By Raiza Giorgi
The first confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Santa Barbara County was announced Sunday afternoon by the Public Health Department.
The patient is a 60-year-old North County resident and does not have any underlying health conditions, the department said in a press release.
The individual is recovering in isolation at home until cleared by the Public Health Officer. PHD is taking steps to identify persons who may have had close contact with this person, including friends, family members, or health care professionals. PHD will monitor them and take appropriate measures, including testing for infection, if needed.
This person has no history of travel within or outside the United States in the last six weeks, and it appears that this is a case of community transmission. The individual is working with the Public Health Department in their investigation. PHD will notify the public immediately should the investigation indicate any further action or if additional precautions are needed.
There are also five UCSB students under mandatory quarantine after they recently came into contact with someone in San Diego County that later tested positive for COVID-19. Public Health is conducting testing for COVID-19 infection as needed and results will be shared, as they are known.
No action needs to be taken by the general public at this time. Since the identified Isla Vista residents are under mandatory quarantine, they will not be allowed to leave their place of quarantine until the Health Officer order is lifted. PHD has been working swiftly to address the situation and continue to protect the health of local community members. Updates on this evolving situation will be shared as PHD knows them.
“The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has been actively preparing to ensure that we have a structure in place to effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our county,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for Santa Barbara County. “At this time we are mandating social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus. All large nonessential professional, social, and community gatherings should be postponed or cancelled, and smaller gatherings should be modified to allow for at least six feet of space between participants.”
Since human coronaviruses most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, community members are reminded to take measures to prevent the spread of respiratory illness:
– Wash your hands with soap and water
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick
– Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory
symptoms like fever and cough
– Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for
children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
For more information about COVID-19 and PHD’s response, please visit www.publichealthsbc.org or call the COVID-19 Call Center at (833) 688-5551 on Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.