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State orders Santa Barbara County to re-close indoor operations of multiple sectors
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State orders Santa Barbara County to re-close indoor operations of multiple sectors

Santa Barbara County must re-close indoor operations of fitness centers, places of worship, offices in non-critical sectors, personal care services, hair salons and malls following a sweeping announcement Monday from Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

The county, along with 29 others on the state's monitoring list, was instructed to re-close the sectors to curb the escalating spread of COVID-19 that has led to increased deaths and hospitalizations, according to Newsom. 

Newsom also announced a statewide closure of indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms, as well as the complete closure of bars. 

While the statewide mandated closures are new, the sectors were already instructed to close in Santa Barbara County and 18 other counties on July 1 due to rising COVID-19 cases earlier in the month.

According to the county's latest available data on Friday, 3,931 COVID-19 cases and 32 virus-related deaths had been confirmed in Santa Barbara County, with the majority located in Santa Maria and other parts of North County. 

The governor's decision will greatly impact businesses in Santa Barbara County, weeks after the personal care services sector was able to reopen on June 26 and museums, wineries, bars and gyms on June 12, though the timeline is unclear.

The county's Public Health Department plans to release a health order Tuesday outlining the exact details, according to the county Joint Information Center.  

"Santa Barbara County Public Health is currently reviewing the Governor’s guidance closely and will have further direction for local businesses soon," the department stated following Newsom's announcement. 

Earlier in the pandemic California closed beaches, campgrounds and state parks as it sought to limit interactions of people from different households. But as data showed the virus was most likely to be transmitted indoors, the Newsom administration began modifying public health orders, including ordering people to wear face coverings and leaving outdoor activities alone.

Newsom has repeatedly implored people to refrain from social gatherings and he expressed frustration that many aren't following the guidance.

“COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, until there is a vaccine and or an effective therapy,” Newsom said. “Limit your mixing with people outside of your household. It’s just common sense, but the data suggests not everyone is practicing common sense.”

In the last two weeks, the number of counties on the watch list has swelled from 19 to 30, covering roughly 80% of the state's population. During that period coronavirus-related hospitalizations have risen 28%, including a 20% increase in patients requiring intensive care. The state's death toll now is above 7,000.

Santa Barbara County COVID-19 cases

Over the weekend, an additional 153 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Santa Barbara County, followed by an additional 56 reported on Monday. 

On Saturday, 120 new cases were reported, with 33 reported Sunday, according to county data. 

The county has now seen a total of 4,140 cases and 32 deaths. As of Monday, 76 individuals are hospitalized with 25 in the ICU. 

Santa Maria continues to hold the highest number of cases with 1,754 confirmed and 167 still active as of Monday. Eighteen deaths have been reported, 12 of which were individuals at skilled nursing facilities experiencing outbreaks of the virus.

In the community of Orcutt, 123 cases have been confirmed with 14 still active. No deaths have been confirmed.

Lompoc has seen a total of 226 cases with 25 still active. Four residents have died.

The Santa Ynez Valley has a total of 34 cases with seven still active, and no deaths confirmed in the area.

The federal penitentiary in Lompoc has seen a total of 998 cases confirmed thus far with one still active. Four inmates have died in connection with the virus. 

According to county data, close-contact transmission of the virus has been the top source of transmission with 747 county residents affected, followed by general community transmission traced back to 550 people. Only 12 individuals have been discovered to contract the virus via travel, according to county data.

The cause of transmission 1,833 cases is still being investigated. 

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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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