The Channels file photo, 2018 (Nate Stephenson)
The Channels file photo, 2018

Nate Stephenson

First confirmed COVID-19 case in county, City College closes campus

March 15, 2020

City College will shut down for the rest of the month in light of the first confirmed case of the coronavirus disease in the county.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 in a north county resident.

Superintendent-President Dr. Utpal Goswami announced that all lectures will be online for the remainder of the semester, and all “in-person, on-campus operations are suspended” starting Monday, March 16 through the end of spring break. Administration will evaluate potentially reopening the campus before the end of the semester depending on containment of the virus.

Employees will work remotely for the time being and school will remain operational, offering long-term Chromebook rentals for students in need, though details have yet to be sent out.

“This transition will not be without difficulties and will likely also have unintended consequences.  I urge your patience and understanding as we work through uncharted waters,” said Goswami in an email sent to all students Sunday.

Executive Vice President Pamela Ralston sent an update stating that the campus closure will be effective until May 9, the end of the Spring semester.

The person who tested positive for the virus is in their 60s and does not have any underlying health conditions.  They are recovering in isolation, and the Public Health Department is working to identify anyone who may have had close contact with them—including friends, family members, or health care professionals.

This is a case of “community transmission,” as the person has not traveled within or outside the United States in the last six weeks, and the individual is working with the Public Health Department in their ongoing investigation.

The Public Health Department will notify the public immediately should there be further action or additional precautions needed.

“At this time we are mandating social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for Santa Barbara County. “All large nonessential professional, social, and community gatherings should be postponed or canceled, and smaller gatherings should be modified to allow for at least six feet of space between participants.”

City College has moved all classes online with the campus remaining open and resources still available for students, though the administration is expected to announce a full campus closure in light of the confirmed case.

The Public Health Department also announced that five UCSB students have been placed in mandatory quarantine after recently coming into contact with someone in San Diego who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Governor Gavin Newsom has asked all bars, wine bars, breweries and pubs to close, and called for restaurants to reduce their occupancy by half.

Check back with The Channels for additional coronavirus coverage.

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