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Santa Barbara County in 'ready state' to reopen economy, health officials say

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Posted at 11:55 AM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 15:09:34-04

Health officials reported 77 percent of all positive coronavirus cases have recovered in Santa Barbara County, as of Tuesday morning.

That statistic was part of a broader presentation at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting of the county's path to a gradual reopening.

It is expected Gov. Gavin Newsom will roll out the complete guidelines in the next few days for moving into the next phase and public health officials say Santa Barbara County is right on track.

"Knowing what we know today, without the guidelines being revealed, I think our data puts us in a ready state," Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, public health director, said. "I think there are elements of the containment piece that we need to strengthen, but I think we're in a good spot."

Data trends show either "yellow" or "green" on the indicator chart. Testing results, hospital capacity, contact tracing, and PPE are all considered at sufficient levels. Total cases, hospitalization rate, ICU rate and healthcare worker infections are adequate but need improvement, according to the presentation.

The number of active cases are steadily declining, health officials said. So far, the county has completed more than 5,000 tests.

State-sponsored community testing is also becoming ramped up further. OptumServe's effort will provide 17,160 tests at three locations in Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Santa Barbara.

Stage 2, as outlined by the governor's office, will allow for expanded retail operations with curbside pickup. That includes places like furniture stores, bookstores, clothing, florists, sporting goods, toys, and shoe stores.

Offices, seated dining at restaurants, and shopping malls are not included in stage 2.

Santa Barbara County is currently working with business and health leaders on coordinating with San Luis Obispo County and Ventura County leaders to better coordinate the region, potentially allowing for reopening of more businesses sooner.

More information on those informal roundtable discussions will be presented at the next board of supervisors meeting.