The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 98 new cases of COVID-19 during Tuesday’s press conference, rounding the county’s total cases to 5,931.
“We must begin to see significant progress countywide to reduce the rate of infection in our community and create a path to meeting the state health standards,” 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart said.
Of the total cases across the county, 333 remain active. A total of 80 people are recovering in the hospital, while 25 are in the Intensive Care Unit.
The seven-day rolling average of the county’s positivity rate stands at 9.8%, according to Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso. The positivity rate must fall below 8% in order for the county to be taken off the state’s watch list.
“While the last few days of reported positive cases have been reduced from the weeks prior, we cannot let our guard down and absolutely must continue our safe practices to flatten the curve. We have accomplished this before and we can do so again, but we have to remain vigilant and be determined as a community to do so,” Dr. Do-Reynoso said.
The majority of new cases again resided in Santa Maria, which reported 41. Santa Maria has the most cases in the county with 2,677, and has recorded 18 of the county’s 32 COVID-related deaths.
Santa Barbara announced 22 new cases Tuesday and now has 734 total cases in the city. At this time last month, Santa Barbara had just 267 cases.
Lompoc reported nine new cases, the unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and the city of Guadalupe had seven, and the communities of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria reported five new cases. Orcutt totaled four new cases and the unincorporated areas of Goleta Valley and Gaviota had one new case.
There were also no new cases in the Federal Prison Complex in Lompoc, which, according to the county’s website, has no current active cases.
Dr. Do-Reynoso also confirmed 85 cases at the Alco Harvesting Housing area in Santa Maria.
“I am unaware of any hospitalized patients, but the isolation is going well. Alco is being guided by an infectious disease consultant that is providing the guidance as well as overseeing the continued testing,” Dr. Do-Reynoso said.
Mr. Hart also talked about the impact county residents may feel in the coming days due to unemployment benefits being set to end at the end of the month.
“In addition to the public health crisis, we’re also facing an equally dangerous economic crisis,” Mr. Hart said.
“When the federal unemployment benefits stop this Friday, the average recipient will receive less than $1,350 in state unemployment benefits per month, many will receive much less.
“It doesn’t take an economist to understand how difficult it is to pay rent and survive in Santa Barbara County on $1,350 a month when our housing costs are some of the highest in the state.”
The United States House of Representatives passed legislation to continue the $600 a week, while on Monday, Senate Republicans proposed a cutdown from $600 a week to $200.
Mr. Hart added that state legislators in Sacramento are also currently in talks of helping fill in the gaps of whatever bill might be passed by the federal government in the coming days.
“There is no more important work in the country right now than resolving this problem quickly,” Mr. Hart said.
He concluded his statement by applauding local nonprofits around the area for continually helping the community during this crisis.
“I’m continually impressed by the ways that our local nonprofits make a positive difference in our world, especially during this global health emergency,” Mr. Hart said.