Public Health Advises Community to Stay Local and Avoid Gatherings
(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) –The fall and winter holidays are fast approaching and California is experiencing a sharp increase in cases statewide. Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary for the California Health and Human Services Agency reported today an increase in cases statewide of greater than 47% in the matter of one week from November 1, 2020 – November 7, 2020. Santa Barbara County has also seen significant increases in overall case rates. Thanksgiving is typically a time when many families travel to celebrate together. This year will have to be different.
The State of California has issued a travel advisory and guidance which indicates a recommendation that those traveling outside California practice self-quarantine upon their return. Travel and mixing households increase the chance of contracting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department does not recommend travel during the pandemic.
“Mixing households for holiday gatherings can be a very dangerous activity this year during the significant surge in COVID-19 cases we are currently experiencing nationwide. Please avoid gathering with people that do not live in your household and be diligent about wearing face coverings when you leave your home. These actions will save lives,” said Henning Ansorg M.D., Santa Barbara County Health Officer.
The current Santa Barbara County Health Officer Order does not allow for gatherings of any size, very limited exceptions apply. Visit our local holiday guidance webpage for information about lower-risk holiday activities. As you plan for your holiday, please take the following tips into consideration:
For more information about staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.publichealthsbc.org or call 2-1-1.
County Public Health: www.PublicHealthSBC.org, Twitter and Facebook
County of Santa Barbara: www.CountyofSB.org, Twitter, Facebook
2-1-1 Call Center: Dial 211 or outside the area, call (800) 400-1572
Community Wellness Team Information and Referral Line: (805) 364-2750
Van Do-Reynoso, MPH, PhD, Director, Public Health Department, Santa Barbara County
If you’re thinking about which holiday plans are best for you and your family regarding gatherings, you are not alone. As we begin planning for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, many are weighing their options and risks at this time during the worldwide pandemic.
Experts warn coronavirus cases will spike if people travel out of town and celebrate indoors, causing many to stop and think about their level of risk and tolerance for chance of infection.
Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. This year will have to be different. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. State guidance on travel can be found here and CDC guidance on travel can be found here. If people must travel, it is important to know the risks involved.
Please understand that we do not recommend to travel during the pandemic.
If you are unsure of what is best for you, we ask you to honestly assess your level of risk and for the chance of infection while knowing there are many unknowns surrounding the virus. Factors like the infection rates in our community and the one you’d like to travel to; how many people will be present; and whether the celebration will be held indoors or outside should be considered.
The current Santa Barbara County Health Officer order does not allow for private gatherings. This means gatherings outside of your immediate household are not allowed at this time. This order remains in place as there remains substantial spread of the disease in Santa Barbara County and we are continuing to see increasing cases throughout the state and nationwide.
While gathering with those outside of your home is prohibited in Santa Barbara County, there is recognition that some may have plans for travel to visit family elsewhere.
Planning and communication for families and friends when planning to travel this holiday season is critical.
We discourage any travel at this time because it is known to significantly increase infections and leads to spreading the virus across regions, States and Countries.
Here are some tips for planning for your holiday: