Santa Barbara County’s COVID-19 average test positivity rate has climbed to 13.3% in recent days, indicating an increase in community transmission of the virus.

The county’s rate is higher than the statewide test positivity rate of 11.9%, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The test positivity rate indicates the percentage of people who get tested and have a positive result. At 13.3%, that means that more than one of every 10 people getting PCR tested was positive during the past week.

State and county public health departments have not reported daily case counts since Monday, but as of then, the previous week’s total of newly reported cases was 391. The case counts are undercounted since only PCR-test-confirmed cases are included, and at-home test results are not reported.

A California Department of Public Health dashboard shows Santa Barbara County's recent trends for COVID-19 cases and deaths
A California Department of Public Health dashboard shows Santa Barbara County’s reported numbers for COVID-19 cases and deaths. Credit: CDPH photo

Santa Barbara County has high community transmission of COVID-19 — as do most other counties in the state and country — but a “low” COVID-19 community level, which balances new case counts with hospitalization and death rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The county reported 48 COVID-19-positive patients in local hospitals as of Thursday, which included six people in intensive-care units. The hospital patient count includes people who were admitted because of COVID-19-related reasons and people who were hospitalized for unrelated reasons but tested positive when they were admitted.

Public Health officials advise people to stay home and away from others when sick, to get tested, and to wear masks in crowded spaces.

chart showing covid-related hospitalizations over time
A chart shows COVID-19-positive hospital patients in Santa Barbara County over time. Credit: Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk illustration via Datawrapper

Free COVID-19 and flu testing is available in Santa Maria, Lompoc and Goleta, and testing is available at many other healthcare providers throughout the county.

COVID-19 vaccinations are available for free at health providers and pharmacies countywide.

A stylized hawk's head on a red background

Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at