The Santa Barbara Public Health Department has identified four cases of the omicron variant — the first few confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant in the county. 

All four people were under 30 years of age, and though one among the four received the first two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the other three did not have vaccine records in the California Immunization Registry.

“The detection of these four omicron cases validates our sense of urgency about vaccination and boosters in our local community. Vaccination and boosters for every eligible community member continues to be the number one tool we have to stop the spread of this virus and prevent serious illness in those who do get COVID-19,” said Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD) Director Van Do-Reynoso in a press release. 

“Given the prevalence of omicron cases throughout the nation and California, we can expect that the variant is circulating in Santa Barbara County. However, these four cases are the first confirmed from sampling,” Do-Reynoso continued. 

The press release from SBCPHD continued to ask the public to get tested if they’ve visited locations with high transmission, if they’ve traveled internationally or if they’ve attended a crowded gathering with unvaccinated people.

According to the Santa Barbara County Community Data Dashboard, new cases are up by 220% with 534 new cases since the last two-week average. Isla Vista specifically has 52 active cases as of Dec. 29. 


Atmika Iyer
Atmika Iyer (she/her/hers) is the Daily Nexus editor in chief for the 2022-23 school year. Previously, Iyer was the County News and co-Lead News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She's a lover of loud music, loud laughs and loud prints.