After a statewide outcry, public health officials have reversed course and decided playgrounds can remain open during the stay-at-home periods for regions experiencing low availability of hospital intensive care unit.
State officials made the announcement Wednesday, and Santa Barbara County, which is part of the Southern California region, followed suit.
“We will be modifying our health officer order to allow for playgrounds, so that we’ll be in alignment with the new state guidance,” Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County health director, told Noozhawk.
The about-face came after parents and many state legislators raised objections to closing playgrounds.
Playgrounds are to remain open to facilitate physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise, according to the state
Meanwhile, Santa Barbara County Public Health officials reported 134 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.
There were 751 active cases throughout the county, and the cumulative death toll remained at 139.
Hospitalizations remain high, with 59 COVID-19 patients, 11 of whom require intensive care.
The county’s ICU availability was 49.5% as of Wednesday, will above the 15% threshold for imposing the state-at-home order, according to public health.
However, the Southern California region’s ICU availability was only 9%.
Of the 134 new cases locally, 48 came from Santa Maria. Santa Barbara and Lompoc both reported 19 cases, and Orcutt reported 10.
The Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area, Goleta, and the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota each had six new cases.
The unincorporated areas of North County reported five new cases, and the Santa Ynez Valley reported four.
There were two new cases at the Lompoc Federal Prison, and nine cases were pending geographic location.
The Santa Barbara Police Department also announced Wednesday that it has suspended street sweeping enforcement through the entirety of the stay-at-home order. All other parking and street enforcement will continue, according to police spokesman Anthony Wagner.
— Noozhawk staff writer Jade Martinez-Pogue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.