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Santa Barbara County brings back virtual COVID-19 updates on Tuesdays

Gatherings blamed on community spread of COVID-19
Tuesday update
Tracy Lehr / KEYT

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County Public Health held updates weekday afternoons when the pandemic began.

By summer, the health department reduced that number to a few a week, followed by updates only on Fridays.

This week the county brought back Tuesday updates via Zoom.

Supervisor Gregg Hart served as moderator and said, "The information gleaned from contact tracers who are interviewing every single positive COV1D-9 patient in our community is that person-to-person infections among people we know indoors continues to be a very high contributor to community transmission of COVID-19 in our communities. Unfortunately too many people think that their small intimate group gatherings are not risky events. As a reminder high risk contacts occur indoors closer than 6- feet apart for longer than 15-minutes without masks. Mixing people from households that don't live together is a high risk contact. Gathering people outdoors for long periods of time also increases the risk for for transmitting the virus"

Tuesdays panelists included EMT Nick Clay, of the Emergency Medical Services Agency and Steven DeLira, the deputy executive director of the Family Services Agency.

DeLira said people are fearful of notifying their housemates.

"They are fearful, they fear that they will be evicted, they will be thrown out of the house, or that they and their family will be asked to leave the house, " said DeLira.

He said some of those families rent rooms in homes.

Service agencies are trying to help those patients through difficult times.

Clay said he didn't have specific details of how the virus spread in care centers, but said they are interacting daily with hospitals to keep and eye on hospitalizations.

"We are not alarmed, but we are concerned it is a high number putting a strain on the hospital system."

The county is on a watch list based on the those numbers.

Clay asked people not to miss testing appointments without calling first.

He also said testing should be available for essential workers and others who are at risk.

It was not clear why Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg wasn't at the update, but Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso was out of town.

Supervisor Hart said people can do their part by wearing masks in public and shopping locally as much as possible. He said gift cards and take out are ways to help local businesses stay in business.

The next update to be carried on and the Now Channel will be Friday at 4:30 p.m.

We will hear more from the community leaders tonight Fox11 News at 10pm and NewsChannel 3/12 at 11 p.m.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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