Public Health Press Releases

Press Releases 2017

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reports significant increase in influenza activity over the past 2 weeks, including 5 outbreaks in residential healthcare facilities across the county. In addition, it appears the predominant strain this year is H3N2 which tends to cause more severe illness, more hospitalizations, and more deaths. [ Press Release ]

Unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children under 1 year of age. Nearly three-quarters of suffocation deaths among infants are from accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed. In Santa Barbara County between January 2015 and December 2016, according to the Child Death Review Team Report, parental bed sharing or overlay were factors in accidental or undetermined deaths of 5 children under 1 year of age. [ Press Release ]

Today, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District cancelled the Air Quality Watch that was in effect due to impacts from the Thomas Fire. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

When fire burned buildings or structures on your property, they may have burned hazardous or toxic materials. Our Environmental Health Hazardous Waste Specialists will work with you to identify these materials. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

All animals that were temporarily sheltered and cared for in Santa Barbara County while their owners were under Thomas Fire evacuation orders and warnings, eagerly await return to their loving homes and owners. With the lifting of all evacuation orders, it is important that animals be picked up by Friday, December 22nd. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

In order to protect the public's health and facilitate safe cleanup of hazardous materials after the Thomas Fire, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department issued a declaration of a local health emergency and Health Officer order for removal, transport, and disposal of hazardous material and debris. This declaration, signed by the Public Health Department's Director Van Do-Reynoso and Health Officer Charity Dean was ratified by the Board of Supervisors on Thursday, December 21, 2017. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

Santa Barbara County residents should keep their N-95 masks on hand as air quality may continue to be affected by the Thomas Fire smoke or ash. Ash may continue to be blown into the air during periods of high winds during the next weeks or months. Residents should also protect themselves by using an N-95 mask while cleaning up ash. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District remind the community that leaf blowers should not be used while there are large amounts of ash in our environment, as this could result in a violation of Air Pollution Control District regulations and endanger health. All county residents are encouraged to be good neighbors and not use leaf blowers. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

Over 350,000 N-95 masks have been distributed to communities in Santa Barbara County affected by unhealthy levels of smoke from the Thomas Fire. The N-95 masks will continue to be distributed to areas of the County experiencing air that is unhealthy or unhealthy for sensitive groups as measured by the Air Pollution Control District. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

The Thomas Fire has caused power outages lasting from minutes to days. Residents who need to evacuate should be aware that they may have the additional challenge of evacuating in the dark. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

Ash may become locally airborne on Saturday in areas of stronger winds. Be prepared and keep your N95 particulate masks handy. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

See Press Release for list of locations and REVISED times highlighted in yellow [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

Pet owners should limit their pet's exposure to the smoke and heed air quality warnings. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

To clean ash, wear a mask and remember the three C's, Control, Contain and Capture. [ Click here ] [ Español ]

See Press Release for list of locations [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

Please be aware that the County Public Health Department and the Air Pollution Control District are strongly recommending NO USE OF LEAF BLOWERS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. (Spanish version on page 2). [ Press Release ]

See Press Release for list of locations [ Press Release ]

If your home was impacted by the Thomas fire, here are some health precautions to take after you return home and before you begin the clean-up process. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

Continue to take precautions [ Press Release ] [ Español ]


Due to continued unhealthy air conditions resulting from the Thomas Fire, free N-95 masks continue to be will be distributed as part of a coordinated effort of the Santa Barbara Medical Reserve Corps, City of Carpinteria CERT, City of Lompoc CERT, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, CAL OES, and Direct Relief. [ Press Release ]

The air quality index continues to show unhealthy air quality in Santa Barbara County. Smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire may continue to affect local air quality for days. Levels of smoke and particles, and areas of the county affected, will vary and conditions could change quickly. [ Press Release ]

The N95 masks being distributed in Santa Barbara County are designed for adults. However, these masks may fit a child if their face is comparable in size to that of a petite adult. [ Press Release ]

