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La Presidenta: Fiesta performers test positive for COVID-19

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The 2021 Old Spanish Days La Presidenta said multiple Fiesta performers have tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement comes the day after Old Spanish Days announced that La Fiesta Pequeña would be closed to the public.

Stephanie Petlow, this year's elected leader for Fiesta, likened the positive tests to the 2020 Olympics which has seen its own share of athletes and performers testing positive for COVID-19.

"We’ve learned so much from the Olympics on how they have dealt with athletes, and we have also learned from the CDC guidelines," Petlow said. "They are asymptomatic and immediately went into ten-day quarantine. All other dancers have had frequent follow-up tests and all have come back negative."

In total, three performers have tested positive for COVID-19. Petlow said two were vaccinated and the third was not. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is conducting contact tracing, Petlow said.

Old Spanish Days organizers said they are committed to the safety of the community, which led to the decision to keep the public away from Pequeña and, ultimately, the cancellation of other popular events.

Fiesta events that were open to the public have been canceled, including Las Noches de Ronda at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens. Ticketed events, including the Fiesta rodeo at the Earl Warren Showgrounds and Celebración de los Dignatarios at the Santa Barbara Zoo, are scheduled to continue on as planned.

"Please as you celebrate fiesta week with your family and friends, continue to think safety not only for yourself but also for those around you," Petlow said.

La Fiesta Pequeña was scheduled to take place at the Santa Barbara Mission at 6:30 p.m. with a live broadcast on NewsChannel 3.

The live broadcast has been scrapped out of an abundance of caution for the NewsChannel 3-12 crew that was scheduled to work the event. A replay of La Fiesta Pequeña will be broadcast at a later date on NewsChannel 3.

Old Spanish Days organizers plan to stream Pequeña Wednesday night at sbfiesta.org.

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