Santa Barbara Co. health officials report 137 cases of COVID-19 Friday; total now 4,759

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 20:20:19-04

As Santa Barbara County remains on the state’s monitoring list for 32 consecutive days, county health officials are reporting 137 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, increasing the county’s case total to 4,759.

During a virtual press conference Friday afternoon, Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the county public health director, said there are currently 394 active cases in Santa Barbara County and 81 hospitalizations, 27 of whom are in the intensive care unit. 89 percent of all cases in the county are fully recovered.

County health officials reported no new COVID-19-related deaths.

Santa Barbara County’s testing positivity rate is at 9.6 percent, which public health officials say is “exceeding the state’s threshold.”

According to Do-Reynoso, a team of epidemiologists said large gatherings continue to be a significant issue among newly positive COVID-19 patients, with many patients reporting they attended a large gathering in the past 14 days. These large gatherings include work, bars, grocery stores, gyms, funeral services, birthday parties and beach gatherings.

Local law enforcement officers responded to 352 complaints of businesses or gatherings that failed to comply with social distancing measures, the majority of which are food facilities, according to health officials.

Gregg Hart, second district county supervisor and chair of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, said community members should take extra precautions when in closed spaces, crowded spaces and close contact with other people.

Coronavirus transmission is greater when community members are indoors with other people for more than 15 minutes without wearing masks, said Hart.