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Santa Barbara County officials discourage travel as COVID-19 cases rise; 76 cases confirmed Friday

Santa Barbara County officials discourage travel as COVID-19 cases rise; 76 cases confirmed Friday

As COVID-19 cases surge nationwide, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is continuing restrictions against gatherings and urging residents to make safe decisions regarding the holidays and travel this year. 

"Outbreaks can occur when there is a gathering, even one as small as just a few people," county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said. "Be open and transparent with family and friends about illnesses, concerns and expectations."  

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, released a joint travel advisory Friday discouraging travel along the West Coast during the holidays due to rising COVID-19 cases. 

Within this advisory, individuals are encouraged to quarantine for two weeks if they plan to travel, and to consider the risk of contracting and transmitting the disease associated with their travel plans. 

While COVID-19 case rates in Santa Barbara County are lower than in neighboring Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, recent case confirmations show that the county could be headed backward. 

"I am worried. We are experiencing a steady increase in cases on a daily basis," Do-Reynoso said. 

On Friday, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department confirmed its highest daily increase in cases since the peak in late July and August, with an additional 76 COVID-19 cases confirmed. 

Sixteen of Friday's cases were confirmed in the city of Santa Maria, with the rest spread throughout all other areas of the county, according to public health data.

The total number of cases in the county is now 10,415, with 216 total cases still considered active and contagious.

In the city of Santa Maria, 42 out of 4,273 total cases remain active. Seventy-two individuals have died.

In the community of Orcutt, 17 out of 422 total cases remain active. Six individuals have died. 

In the city of Lompoc, 24 out of 1,000 total cases remain active. Eight individuals have died.

In the Santa Ynez Valley, which includes the areas of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, five out of 192 total cases remain active. Seven individuals have died. 

In the unincorporated North County area, which includes Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama and New Cuyama, six out of 480 total cases remain active. Seven individuals have died.

Neighboring San Luis Obispo County passed 5,000 total COVID-19 cases on Friday, with 66 new cases confirmed.

Of these 66 new cases, 40 were Cal Poly students residing on campus, according to county public health data

A total of 5,038 cases now have been confirmed, with 587 cases still considered active — the highest rate of active cases to date in the county. 

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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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