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What's Behind Coronavirus Surge On South Coast? Ventura County Health Officer Talks About Factors


The number of new coronavirus cases on the Central and South Coasts continues to surge. One of the biggest one-day bumps in the region came Tuesday in Ventura County, with 186 additional cases reported.

What’s behind the surge? Was Memorial Day a factor? How about the protest marches? And what role is reopening playing?  Health officials aren’t sure, but they know some things are definitely factors.

Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin says the problem is people are getting together with others outside of their immediate households.  The reopening of restaurants gave some people the idea that the crisis was over. He says it’s far from done, as the recent surge shows.

Because of the concern about gatherings, Ventura County is closing its beaches over the 4th of July weekend.  They’ll be closed from 5 a.m. July 3 through 5 a.m. July 6. Parking areas and restrooms will also be shut down.

Santa Barbara County officials say they will keep their beaches open, with social distancing. 

Dr. Levin says unlike many other areas, they’ve been able to limit the number of large scale outbreaks.  The biggest one in the county is at a farmworker housing facility in Oxnard, with more than 170 positive cases.

Those who have tested positive are mostly in their 20s and 30s, with no or mild symptoms.  They are being housed onsite, with those testing negative being moved to motels.

Dr. Levin says many people are now taking the threat more seriously.  He admits that it’s hard to get many teens and young adults to take it seriously, because it’s mostly older people getting seriously ill or dying.

As of Wednesday morning, there are now 6433 confirmed coronavirus cases on the Central and South Coasts. 

Ventura County has 2926 cases, Santa Barbara County 2896, and San Luis Obispo County 611.  Santa Barbara County’s number includes about a thousand cases linked to the federal prison complex in Lompoc.  The vast majority of people getting the virus have already recovered.

Ventura County is reporting an additional death, bringing the region’s total to 76. The county has had 46 deaths, Santa Barbara County 29, and San Luis Obispo County one.

Dr. Levin says people really need to think carefully about what they can do to keep themselves and other safe.  He notes most people don’t realize that the state’s stay at home order was never lifted by the governor. It’s still in effect. 

Will the spike level out?  Dr. Levin says it’s really up to each one of us to do our part, by staying at home, social distancing, and wearing masks.

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