The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced 81 new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 2,712.
The majority of new cases announced were in Santa Maria, with 41, which now has 954 cases.
Fourteen new cases were announced in Santa Barbara and another eight were announced in the unincorporated area of Sisquoc and city of Guadalupe.
Four new cases were announced in Isla Vista, two in the unincorporated areas between Goleta Valley and Gaviota, as well as Lompoc and one case in Santa Ynez, Goleta and the federal prison complex in Lompoc.
Of the total cases, 290 are active with 54 people recovering in a hospital, 20 of which are in the Intensive Care Unit. There is no available reporting for how many people are recovering at home. In total, there have been 2,172 recoveries in the county.
While concerned about the increase in positive cases, Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer, said that hospitalizations remaining stable tells him two things.
“Number one, the virus is definitely more widespread but only a small fraction of these cases will need hospital level care. Number two, the percentage of COVID positive people who do require hospitalization has remained stable over the past two weeks and actually gone down from May,” Dr. Ansorg said.
Sheriff Bill Brown was also on the call during Friday’s coronavirus update, sharing the current situation at the county jail.
After reporting nine staffers were tested positive for COVID-19 last week, Sheriff Brown shared Friday that another nine staffers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
In addition to the 18 staffers, three prison inmates have tested positive as well.
“Two of them were in our general population. One of them was brought in from the state of Arizona on an extradition and all three of them are currently tested positive but are not hospitalized. They are being treated medically at the jail, they are all in negative air pressure facilities, and when treated, full PPE is used and being utilized by medical staff and custody staff members as a precaution,” Sheriff Brown said.
Sheriff Brown added that there is currently an extensive testing regimen being done on staffers and inmates. To date, 322 employees and 155 inmates have been tested.
“I want to just thank the staff and take the time to comment on their remarkable efforts under very difficult circumstances. And I also want to thank the inmates in our custody because the inmates have also been engaged, and are cooperating to keep the jail clean, to practice good hygiene and distancing themselves,” Mr. Brown said.
Additionally, Nick Clay, the county’s director of emergency medical services, said on Friday that people should try to only get tested if they feel symptoms.
“Our intent with the community based testing was to ensure we had a broad range of individuals who were able to get tested. What we are finding though is, unfortunately, the worried individuals who are curious about if they have it currently or not, but aren’t symptomatic and haven’t had an exposure aren’t at risk are coming in volume that prevents individuals who do need that test we are getting calls to the community almost daily,” Dr. Clay said.
“We still encourage individuals to get tested, however, we are asking that only to get tested if you have had a risk of an exposure, you weren’t feeling unwell, and you’ve been asked by public health or other medical professionals to direct you to get tests.”
Finally, Lucky’s Steakhouse in Montecito has temporarily closed down after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
In a letter posted in the front door, the restaurant is closing in order to clean and ensure the safety of any future patrons.
“The health, safety and security of our guests and employees remain our highest priority,” the letter said.