Personal-care businesses in Santa Barbara County such as nail salons and tattoo parlors were given the go-ahead Thursday to open once they meet protocols set out by the Public Health Department.
Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer, issued an order allowing the reopenings, effective at 8 a.m. Friday.
The announcement came the same day the county reported its 28th COVID-19 death and 42 new cases of the disease.
The latest fatality was a Santa Barbara resident older than age 70.
Other personal-care businesses affected by the order include estheticians, skin care and cosmetology services, hair removal, body art professionals, piercing shops, massage therapy, and those offering facials, electrolysis and waxing.
Those business will be required to implement modifications and social distancing protocols, and complete an attestation process with the county before they can reopen.
Of the new cases reported Thursday, 28 were in Santa Maria, continuing a troubling trend that has played out almost from the beginning of the pandemic.
There were three new cases each in Orcutt and Santa Barbara, two in the unincorporated areas of the Goleta Valley, and one each in Isla Vista, the Santa Ynez Valley and the unincorporated areas of the Santa Maria Valley. Details were pending on three cases, and one previous case was determined not to be COVID-19.
The county released conflicting information Thursday about hospitalizations.
The county’s online status report indicated there were 61 people being treated in local hospitals, with 22 in intensive care units. But the county’s metrics dashboard had the numbers at 67 and 20, respectively. The numbers Wednesday stood at 57 and 20, respectively.
Meanwhile, one of the state-run community COVID-19 testing sites in the county is moving to Buellton from Solvang on Friday, and the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara locations are expected to be open through the end of July, according to the Public Health Department.
Spokeswoman Jackie Ruiz said Wednesday that enough people are getting voluntarily tested each day to keep the locations open.
“The state would ideally like to see us average an 85 percent utilization rate at each site,” she said.
Neighboring Ventura County has started offering free antibody testing, which looks for past infection of the novel coronavirus, but Santa Barbara County does not have plans to offer that at the community testing sites, Ruiz said.