The spread of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County is continuing to slow, with the county's adjusted case rate dropping this week from 7.7 to 5.8 cases per 100,000 people, according to the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Santa Barbara County remains in the red tier for the time being but could see the orange tier in the coming weeks as the state continues to administer vaccines to its most disadvantaged residents.

Last week, the state's case rate threshold to reach the red tier was loosened from 7 cases or below to 10 cases or below, after the state reached its first vaccine equity goal of administering 2 million vaccines in the 400 ZIP codes ranked lowest for health.  

Once the state administers 4 million vaccines in those areas, requirements for the orange tier also will be loosened, with the case rate threshold changing from 3.9 cases to 5.9 cases, according to the state.

Once that occurs, Santa Barbara County's current adjusted case rate of 5.8 would meet the new threshold for the orange tier. After meeting the threshold for two weeks, several sectors can increase indoor capacity from 25% to 50%, and bars can open outdoors without serving food.

The county's COVID-19 positivity rate and health equity metrics also dropped this week — testing positivity is now at 2.2%, and testing positivity in the county's lowest health equity quartile has reached 4%, according to state data. 

San Luis Obispo County's adjusted case rate rose slightly since last week, from 6.2 cases per 100,000 people to 7 cases per 100,000 people, according to state data. 

Daily COVID-19 cases

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 24 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and no new deaths from the illness.

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According to county public health data, 32,895 total cases have been confirmed and 168 cases remain active. 

As of Tuesday, 40 county residents were hospitalized for COVID-19, including 13 in the intensive care unit. 

In Santa Maria, 50 out of 11,099 total cases remain active and 151 individuals have died.

In Orcutt, six out of 1,732 total cases remain active and 28 individuals have died.

In Lompoc, 34 out of 3,472 total cases remain active and 53 individuals have died.

In the Santa Ynez Valley area of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, six out of 979 total cases remain active and 17 individuals have died.

In the North County area of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe, two out of 1,259 total cases remain active and 22 individuals have died.

In neighboring San Luis Obispo County, public health officials reported 43 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and no new deaths from the illness. 

The total number of confirmed cases in the county is 20,303, and 228 cases remain active, according to county public health data.


Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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