Just as there is a Unified Command for firefighting on the front lines of the Thomas Fire, there are partnerships behind the scenes that make all of the information regarding air quality, distribution of masks for residents, announced evacuations, sheltering for people and animals, etc. flowing smoothly. [ Press Release ]


With the Thomas Fire continuing to burn it is anticipated the county will have continued concerns about air quality. [ Press Release ]

Sites for distribution of N 95 masks on Thursday, December 7 [ Press Release ]
[ Instructions for use of N 95 mask- English & Español ]

The air quality index shows unhealthy air quality in Santa Barbara County and air quality continues to worsen. Santa Barbara air monitoring station has recorded "hazardous" levels, the Goleta station has recorded "very unhealthy" levels and the Lompoc station has recorded "unhealthy" levels. [ Press Release ] [ Spanish ]

Air quality warning continues until conditions improve. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an Air Quality Warning for Santa Barbara County. Smoke and ash from the Thomas Fire burning in Ventura County is affecting local air quality, and conditions may continue over the next several days. [ Press Release ] [ Spanish ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) is continuing its campaign to increase enrollment in affordable health insurance with a public forum designed to educate people on how to enroll into health care coverage. Certified Application Counselors (CACs) will be available at the Franklin Health Care Center at Montecito Street in Santa Barbara on Monday, December 4, 2017 from 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM to assist with Medi-Cal, Covered California health plans, and renewal information. For more details on the event please contact the Santa Barbara County Benefits and Referral Center at 805-681-5393. [ Press Release ]

At approximately 9:30 a.m. the California Office of Emergency Services received a report of a strong odor and smoke seen emitting from the hillside just above the sand near Arroyo Burro Beach Park. [ Press Release ]

On Small Business Saturday November 25, Santa Barbara County Animal Services is holding the first annual Support Your Shelter Saturday. All three shelters will be open from 10AM until 4PM for discounted adoptions. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors revised the Vicious Dog article of the County ordinance, providing more options for hearing officers to set restrictions on owners or deem a dog vicious. The ordinance became effective November 3, 2017. [ Press Release ]

The HEAL Summit, scheduled for Thursday, November 2nd at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriot, will feature presenters working on access to healthy foods, workplace wellness and community planning initiatives throughout the state. Recognizing the important role that city and county governments play in creating communities where people can be healthy, many central coast cities and one county have passed Healthy Eating Active Living resolutions, also known as HEAL Resolutions. [ Press Release ]

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat the viscera (internal organs) of lobsters caught near Santa Cruz Island in Santa Barbara County, and Anacapa Island in Ventura County, due to the detection of dangerous levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin. [ Press Release ]

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is asking the community to be on high alert after identifying multiple cases of distemper in wildlife, especially raccoons, throughout southern Santa Barbara County, including the City of Santa Barbara. [ Press Release ]

The community is invited to National Food Day, a celebration of a healthier diet and a better food system, on October 24, 2017, 11 am - 1 pm. The event is located at the Back Door Deli, 315 Camino del Remedio, Santa Barbara. [ Press Release ]

Free flu shots will be offered by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Medical Reserve Corps for ages 3 and older. No appointment necessary. 500 vaccinations available. Everyone is welcome! [ Flyer- English/Español ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an Air Quality Watch for Santa Barbara County through the weekend. Smoke and ash from wildfires burning throughout the state are affecting local air quality, and may continue over the next several days. Even when wildfires occur outside of our county, air quality can be affected by wildfires miles away. [ Press Release ]

Join us to engage in the conversation at the 2017 Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Summit to hear from HEAL campaign leaders, policy specialists, and program managers about their collaborations for collective impact, as well as how each see their work as part of the larger HEAL movement! [ Flyer ]

Four chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) near the city of Solvang. These chickens are part of a "sentinel" chicken flock monitored by the Mosquito and Vector Management District (MVMD) and are located at the Wastewater Treatment Plant near Solvang. Detection in chickens means there is a risk of potential spread to humans via mosquitoes. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an Air Quality Watch to be in effect until conditions improve. Vegetation fires burning near Lompoc are producing smoke that may affect portions of Santa Barbara County. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an Air Quality Watch to be in effect until conditions improve. Vegetation fires burning near Lompoc are producing smoke that may affect portions of Santa Barbara County. [ Press Release ]

