It’s not all Doom and Gloom

by Sharon Byrne, Executive Director, Montecito Association


There is hopeful shift beginning to emerge

This update is provided to you by the Montecito Association. We share this information daily with our membership, but these are extenuating circumstances in pandemic times. We hope you find this useful, and encourage you to become a member so we can continue to work in our community.

The world has ground to a standstill in ways we’ve never contemplated, or at least, not since the last World War. There’s a tool called Citymapper Mobility Index you can use to look at the level of movement in cities around the world. You can look at this week, last week, 4 weeks ago, etc. If you click on a city, it opens a graph that shows you how much a city is moving compared to normal. This is Los Angeles.

It’s pretty staggering to view.

Watching the press briefings this week, something new has emerged: a kind of collective shift, though it’s spotty right now. It looks like this:

First, we’re noticing some countries, states and localities are flattening curves, thanks to herculean actions and massive shutdown. Some places are seeing declines in their death rates, hospitalizations, and infection rates. Some are starting to see the backside of their COVID curve, though their losses were terrible.

That is causing people to realize there’s a corner coming up that we will need to turn. Eyes are moving to the future, trying to figure out when we can pull back from focusing every resource on this medical and economic crisis. The danger, of course, is to avoid triggering some new spike in infections from relaxing your preparedness strategies too soon.

But there is also some furious thinking going on as to what opening back up looks like. What protocols have to be in place, who goes back to work and when, what new social norms should stay in place for protection, etc.

This shift is emerging in some countries, that are finally crossing to the backside of this pandemic. Watch for it to pick up speed in the weeks ahead.

So here are your updates today:

Santa Barbara County Update:

Tested: 1,621

243 cases

113 recovering at home

79 recovered

40 in hospital

18 in ICU

37 are Healthcare Workers

40 are from the Lompoc Federal Penitentiary

16 in South County unincorporated = Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria


Cottage Health is caring for a total of 172 patients across all campuses.

129 are acute care patients

244 acute care beds remain available.

13 patients are on ventilators

47 ventilators remain available (adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilators)

13 patients are in isolation with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, 8 of these are in critical care.



116 positive

1,276 resulted in negative

122 are pending

San Luis Obispo County:

104 confirmed cases.

25 are recovering at home

75 have fully recovered

3 are hospitalized

1 death.


Ventura County:

274 cases

Tested: 5,247

Female: 129, Male: 145

7 deaths


At the county’s press briefing today:

Sheriff Bill Brown commended the “amazing job” county residents have done so far to comply with the stay-at-home order. Results are already showing a slightly flattened curve. That doesn’t mean we should be any less diligent, especially now. This weekend is Passover and Easter Sunday, a time when many of us traditionally gather with our families and our friends to celebrate our faith, to gather for worship, and to congregate after in groups. Please realize we cannot do that this year. Watch an online service or connect with people by video chat.

Signs are going up at county parks and beaches to remind people to keep physical distancing. Brown said rangers and lifeguards will be keeping an eye on things, to make sure there are no gatherings and people are obeying physical distancing.

Violators could be fined up to $1,000.


Mayor Garcetti in Los Angeles:

7,955 cases in LA County

Smallest increase yet seen yesterday, in 6% case increase.

223 deaths and represent a 13% increase over yesterday.

Rate of death still doubling every 5 days, very troubling.

Los Angeles offered tests to first responders, and now testing is open to all county residents who want one.

Tested 4,000 people today. Aiming to have tested 60,000 by the end of next week. You book these online, and go to a drive-through site or testing site. They have mobile testing teams they send to seniors and vulnerable people who can’t leave home.


Governor Newsom:

Southwest, Alaska, Delta, and United Airlines are stepping up to cover the travel cost of incoming healthcare workers to the state.

Healthcare workers testing positive are allowed to quarantine in hotel rooms donated for them to stay while working:

18,309 tested positive

492 lives lost

50 yesterday

1,132 in ICUs – this is a drop of 1.9% from yesterday.

2,825 hospitalized, 4.1% increase from yesterday.

N95 masks will be able to be reused – new system coming on line to sanitize them by April 20th.

California able to procure hundreds of millions of units of protective gear.


United States:


16,684 deaths

25,960 recovered


White House Press Briefing

Millions of Americans are making sacrifices in their lives to save countless other lives.

Two million tests have been administered in the US.

120,000 per day.

Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, has been moved out of intensive care.

As New York battles its way out of this pandemic, the US is fully behind them.

The American medical system continues to perform beyond our highest expectations.

Mental health is quickly becoming a very important area in our battle and recovery.

19 possible therapies being tested currently, 26 more in active planning for clinical trials.

Trials for Gilead’s antiviral drug continue.

Federal Reserve making $2.3 trillion available in aid. This funding covers businesses, and also states, cities.

Thank you California and Washington states – case counts continue to be low, which is very encouraging.


Dr. Birx:

Age breakouts of those tested, and positive test results rate:

Tested 200,000 people up to age 25. 11% positive rate

Over 500,000 aged 25-45 – 17% positive rate

500,000 tested aged 45-65 – 21% – positive

200,000 aged 65-85 – 22% – positivity rate

30,000 tested over age 85 – 24% positivity rate


It affects men worse:

56% females tested – 16% positive

44% males – 23% positive

Men don’t often access health care system until they have greater symptoms present. Message to the men: get health care sooner, and get tested!


This was thought to be the worst week of cases in the US, but Washington and California experience are positive. Louisiana, Philadelphia Metro area, Baltimore, and other areas where it’s surging – the attack rates are lower than New York and New Jersey.


Dr. Fauci

This was forecast to the be the bad week. It has been. New York has hit record deaths every day this week. But we are also seeing a decrease in the number of hospitalizations needed, and that’s good. The models are being revised downward because of the data that shows physical distancing is working.


Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia

6.6 million unemployment claims filed last week.


The good news:

Until three weeks ago, the US never had a law requiring paid sick leave at US companies.. Now we do. And we have expanded family and medical leave, with small businesses being matched dollar for dollar by the US for these leaves.

Another unprecedented benefit: $600 / wk increase in unemployment benefits. These payments are intended to make workers as whole as we can. These benefits are available to independent contractors and gig employees, which is brand new.


VP Pence:

We are ramping up testing and intend to keep it ramped it throughout this year. The intention is to move away from diagnostic testing (when people presented with symptoms) but surveillance testing to identify people who had it, and are now immune, and to see if people were ever exposed.



1.6 million confirmed cases

95.718 deaths

354,972 recovered


Italy and France are recording lower death rates for the past 2 days, while Spain is still in the peak of its curve.

Ending the night on a positive note, did you see the lovely display from the first responders last night? They went to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and applauded and celebrated the healthcare workers. You can see it here.


And do you remember Dr. Charity Dean, who used to be our Public Health Officer? She’s now the deputy director of the California Department of Public Health. There’s a great story on her in Noozhawk on her efforts to lead in creating testing hubs throughout California.

It’s not all doom and gloom. There are some incredible things happening, here, and all over the world.

Take care of yourself, be well, and stay safe.


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