County to pause further reopening; 56 new cases announced Wednesday
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported five deaths related to the ongoing outbreak at the Country Oaks Care Center in Santa Maria.
As of Wednesday, 25 residents and 14 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release from PHD on Tuesday. The first positive cases were reported on May 31, and PHD has been working closely with the facility to mitigate the outbreak and support operations.
On Wednesday, the county announced they are pausing reopening efforts as a result of the increase in recent hospitalizations and COVID-19 positive cases. Expanded personal care services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, piercing shops, etc. cannot reopen Friday as scheduled, officials said.
“Out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of all community members, particularly our most vulnerable, Public Health leadership has decided to hold on further reopening,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, health officer for Santa Barbara County. “We urge all residents to take this time to evaluate how they can limit their exposure to people outside their homes. This virus will continue to spread unless we take action to stop it.”
The county will reconvene next week to assess the situation.
Country Oaks has received additional resources from the county and state to help the staff, including two California Medical Assistance Teams specializing in COVID-19, physician assistants, nurses and certified nursing assistants from the California Health Corps and Santa Barbara County Medical Reserve Corps.
“Over the next week, the Healthcare-Associated Infections Program will work to provide additional infection control training to staff at Country Oaks Care Center,” said Paige Batson, Deputy Director for Community Health. “These measures will be critical to ensure the health and safety of both residents and staff moving forward.”
Also on Wednesday, the county Public Health Department announced 56 new confirmed cases of the novel virus, bringing the county total to 2,171.
Of the new cases reported Wednesday, 27 were out of Santa Maria and 20 were from the city of Santa Barbara. Three new cases were reported in Goleta, two in Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, one in the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota, one in Orcutt and one at the federal prison in Lompoc. One additional case is pending, according to the data.
Of the 261 active cases, 204 are recovering at home and 57 are recovering in the hospital. A total of 15 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit.
As of Wednesday, the Public Health Department has reported 26,987 total COVID-19 tests. Of those, 24,701 have registered negative, 2,171 positive and 115 have been inconclusive.
News-Press Associate Editor Mitchell White contributed to this reportemail: firstname.lastname@example.org