Influenza Vaccine Recommendations, 2017?2018; Free Influenza Vaccine Clinic; October is SIDS Awareness Month; Epidemiology Program Updates [ Newsletter ]

Santa Barbara County, the state of California and the entire country are experiencing increases in sexually transmitted diseases (STD) including gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. Since many individuals do not display symptoms and may not know they are infected, we recommend that all adults discuss this with their healthcare providers and obtain routine annual screening for STD's to protect their health. [ Press Release ]

Although Southern California has seen an outbreak in Hepatitis A cases in 2017, Santa Barbara County has not experienced an increase number of Hepatitis A cases and there are no cases linked to this outbreak locally. The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is taking steps to protect those at high risk and prevent the spread of the disease. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is pleased to announce free flu vaccinations for adults who are Santa Barbara County residents on Friday, September 29, 2017 from 9am- 12pm. [ Press Release ]

The purpose of this lecture is for frontline service providers to review significant changes and challenges in immunizations for 2017 [ Flyer ]

A number of dead birds found in the area of North P Street in Lompoc are being tested for avian paramyxovirus. This virus can spread rapidly in pigeons and doves and can kill up to 100 percent of pigeons in an area. It is known to cause periodic outbreaks in specific bird populations, causing multiple sick and dead birds at communal feeding/ watering locations or roost sites. This virus is not associated with causing disease in humans and it does not generally spread to other bird species. [ Press Release ]

Stay Healthy This Flu Season - Get A Flu Shot [ Press Release ] [ Spanish ]

In support of the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Resolution adopted by the SBC Board of Supervisors in 2016, we encourage you to help create healthier environments by making health a primary consideration in land use, development, and design plans. [ Flyer ]

"Beat the Heat," $30 Spay/Neuter Package Deal for Santa Barbara County's Responsible Cat Owners [ Press Release ]

The Public Health Department reminds residents to prevent deaths with kids left in hot cars. In 2015, a child died in Santa Barbara County due to heatstroke when the child was left/got locked in a hot car. Nationally, from 1998-2017, 729 children died due to heatstroke in a hot vehicle with 29 of those occurring in 2017 to date. [ Press Release ]

With students preparing to head back to school, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department urges parents and guardians to check the vaccine record of their children. [ Press Release ]

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is investigating over a dozen rabbits left outside a rural property on Figueroa Mountain Road. Non Profit group, Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (B.U.N.S.) is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the prosecution of the person responsible. [ Press Release ]

The Public Health Department Health Care Centers which provide local solutions for affordable and accessible health care are highlighted throughout National Health Center Week, August 13 - 19, 2017. The Centers will hold events during the week that are open to the community across the county, including health fairs, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and much more. [ Press Release ]

The Real Housecats of Santa Barbara County are waiting at a shelter near you. Get your very own Housecat, for FREE, during the annual free cat adoption event August 12th and 13th. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District encourage residents to prepare to keep indoor air as clean as possible. The smoky and ashy conditions during wildfires, and the windy conditions after wildfires, pose health risks, especially for children, older adults, and people with heart or lung diseases. [ Press Release ] [ Spanish ]

Santa Barbara County is hosting a series of open houses to celebrate enhancements in operations, engage the public in contributing to our important work with animals, and announce the formation of a new Animal Services Advisory Committee. [ Press Release ] [ Flyer ]

Congratulations to the Franklin and Carpinteria Health Centers for successfully obtaining re-recognition as NCQA Level III Patient Centered Medical Homes for another 3 year period!

