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From Ventura to San Luis Obispo, from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria, KCLU's in-depth, thoughtful coverage of all the news that matter to you.

Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo Counties: Don't Lump Us In With LA For COVID-19 Restrictions

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Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo County officials are crying foul over the way the state is administering its new stay-at-home order. 

They say it's unfair the counties are lumped in with big counties, like Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

The state put the tri-counties into a 10 county Southern California region, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties.

Just a day after the state announced that regions falling below a 15% intensive care unit capacity would face new stay-at-home orders, Southern California found itself out of compliance.  It led to the new stay-at-home order.

Gregg Hart, who's Chairman of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, says the region can do much better than its bigger neighbors to the south.

The officials believe the region can meet the hospital intensive care unit capacity levels needed to lift restrictions.  They say if they can do it at the end of the three week closure, they hope the Governor will allow the three counties to form a smaller Central Coast region.  The counties have formed an alliance to lobby for the effort.

Kelly Long is the chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.  She says by getting into its own, smaller tier, the counties would have a better chance of reopening restaurants for outdoor service, as well as getting people back into shuttered places like barbershops and nail salons.

The current Southern California region, which includes Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties include more than a third of the state’s population, or an estimated 23 million people.

Splitting off the three counties for a Central Coast region would create  a new 1.5 million person region. 

There’s no question the Tri-Counties are a part of the state’s surge problem, but also a relatively small fry, so to speak.  1.36 million people have tested positive in California since the start of the pandemic, while 42,000 of those cases are on the Central and South Coasts.  That’s about three percent of the statewide number.

Hart says the hope is that the governor will consider implementing the plan after the initial three-week shutdown period ends.

How likely is the Governor to sign off on the idea?  Some officials admit we simply don’t know.  But, Ventura County Supervisor Kelly Long says they have to try.

The three week window just opened, so it’s too soon to make a judgement on how well the Southern California region, or our three local counties are faring in the effort to get off the just implemented new restrictions.