UPDATED: Santa Barbara County beaches initially ordered open for Fourth of July weekend, before being closed Thursday
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UPDATED: Santa Barbara County beaches initially ordered open for Fourth of July weekend, before being closed Thursday

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Beach romp

Kids cavort on Surf Beach in this photo from late 2019. After the COVID-19 pandemic struck, beaches were closed and only recently reopened again. Despite rising coronavirus cases, Santa Barbara County officials said they will keep beaches open through the Fourth of July holiday.

All Santa Barbara County beaches will be closed over the Fourth of July weekend to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Santa Barbara County Health Department announced Thursday in a reversal of a decision earlier this week.

Per the new county health order, the mandate goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday and lasts through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Although county officials declared Tuesday that beach closures would not be mandated, their position changed after seeing other counties decide to close their beaches, according to Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg.


Santa Barbara County beaches will remain open during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, with extra enforcement measures in place to prevent large gatherings and encourage social distancing, county officials announced Tuesday.

County Public Health Department spokeswoman Jackie Ruiz said officials considered a variety of options for limiting the spread of COVID-19 at county beaches over the weekend but ultimately decided not to join such other counties as Ventura and Los Angeles in closing beaches.

"There will be increased enforcement taking place in coordination with law enforcement agencies and Parks & Recreation Departments," Ruiz said. "We know the strategy of enforcement and education has worked well in the past. We are discouraging large groups and strongly encouraging strict physical distancing."

In anticipation of the upcoming weekend, officials from Marian Regional Medical Center urged residents making plans to celebrate to remember the virus is still active.

Scott Robertson, Dignity Health Central Coast chief medical officer, encouraged residents to continue wearing face coverings, practice social distancing and frequent hand washing, and stay home while sick.

“While they are simple steps that community members can take, they are life-saving and are proved to minimize exposure to the virus," Robertson said. "During holiday weekends, such as Independence Day, we are asking people to follow these precautionary measures."

COVID-19 cases

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced that the case numbers for Tuesday would not be shared until Wednesday while the county's COVID-19 data system undergoes updates.

According to data from the state, a total of 2,933 cases have been confirmed in the county as of Tuesday. That indicates a daily increase of 37 cases from the county's Monday total.

However, the state's case numbers may not match what the county reports tomorrow, as state and county data and metrics frequently differ due to different reporting cutoff times each day and lags in case and hospitalization data.

According to state data for Santa Barbara County on Tuesday, a total of 62 individuals confirmed to have the virus are hospitalized in addition to eight who are suspected of being infected by the virus.

Of the hospitalized individuals confirmed to have COVID-19, 21 are in intensive care units. Of the eight hospitalized individuals suspected of having the virus at this point, two are in an ICU, according to state data.

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