Today, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District cancelled the Air Quality Warning that was in effect for the county for the Alamo and Whittier wildfires. [ Press Release ]

"Dog Days of August," $80 Spay/Neuter Package Deal For Santa Barbara County's Responsible Pet Owners [ Press Release ]

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is pleased to announce it has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to improve the care of shelter animals and help support the human animal bond in our communities. [ Press Release ]

During wildfires, it is not unusual to have power outages. These power outages could impact healthcare providers and individuals who use electrically powered medical equipment. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District re-issued the Air Quality Warning for the county for the weekend. Containment grows for the Alamo and Whittier fires, but forecast windy conditions could create smoke and ash impacts for various parts of the county, especially in regard to potential impacts from the Whittier Fire. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District re-issued the Air Quality Warning due to continued smoke and ash impacts from the Alamo and Whittier fires. The Air Quality Warning will remain in effect until conditions improve. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

As of 7am on July 9, 2017, an estimated 7,800 acres have burned in the Whittier Fire with 5% containment. A number of structures have been lost on both sides of Highway 154. Assessment teams will be observing and reviewing the structure losses today. [ Press Release ] [ Evacuation Area Map ]

As of 7 a.m. on July 9, 2017, an estimated 24,000 acres have burned in the Alamo Fire with 10% containment. There are over 600 firefighters battling this fire. No residences or structures have been reported as being lost. [ Press Release ] [ Operations Map of Alamo Fire ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District expanded the weekend's Air Quality Watch to an Air Quality Warning. All areas of the county have potential to be affected by smoke and ash from the Alamo Fire in Northern Santa Barbara County and the Whittier Fire in the Santa Ynez Valley. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

Santa Barbara County Animal Services offers tips and tools to keep pets safe this 4th of July. [ Press Release ]

In observance of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, 2017 the Santa Barbara County Public Health is reaching out to providers and community members to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and early diagnosis of HIV. [ Press Release ]

Since early 2017, the Public Health Services Division in the County of San Diego has been investigating a Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) outbreak that is disproportionately affecting homeless and illicit drug users in San Diego County. [ Provider Alert ]

In preparation for hot weather and wildfire season, it is important to be aware of health impacts from exposure to smog and wildfire smoke. Both smog and wildfire smoke can cause negative health effects, especially in children, older adults, and those with heart and/or lung conditions. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

Keeping cool when temperatures reach record highs isn't just about comfort. Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illness ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The following tips can help you keep cool all summer. [ Press Release ]

Zika and Travel; Combat Infant Pertussis: Vaccinate During Each Pregnancy; Epidemiology Program Updates. [ Newsletter ]

License, Vaccinate and Microchip Your Dog at Project PetSafe Licensing Clinic at Jack O'Connell Park in Guadalupe on June 10, 2017 [ Press Release ] [ Spanish ]

Northern Santa Barbara County schools in the Orcutt School District (specifically Alice Shaw, Joe Nightingale, Patterson Road, Pine Grove, and Ralph Dunlap Schools) and the Manzanita Charter School on Vandenberg Air Force Base are reporting numerous cases of gastro-intestinal symptoms consistent with a possible outbreak of Norovirus. [ Press Release ]

The Child Death Review Team (CDRT) is a county-wide interagency taskforce with the purpose of preventing childhood fatalities through comprehensive and multidisciplinary assessment of child deaths. [ 2015-16 CDRT Summary Report ] [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has re-opened previously closed areas of Goleta Beach following ocean water test results indicating that water quality meets or exceeds state health standards. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department issued a "BEACH CLOSED" notice today for Goleta Beach in response to a spill of untreated sewage. [ Press Release ]

On April 29th, all adult dog, cat, and rabbit adoptions will be waived in an effort to Clear Our Shelters! Valid at all three Santa Barbara County Animal Services Adoption Centers. [ Press Release ] [ Poster ]

Riley, a 7 month old puppy that was stolen from the Santa Maria Animal Center has been returned. Riley was stolen from the Santa Maria Animal Center on April 13, 2017 and returned on April 19, 2017. [ Press Release ]

As summer approaches and mosquito season begins, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) would like to provide an update on Zika virus disease and steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from this and other infections spread by mosquitoes. [ Press Release ]

