Santa Barbara County sees increase in COVID-19 cases ahead of July 4th weekend

Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-02 18:46:19-04

While COVID-19 vaccines are no longer offered at the Santa Maria Fairpark county testing site, their staff says they've seen an increase in people coming in to get tested.

This comes after more than 600 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Santa Barbara County in the past week, and 340 new infections were documented in Santa Maria over the last 14 days.

"There has been a demand, more for the testing," said Alexander Kelly, registered nurse and administrator for the Fairpark's testing site.

"It is important to take care of ourselves, protect our coworkers and not infect them," said Fransisca Martinez, who lined up to get tested Friday.

Those who came by the county testing site say they had mild flu-like symptoms and wanted to test before celebrating the 4th of July holiday this coming Monday.

"Make sure you are wearing your mask. Make sure you get tested before gathering. Try and stand 6 feet apart, and try and limit the amount of indoor exposure," Kelley advised.

Others showed up at the site Friday morning, still hoping to get their family vaccinated. They were turned away and directed to other nearby county vaccination clinics including the Sav-On Pharmacy on South Broadway in Santa Maria and the Walker Medical Wellness Clinic off Clark Avenue in Orcutt.

"If people get more vocal about the vaccine desire and they speak up about it, we can bring the vaccines back," Kelley added.

New state data shows unvaccinated people in California are five times more likely to contract the disease, and eight times more likely to be hospitalized.

The rate of fully vaccinated people in Santa Barbara County sits at just under 70%.

County data also shows there to be a 35% jump in active cases over the past two weeks but a 15% drop in hospitalizations during that same time frame.