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Santa Barbara Public Health Department plans for potential social distancing due to the coronavirus

The PHD Operations Center has been activated since March 6.
Posted at 11:45 AM, Mar 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-07 22:33:31-05

As fear over the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise, the Santa Barbara Public Health Department (PHD), as a precautionary measure, is trying to solidify the county's readiness should the virus be found in Santa Barbara or a nearby county.

The PHD is asking agencies, businesses, organizations, and health care providers throughout the county to develop and/or update a plan for social distancing within 24-48 hours.

According to the department, social distancing means having less contact between individuals throughout the county. Businesses, for example, would review which staff members could work from home, which would result in less contact between people at the workplace.

PHD also asks that members of the public speak with their employer about alternative work plans, such as telecommuting.

Assisted living care facilities are being asked to write or update their plans for protecting their residents/patients from interacting with those outside of the residence. Schools, while less likely to be impacted, have made significant advances in their planning for possible temporary closure.

Primary care medical sites are being asked to implement plans to communicate with patients via FaceTime, Skype and/or over the phone while pregnant women are also advised to take special care to decrease their social contacts.

Another suggestion by the PHD is for religious services to consider live streaming so that congregants can view the service from home or modifying their service so that there is at least two spaces between each congregant.

Above all, the department asks that people who are starting to feel ill or who are ill, stay away from others and not go into crowded settings.