By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., Health Officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
It has been one year since the worldwide coronavirus pandemic led to stay at home orders and temporary closures of businesses and schools. Now, with careful adherence to health orders and the roll-out of vaccines, we are starting to see re-openings occur. Right now, it is vital that we continue our forward momentum by following health and safety orders, including wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, physical distancing and good hygiene.
With the onset of spring and spring break, many will want to gather and travel. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is urging continued vigilance to important health and safety guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and that includes postponing travel plans.
Staying local is the best choice for continuing the practice of COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and working to keep the virus from spreading. Fortunately, Santa Barbara County is loaded with wonderful venues including beaches, hiking trails and parks, in which to enjoy a safe spring break experience.
Gathering in large groups is not permitted at this time. If people must gather, gatherings must be kept small and include three households or less. They should be kept short in duration, and masks must be worn.
Just as quickly as we began to see a decline in COVID-19 cases, we can easily revert backward and start to see an uptick. It is imperative that we remain vigilant if we want to continue moving forward. This can only happen if we all continue to do our part.
Current safety guidelines for traveling out of state require a 10-day quarantine upon return. Virus testing is strongly recommended upon return as well. Locations for no-cost testing throughout Santa Barbara County can be found here.
We have all worked hard to get our kids back to in person learning and begin re-opening businesses. Continuing our downward trend in virus cases is doable if we all continue to be vigilant. With new, more dangerous variants now detected in our community, an uptick in cases can happen quickly if we do not continue to practice safety precautions. Please be safe!
For more information about the COVID-19 guidance and the local response, please visit https://publichealthsbc.org.