Santa Barbara County's dropping case rates are on track to meet requirements for the state's least-restrictive reopening tier this week, although the tier system itself is set to become moot shortly after.

If Santa Barbara County's weekly case rate meets the yellow tier threshold of 2 cases per 100,000 people as of Tuesday, as hinted by health officials, the county only will need to maintain such rates until June 1 to officially enter the yellow tier, allowing increased operations for restaurants, bars and other businesses.

However, on June 15, the state plans to launch a "full reopening" of the state, with decreased mask requirements for vaccinated residents and the retirement of tier restrictions on counties.

While Santa Barbara County is bound to see sweeping reopenings regardless of their case rate on June 15, local health officials still are urging residents to make efforts to keep case rates low. 

"It will be reassuring to see we are on the right path, by reaching the yellow tier," county Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said Friday.

As of Monday, 13 out of the state's 58 counties are in the yellow tier, and 35 counties are in the second-least restrictive orange tier, including Santa Barbara County. Ten counties remain in the second-most restrictive red tier, according to state data.

The county's new COVID-19 metric status will be released at noon Tuesday through the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy at

Daily COVID-19 cases

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 12 new COVID-19 cases over the May 22 to 23 weekend followed by three additional cases on Monday.

In total, 34,446 cases have been confirmed in the county and 45 cases remain active, according to county public health data.

Of the 12 weekend cases, eight were reported Saturday followed by four on Sunday, according to county data.

Twelve county residents are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, including three individuals in the intensive care unit, according to county data.

In Santa Maria, 13 out of 11,578 total cases remain active and 156 individuals have died.

In Orcutt, six out of 1,845 total cases remain active and 29 individuals have died.

In Lompoc, seven out of 3,830 total cases remain active and 54 individuals have died.

In the Santa Ynez Valley area of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, one out of 1,044 total cases remains active and 18 individuals have died.

In the North County area of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe, two out of 1,298 total cases remain active and 22 individuals have died.

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department reported six new COVID-19 cases over the weekend and seven additional cases on Monday.

According to county public health data, 68 out of 21,263 total cases now remain active.


Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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