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San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties bumped to high COVID-19 transmission areas

According to the CDC, 42 out of the 58 counties in California have high community transmission levels. Some counties are rethinking mask mandates.
Posted at 5:10 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-16 11:56:47-04

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just bumped San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties into its high COVID-19 transmission level category.

According to the CDC, 42 out of the 58 counties in California have high community transmission levels. This is based on a metric that looks at population and hospital admissions.

Cases are on the rise and with multiple large events coming up this summer, health officials are asking the community to stay safe.

“If you’re at an event with 100 people, almost 100% that at least one person has COVID right now and can transmit it,” explained Dr. Henning Ansorg, the Santa Barbara County public health officer.

A rise in cases is happening in both counties.

“Earlier this week we reported 873 new cases, 14-day daily average is at 98. That’s up from 68 last week,” disclosed Tom Cuddy, San Luis Obispo County Public Health’s information officer. “Nine community members are hospitalized and fortunately, no one is in the intensive care unit.”

Health officials said hospitalizations are still manageable, but they have seen an increase.

“Last month or so we usually had 25 or 30 people in the hospital and now, over this last week, it was about 50,” said Dr. Ansorg.

With the summer in full swing, this high transmission level is making some change their plans.

“We've been doing a lot of camping this summer, that’s what we love to do, outdoors is a little safer and we also have a little pool in the backyard, just invite friends over that we know have been kind of quarantining, said Sarah Macie, who lives in San Luis Obispo.

Some locals are keeping face masks around.

“I wear it on my own when I go to doctors offices and things like that,” said Terri Fosmire, who is opting for outdoor activities this summer.

Not everyone is on the same page.

“I just don’t deal well with masks, I don’t breathe well with masks, so I would try to stay away from places that I think I would have to wear a mask,” said Kaye Daquila, who is not changing her summer plans.

A mask mandate is not on the horizon locally.

“The whole situation in Los Angeles is a little bit different, we have more hospital capacity here, we are smaller communities,” explained Dr. Ansorg.

“There are no plans at this time to require masking in indoor public places but again, we do highly recommend you wear a mask in crowded, indoor places,” said Cuddy.

Health officials still make the following recommendations as big events unfold such as concerts and county fairs.

“Wear a protective mask for yourself, a high-quality mask like an N95,” said Dr. Ansorg.

That's in addition to the measures experts have been suggesting for years.

“Regularly wash your hands, socialize with friends outdoors, stay home if you don’t feel well,” added Cuddy.

Public health departments are reminding residents that they have test to treat sites available for people who test positive for COVID-19.

For information on COVID-19 resources in San Luis Obispo County, click here.

For information on COVID-19 resources in Santa Barbara County, click here.