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Santa Barbara County Health makes major changes with COVID-19 guidelines

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
Blake DeVine

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — As coronavirus cases continue trending downward throughout Santa Barbara County, many changes have been made. 

This afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state is replacing its County Monitoring List with a new set of four color-coded tiers that counties will move through based on their number of cases and percentage of positive tests.

“This new state framework is sudden and complex,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said. “We’re evaluating the impact to Santa Barbara County.”

With the case rate per 100,000 residents at 9.0 and the case positivity rate at 6.5, this leaves Santa Barbara County in California’s stringent purple tier. 

“This structure is designed to ensure that COVID-19 cases do not spike because businesses reopened too quickly,” second district supervisor Gregg Hart said. “This occurred with the first round of businesses reopening in July.”

Another change included a monumental decision to move the state-run COVID-19 testing site located at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara over to the Goleta Valley Community Center.

The Earl Warren site is set to close after August 31 with the new Goleta site opening for service on Sept. 3. The Goleta Valley Community Center is located at 5679 Hollister Avenue.

Public health officials hope that this allows better testing access for Goleta and Isla Vista residents without cars. 

“We believe that this next move to Goleta will increase the opportunity of testing for those residents,” Do-Reynoso said.

This week, the county health department received 13 applications from elementary schools hoping to begin in-person instruction. 

“Of the 13 applicants, one is a public school district and the other twelve are private schools across the county,” public health officer Henning Ansorg said.

With this possibility comes a comprehensive plan to implement routine COVID-19 testing for teachers and staff members. 

“We want to make sure that no asymptotic carrier or spreader is going into the schools,” Ansorg said.

As a result of California’s new reopening rules, hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to resume indoor operations on Monday. 

“We will be working throughout the weekend to write our health officer order to allow for that,” Do-Reynoso concluded.

With coronavirus cases and hospitalizations slowing down throughout most parts of Santa Barbara County, the public health department aims to move down one tier by the end of September. 

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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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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