Santa Barbara County confirmed 138 additional COVID-19 cases over the Sept. 5-7 weekend, followed by three additional cases on Tuesday, with public health officials urging residents to remain vigilant in order to move the county into the next reopening phase.
Cases confirmed during the holiday weekend were not reported until Tuesday, with 56 cases confirmed Saturday, followed by 30 on Sunday and 52 on Monday, according to county data.
According to county Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso, Tuesday's low case count was likely the result of less testing being done over the holiday weekend.
The number of confirmed cases in the county is now 8,499, with 216 cases still active, according to county data.
On Tuesday, the county also received its first official "report card" from the California Department of Public Health regarding COVID-19 spread, with the county still stuck in the purple or "widespread" tier for the time being.
While the county's overall case and positivity rates have dropped since the implementation of the new state metric system at the end of August, they still not low enough to move into the red tier and reopen further sectors such as schools.
The county's COVID-19 test positivity rate of 5.5% is well below the state's needed threshold of 8% to advance into the red or "substantial" tier, but progress still needs to made regarding case rates.
The county's case rate per 100,000 people is currently 8.3, an improvement from the state's last report of 8.7 on Aug. 29. However, case rates must reach 7 per 100,000 or below for a county to advance to the next stage, according to the state's metric system.
"As you may recall, even though our test rate is in the red tier, the adjusted case rate is in the purple tier. The state judges by the most restrictive metric," Do-Reynoso said.
Weekly state report cards for counties will be shared on Tuesdays, according to county officials.
Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart urged residents to keep up best practices including wearing face coverings, staying home when possible, limiting gatherings and washing hands. He praised the low numbers of people gathering at beaches over the Labor Day weekend.
"We are continuing to make progress," Hart said.
He added that with continued vigilance, the county could potentially lower its case rate enough to move into the red tier by the end of September.
COVID-19 cases by area
A total of 44 individuals are hospitalized for COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County, including 17 currently in the ICU.
The city of Santa Maria has 70 active COVID-19 cases out of 3,685 total. Fifty-one individuals have died.
In the community of Orcutt, nine cases remain active out of 283 confirmed cases. Three individuals have died.
The city of Lompoc has 37 active cases out of 743 cases. Eight deaths have been confirmed.
In the Santa Ynez Valley, five cases are active out of 126 cases. Two individuals have died.
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