Santa Barbara County reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, but no additional deaths.
At the same time, the number of patients with COVID-19 in local hospitals dropped to 21, the lowest it’s been since April 1, with only six of those being treated in intensive-care units.
Public Health Department officials announced on Tuesday that the county had crossed the first hurdle toward dropping down to the less-restrictive “red tier” under the state’s system. It currently is in the most-restrictive “purple tier.”
The state will consider test positivity and adjusted case rate metrics when determining whether counties meet the threshold to move to the next phase of the reopening criteria.
The case rate must drop to an average of 31 cases or fewer per day for the county to move into the next, less-restrictive tier of the reopening system.
If approved to the less-restrictive red tier, the county’s new status would allow gyms, personal care services, movie theaters, museums and places of worship to reopen indoors with limitations, among other sectors of business.
Limited indoor restaurant dining could resume with modifications.
In addition, K-12 schools would be in a position to resume in-person instruction once the county has been in the red tier for at least two weeks. That could take place as early as Oct. 13 in Santa Barbara County, according to Van Do-Reynoso, the county’s public health director.
Of the new cases reported Thursday, nine were in the Santa Maria Valley, seven were in Isla Vista, five were in Santa Barbara, four were in the Lompoc Valley, three were in the Goleta Valley and one was in the Santa Ynez Valley. The geographic location was pending on one case.
The county’s total number of COVID-19 cases was 9,003, of which 8,753, or more than 97 percent, have recovered.
There have been 113 COVID-19 deaths in the county — 110 in the community and three at the Lompoc Federal Prison Complex.