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is partnering with C.A.R.E. 4 Paws to bring a Licensing Clinic and FREE Spay-Neuter clinic to the residents of the Cuyama Valley. The Licensing Clinic will be held on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017, 10:00 a.m. to noon at the New Cuyama Valley Family Resource Center. FREE spay/neuter appointments are available to Santa Barbara County Pet owners only. Space is limited, call today! [ Press Release ]

A free community listening session is scheduled for Friday, April 21, 2017 from 9 - 11am. The focus of this meeting is on strategies to fund health initiatives. The session will include a presentation on a proposed health impact fee with sugar sweetened beverages. The community is invited to share ideas for financing projects and programs that support health improvements and hunger alleviation in our community. The listening session is a partnership with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Foodbank of Santa County and the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Emergency Medical Services Agency (EMS), a division of the County Department of Public Health, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office are pleased to announce a program to administer Naloxone for suspected opioid overdoses. Sheriff's Office patrol personnel are trained to know when to give Naloxone to block the effects of opioids. The goal of this initiative is to save lives associated with opiate overdoses. [ Press Release ]

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month; Water Safety; Early Childhood Nutrition Educational Materials; Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) [ Newsletter ]

World TB Day is a time to recognize achievements in tuberculosis (TB) prevention and control, and renew our commitment to ending this devastating disease in our community. Each year Santa Barbara County acknowledges March 24th, World TB Day as a means to raise awareness about TB disease and how it can be prevented. On March 21, 2017, Supervisor Steve Lavagnino will present a proclamation in honor of this important date at the Board of Supervisors meeting. [ Press Release ]

Throughout California, results were released from a scientific survey on tobacco, alcohol, and nutrition in California stores. This survey was the largest of its kind. In Santa Barbara County, there were concerning findings including an alarming spike in the availability of electronic cigarettes. [ Press Release ] [ Spanish ]

License, Vaccinate and Microchip Your Dog at Project PetSafe Licensing Clinic at Goleta Valley Community Center on Saturday, February 25, 2017. [ Press Release ]

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders; Cardiac Arrest Management Plan; Influenza Season Update; Epidemiology Program Updates. [ Newsletter ]

The state of California's cancer detection program, Every Woman Counts (EWC), has served low income uninsured women since 1996. Assembly Bill (AB) 1795, which took effect on January 1, 2017, changed EWC's eligibility policy to include breast cancer diagnostic services for symptomatic women under the age of 40. [ Press Release ]

In anticipation of the approaching rainfall event, the Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services Division reminds residents about health issues associated with storm water runoff. [ Press Release ] [ Beach Status Report ]

"Cat Nips N Chips" offers Santa Barbara County Cat Owners $25 spay or neuter and a FREE microchip throughout the month of February. [ Press Release ]

A steep increase in influenza activity has been recorded in California over the past 3 weeks. Although January and February are typically the peak of influenza season, the rapid increase is unusual. An alarming increase in influenza outbreak in healthcare facilities, particularly skilled nursing facilities, has been reported. [ Press Release ]

On December 29, 2016 a case of measles was confirmed in Santa Barbara. The only exposures the patient had in Santa Barbara took place the evening of Tuesday, December 27, 2016 as stated in a prior press release. Because of the highly contagious nature of this air-borne virus, and the fact that the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine must be given within 72 hours of exposure to prevent disease in vulnerable contacts, public health staff worked quickly. [ Press Release ]

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is investigating exposures to a confirmed measles patient. The one confirmed case in Santa Barbara County is linked to the measles outbreak in Los Angeles that currently involves 11 patients. Of the 12 measles cases now involved in the Los Angeles outbreak, only one has provided documentation of vaccination. [ Press Release ] [ Español ]

In order to make the process of transporting patients for medical care efficient and safe, please provide this education to all facility staff who are responsible for patient care and initiating the transport process. [ Provider Alert ]

The public's health matters. Learn more about the plan and priorities to improve the health of Santa Barbara County residents. [ Improvement Plan ]