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Santa Barbara County Public Health prepares for COVID-safe Thanksgiving events after mostly successful Halloween

Halloween 2020
Alex Zauner/KEYT
Santa Barbara County officials believe that most people demonstrated proper COVID-19 safety precautions over Halloween weekend.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — Overall, Halloween was a smashing success for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department when it came to limiting the spread of COVID-19.

However, a high school party in Orcutt led to one small outbreak.

This caused Saint Joseph High School to temporarily close and Righetti High to suspend sports practices. 

"It is frustrating to learn about these kinds of events given the potential consequences to the entire community,” second district supervisor Gregg Hart said.

Isla Vista was originally a community of concern, but most college kids celebrated safely and responsibly. 

"The residents of Isla Vista provided a great example of how all of us are capable of doing things differently in order to keep our county safe and healthy,” Hart said. 

The fall holiday season is in full swing and people have started planning ahead for Thanksgiving. 

Whether that means traveling across the country or welcoming family members from out of town, county health officials are preaching precaution.

"The current recommendation is to limit mixing with those outside of your household,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said. “It really depends on where that family is coming from or where that college student is coming from.”

"This year, many will not be able to be surrounded by their families as they normally would be,” chief quality care and strategy officer Suzanne Grimmesey said.

On Thursday, both Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties reported their highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since the summer. 

This uptick in cases throughout the Central Coast has Santa Barbara County officials concerned. 

"Here in Santa Barbara County our local cases have been slowly edging up over the past month,” Hart said.

Despite the county’s adjusted case rate inching upwards, local health experts remain confident that a move into California’s orange reopening tier is near. 

"We're almost there,” Van Do-Reynoso said. “If we can only work to continue to practice vigilance in adhering to the safety guidelines.”

"If we continue to persist we can keep cases down, reopen schools and more businesses,” Hart concluded. “We can continue to live our lives and be safe at the same time.”

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is still urging everyone to get their flu shots in order to save limited medical resources necessary to helping battle the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Blake DeVine

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