care of all the sick people coming down with this disease."

Ansorg said he does not want to talk about a worst case scenario.

"It's in our hands to prevent that. It is very simple to prevent that. And the prevention is, honestly, stay home. As much home as you can, stay isolated from other people like at least six feet apart. Stay well and .... the ball is in all of our court. It's totally dependent on how we behave in the next few weeks."

For the latest COVID-19 updates in Santa Barbara County, click the following link: http://publichealthsbc.org

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3.

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