Saturday, September 19, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 29

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on September 16th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 29 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 29

The roof is on fire


If you think your life is bad during 2020, you can take solace in the fact that Lompoc had actual dumpster fires over the second weekend in September—well, you can take solace if you don’t actually live in Lompoc.  


Ismael Zaragoza Chavez is suspected of starting multiple dumpster fires, as well as a vehicle fire and a backyard shed fire on Sept. 14. As if 2020 wasn’t already a dumpster fire, as if we didn’t have enough fires in the state, some guy gets angsty and allegedly decides Lompoc safety services needs even more to do in the middle of a smoke-and-pandemic-filled world. 

Luckily, they got the fires out. 

Now all we need is for California to do the same. So all that wind and heat can just go ahead and scram! Bring on La Niña!

And perhaps, if we increase our COVID-19 testing levels, Santa Barbara County can go ahead and move on down the colored tiers of chaos that the California Public Health Department “unveiled” in August as part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer (And More Confused) Economy

The county is in the “purple tier,” aka “keep it all closed.” That means we have more than seven cases per 100,000 people, and more than 8 percent of the COVID-19 tests in the county have a positive result—among other things, of course. 

Hospitalization rates? State public health peeps decided that don’t matter no more! Even though experts, such as Cottage Health’s Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons, say that the number of patients hospitalized due to the virus is one of the most accurate metrics of a community’s COVID-19 condition. And those rates are literally the reason we shut the whole economy down in March! 

Remember? Everyone was worried that hospitals wouldn’t be able to provide service to all the sick patients if everyone got COVID-19 at the same time. They were worried that people would die because the hospitals were too full. And that actually did happen in some states! So why is it missing?

As far as hospitalizations go, “We really like to think that they’re not affected by things like how many people get tested,” Fitzgibbons told the Sun

You know what is? Positivity rates for COVID-19 tests. 

So, now, after putting the brakes on every Tom, Dick, Harry, and Susan getting tested, the county is begging residents to go out and get tested! In order to move from purple to red—which is a much scarier color than purple, but the state apparently didn’t think so (Who’s doing their marketing? Call me!)—county Emergency Medical Services Agency Director Nick Clay said the community needs to work together! (But stay separated, right?)

“So, how do we do this? Frankly, getting tested,” Clay said during a Sept. 11 press briefing. “We are now asking the community to get tested.”

Hey everyone, this is a metric that we can beat! If everyone goes out and gets tested, our positivity rate goes down. Duh! How stupid is that? 

But wait, there are more tiers! We also have orange and yellow. As far as yellow is concerned, good luck! We need less than one positive case per 100,000. So we might not ever open back up again. How’s that for positivity? 

The canary thinks the blueprint is a dumpster fire. Send water to

Weekly Poll
Should the county Public Health Department help elementary schools apply for the state’s waiver program?

Yes, that’s what the department is there for.
Schools shouldn’t open at all right now, nevermind with the county’s help.
If the state thinks schools are ready, what’s the problem?
Schools should have to fend for themselves; it shows whether they’re ready to handle reopening.

| Poll Results

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