Santa Barbara County remains in the red tier of the state’s tiered COVID-19 reopening framework following Tuesday’s tier assessment.
The county reported a 5.3 adjusted case rate, which is down 0.5 from the week prior. The testing positivity rate remained at 2.2%, and the health equity testing positivity rate increased slightly to 4.1%.
While the testing positivity rate and the health equity testing positivity rate both meet the less-restrictive orange tier requirements, the county’s adjusted case rate needs to fall below four daily new cases per 100,000 people in order to qualify for the moderate orange tier.
Once the county meets all of the orange tier criteria for two consecutive weeks, it can officially advance to the orange tier. The moderate orange tier comes with loosened COVID-19 reopening restrictions, including indoor dining at 50% capacity; movie theaters, museums, zoos, aquariums and places of worship opening indoors at 50% capacity; and indoor gym operations opening at 25% capacity, among others.
Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said on Friday that she anticipates that happening within a week or two.
Additionally, if California reaches its second vaccine equity goal of distributing 4 million vaccines to the most hard-hit communities, defined by 400 specific ZIP codes, the tier thresholds will drop lower and make it easier for the county to qualify for the orange tier.
The state already dropped the thresholds once, when the vaccine equity goal of 2 million vaccines was met on March 12.
The state has administered 2.4 million vaccines to the defined communities as of Tuesday, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard.
As of Monday, 185,415 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to the arms of Santa Barbara County residents through the county Public Health Department and the federal partnership with CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid, according to the county’s Community Data Dashboard, and 14.5% of the county’s population is fully vaccinated.
About 37,800 South County residents, nearly 10,500 Mid-County residents and about 17,800 North County residents are fully vaccinated, according to the dashboard.
Santa Barbara County Public Health officials on Tuesday reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional fatalities.
One of the individuals who died was older than age 70, and one was between ages 50 and 69. One of the individuals had underlying health conditions, according to Public Health. The two individuals resided in Santa Maria and Orcutt.
The county’s cumulative COVID-19 death toll rose to 438.
On Tuesday, there were 28 patients hospitalized with the virus throughout the county, including 10 in intensive-care units. COVID-19 patients occupied 13.2% of the county’s 76 available staffed ICU beds. The county’s ICU availability rate dropped slightly to 48.7% on Tuesday.
Of Tuesday’s new cases, 16 were from the Santa Maria Valley, three were from the Goleta Valley and three were from Santa Barbara. The Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area, the Santa Ynez Valley, the Lompoc Valley and the Lompoc federal prison complex each reported one new case.
Four cases were pending geographic locations, and there were no new cases reported in Isla Vista.
There were 191 community cases still considered infectious throughout the county, and there have been 33,134 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.