First COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Santa Barbara County and Potential Exposure in Isla Vista

City News

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department released two important new developments today, March 15, 2020. For the latest information go to Read below for both press releases:

First Positive Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Santa Barbara County

Public Health Department Responds to Potential COVID-19 Exposure in Isla Vista


(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) is confirming the first positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a north county resident. This is the only confirmed case of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County at this time.

The person identified is in their 60s and does not have underlying health conditions. The individual is recovering in isolation at home until cleared by the Public Health Officer. PHD is taking steps to identify persons who may have had close contact with this person, including friends, family members, or health care professionals. PHD will monitor them and take appropriate measures, including testing for infection, if needed.

This person has no history of travel within or outside the United States in the last six weeks, and it appears that this is a case of community transmission. The individual is working with the Public Health Department in their investigation. PHD will notify the public immediately should the investigation indicate any further action or if additional precautions are needed.

“The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has been actively preparing to ensure that we have a structure in place to effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our county,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for Santa Barbara County. “At this time we are mandating social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus. All large nonessential professional, social, and community gatherings should be postponed or cancelled, and smaller gatherings should be modified to allow for at least six feet of space between participants.”

Since human coronaviruses most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, community members are reminded to take measures to prevent the spread of respiratory illness:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough
  • Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.

For more information about COVID-19 and PHD’s response, please visit or call the COVID-19 Call Center at (833) 688-5551 on Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) was alerted by a health care partner that multiple Isla Vista residents recently came into contact with someone in San Diego County that later tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, Dr. Henning Ansorg, Public Health Officer, has issued a mandatory quarantine for five individuals, which are known to be UCSB students. PHD is conducting testing for COVID-19 infection as needed and results will be shared, as they are known.

The PHD’s Disease Control & Prevention team is directing a very thorough investigation of all contacts of quarantined residents. All identified contacts of these individuals have been notified and are self-quarantined in their residences at this time. As a reminder, people under quarantine are healthy individuals that are known to have been exposed to someone with a potential communicable disease, in this case COVID-19. People under quarantine exhibiting symptoms will be tested for COVID-19.

No action needs to be taken by the general public at this time. Since the identified Isla Vista residents are under mandatory quarantine, they will not be allowed to leave their place of quarantine until the Health Officer order is lifted. PHD has been working swiftly to address the situation and continue to protect the health of local community members. Updates on this evolving situation will be shared as PHD knows them.

Community members are reminded to continue practicing social distancing measures including postponing and cancelling events with 250 people or more, maintaining 6 feet of distance between people and limiting gatherings involving those with higher risk for severe illness.

For parents and students needing information specific to the UCSB campus, please contact their call center at 805-893-3000.

For more information about COVID-19 and PHD’s response, please visit or call the COVID-19 Call Center at (833) 688-5551 on Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.