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Santa Barbara County sees slight rise in coronavirus cases

COVID testing lab
Oliver Forster / NC3
A higher than average increase of new COVID-19 cases are coming from 20-year-olds in Santa Barbara County.

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. —  Coronavirus cases have steadily declined in Santa Barbara County since January.

However, local health experts are seeing a new uptick in cases over the past week.

“Our case rate is inching upwards,” public health director Van Do-Reynoso said. “Definitely in the wrong direction.”

As things open up in the red tier, COVID-19 cases have increased. 

For public health officer Henning Ansorg, this is a cause for concern. 

“I am concerned because we’ve seen a very continuous decline over the last six weeks or so,” he said. “It has now stalled over the last week.”

“If this trend continues, we will not be eligible to move to the orange tier,” Van Do-Reynoso said.

It’s still spring break for some, as people are traveling in and out of town to visit vaccinated relatives.

This has resulted in a higher than average increase of coronavirus cases coming from 20-year-olds. 

“We are seeing that the pandemic is shifting towards younger and unvaccinated people, who may be expanding their social activity,” Van Do-Reynoso said.

Local labs have also discovered the UK variant making its way through the community. 

This version of the virus spreads much faster and is a lot more contagious.

Nevertheless, health experts say that the three vaccines are effective at fighting off virus variants. 

They’re also pleased with progress, as 50% of county residents 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

“The more people getting vaccinated, the lower the risk for variants to take over and for another surge to occur,”Ansorg concluded.

On April 12th, all community members over the age of 16 are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines at Santa Barbara County community vaccination clinics.

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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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