256 COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths reported in SB County
During a California Health and Human Services update, Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly broke the news that the Southern California region will remain under the stay-at-home order with an unknown ending date.
Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley regions are still at 0% available intensive care capacity, and projections do not expect the regions to meet or exceed 15% capacity. These projections will be updated daily, and the regions will be released from the order when they’re projected to reach the threshold.
Although cities and counties within a region may not be at that 0% capacity, Dr. Ghaly said the regional grouping is important to ensure care to underserved Californians.
“The point of a regional approach is to make sure that we take care of as many Californians with those regional assets as possible, and this is what we’re doing in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley,” he said.
Dr. Ghaly also explained that the 0% available capacity doesn’t mean that every ICU bed is taken. He said it means the state estimates that too many resources are being taken by COVID-19 patients.
“From the beginning, we have seen that our whole healthcare delivery system is not just available to take care of our COVID patients, but all our patients,” he said. “So when we have seen hospitals with ICU capacity used up for COVID above 30%, we consider that ICU in that facility, or that region’s ICU capacity really ill-prepared to serve and support individuals with other sorts of urgent and emergent needs.”
Santa Barbara County’s ICU availability, as reported by the Department of Public Health Tuesday, is 6.6%. It is unclear whether this percentage is representative of the methodology explained by Dr. Ghaly or is the number of total ICU beds available.
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital acts as a regional referral center taking in patients for specialty services such as stroke, cardiovascular and trauma care. It has begun to see and accept transfer requests from areas without any ICU capacity.
“In recent weeks, our hospitals have accepted limited transfers for a range of critical care needs including some from hospitals with no ICU capacity. Every request is reviewed by a triage team 24/7 to assure that we retain capacity for our immediate community. We are temporarily reducing non-emergent inpatient admissions that require hospital beds and staffing while we prioritize surging urgent and emergent needs,” said Cottage Health spokesperson Maria Zate in an email to the News-Press.
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has been adding beds as the COVID-19 case count increases.
“But beds alone aren’t enough. Our care teams are highly trained for complex care, and staffing for the increasing numbers of COVID patients continues to be an ongoing challenge,” she said. “Cottage Health has exceptional staff who are working around the clock, but every staff member is crucial.”
She requests community members stay home to stop the spread of the virus.
“We are asking the community to help – we know this is hard, but it’s never been more important. Every person in our community has an important role in the effort to stay safe and keep the virus from overwhelming local healthcare providers,” she said.
The Public Health Department confirmed an additional 256 COVID-19 cases in the county Tuesday, bringing its total to 16,732 cases of which 1,227 are still infectious.
Three deaths were reported, increasing the total COVID-19 deaths to 156. One of the individuals was between 50-69 years of age, resided in Orcutt and had underlying conditions.
One of the deceased resided in the Santa Barbara/Mission Canyon area and another in Santa Maria. Both were at least 70 years old, had underlying health conditions and are associated with an outbreak at a congregate living facility.
Santa Maria reported the most COVID-19 cases, at 75. It now has a total of 6,274 cases, and 412 are still infectious.
Santa Barbara confirmed 45 cases and has a total of 2,607, of which 246 are active.
The unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota reported 20 cases. It’s new total is 518 with 66 active.
Additionally, COVID-19 cases were confirmed Tuesday in the South County area that includes Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, 16 cases (474 total, 44 active); Orcutt, 16 cases (838 total, 74 active); Goleta, 15 cases (706 total, 91 active); the unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and the city of Guadalupe, 14 cases (678 total, 32 active); Santa Ynez Valley, nine cases (413 total, 48 active); Isla Vista, six cases (656 total, 23 active); federal prison in Lompoc, one case (1,039 total, one active).
The locations of 20 daily cases are pending.
Five additional COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and jail. Three custody deputies, one non-sworn staff member and one inmate tested positive within the last week.
A total of six inmates are quarantined in negative air-pressure housing areas, and the Sheriff’s Office reports all six were COVID-positive upon arrival. They are consistently monitored by medical staff.
The jail has experienced 95 COVID-19 cases in inmates and one death, an inmate that had contracted the virus prior to entering the facility.