Santa Barbara County media debriefing on the coronavirus
Santa Barbara County officials hold a news conference on Friday to discuss the latest updates and information about the coronavirus. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Several websites offer the most up-to-date information about COVID-19. As of Friday afternoon, there were no known cases of coronavirus in Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara County is close to launching, perhaps early next week, a new website dedicated to public information on coronavirus.

Anyone seeking information about the novel coronavirus can call the information line at 805.681.4373 to hear a recorded message about the status of the outbreak and more.

Click here for more frequently asked questions (and answers) about the novel coronavirus.

Here are more useful links that will help answer questions about the coronavirus:

» World Health Organization 

» World Health Organization – coronavirus advice to the public

» Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

» United Nations World Tourism Organization

» California Department of Public Health

» U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A novel coronavirus was first identified in late December in China, and additional cases have been identified in other international locations, including the United States.

This week, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus to better help the state prepare and respond with emergency funds.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is working closely with the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to respond to the outbreak, according to county officials.

The county public health department is communicating with local health-care providers on how to safely evaluate ill people who have been to China, county public health officials said.

Two residents had initial testing for COVID-19 with negative results, according to Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer. 

“We tested two cases that were low likelihood just out of an abundance of precaution,” Ansorg said Friday morning.

Ansorg said that county public health officials have “ample” experience with other disease outbreaks, and robust protocols are in place that would be coming into “effect depending on the level of disease we experience in the community.”

Local health officials are closely monitoring the coronavirus, said Paige Batson, the county’s deputy director of community health and a public health nurse. Batson has worked for the county disease control and prevention program for 20 years, she said.

“We have been working closely with our health-care partners,” Batson added.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.