Amid dozens of confirmed COVID-19 cases from the Lompoc federal prison due to an outbreak, the Santa Barbara County Jail announced its first inmate tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.
According to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office, the 40-year-old was arrested by members of the Santa Maria Police Department and booked into the County Jail on April 1 on charges of burglary, stalking and being under the influence of drugs.
The inmate has no known underlying health conditions.
The County Jail’s COVID-19 response plan separates all newly admitted inmates in a reception housing area for 14 days or more. They are then examined by Wellpath, the jail’s contracted medical provider.
On April 14, the infected inmate came down with a fever and was moved to a negative-pressure room in a special housing area and placed under quarantine protocols.
The positive test result was received late Thursday night.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is investigating those that the inmate might have come in contact with while he was infectious.
The County Jail has released numerous inmates early in order to limit the opportunity for an outbreak.
“The reduction in population we have experienced during the last month and a half has given us the opportunity to compartmentalize our population and develop a defend-in-place housing plan that we would not have been able to do otherwise,” said Chief Custody Deputy Vincent Wasilewski.
Sheriff Bill Brown spoke to the discharging process.
“Each of the inmates who were released early or whose bail was reduced to zero pursuant to the emergency order were screened and assessed before they left the jail. Whenever appropriate and possible, supervision restrictions were made a condition of release, and discharge planning for community-based support related to housing, mental health and drug treatment was arranged,” he said.
Hart outspoken about potential demonstrations
With a number of demonstrations popping up throughout the nation — most focused on states reopening and lifting stay-at-home mandates — it was broached at the daily PHD press briefing that those same demonstrations could happen here.
Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart was outspoken about that possibility, urging county residents to speak out at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting instead, avoiding a potentially harmful medical event.
Mr. Hart was sure that local law enforcement is prepared if it should happen, but pleaded with residents to find a different solution.
“The most important message that I would like to communicate to the public is that the differences of views and the concerns that people have in this situation that we have with COVID-19 are important to express in a positive, constructive venue,” Mr. Hart said. “The Board of Supervisors has an update every Tuesday, we are more than happy to hear public comment on those kinds of issues. We want to understand what people feel about this, but the idea of having a mass demonstration in the middle of a public health crisis and a pandemic is extremely irresponsible behavior and should be discouraged in no uncertain terms. That is not going to help us get a hold of this virus and it is not going to get us faster to getting the community opened up.”
Santa Barbara County, by the numbers
In addition to the inmate, the PHD announced 19 confirmed cases on Friday, bringing the county’s total to 373.
Of the new cases, the county now has its 10th case in the 0-17 age bracket, while there were seven in the 50-69 group, six in the 30-49, four in the 70-plus and one in the 18-29 groups.
Six new cases were reported from the Lompoc federal prison, bringing the total to 80. Four new cases were reported in Santa Maria, three in Orcutt, two in Lompoc, one in Goleta Valley/Orcutt, one in unincorporated North County and two are pending.
Of the 373 cases, 157 are recovering at home, 152 have fully recovered, 43 are in the hospital, with 14 in the intensive care unit. An additional 18 are pending an update.
Santa Barbara County is ninth in the state in cases per 100,000 people at 84.1. If adjusted to those with 100 or more confirmed cases, the county is sixth.
On Friday, 1st District Supervisor Das Williams updated the county with a thorough statement, tackling a bevy of topics, including anticipated improvement in testing. PHD officials indicated this week that they are able to test 80-90 per day.
“Originally, we had capacity for no more than 45 tests a day with a turnaround time of 1-2 days for results. Currently, that capacity is 90-105 tests per day with a 2-10 hour turnaround time for results. Next week we expect to expand to 150 tests a day,” Mr. Williams said.
Cottage Health, by the numbers
An updated look at the status of Cottage Health, through Friday:
- Cottage Health is caring for a total of 196 patients across all campuses.
- 147 are acute care patients; 226 acute care beds remain available.
- Of the 147 patients, 11 patients are on ventilators; 54 ventilators remain available (adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilators)
- Of the 147 patients, 17 are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms; 14 are confirmed COVID-19 positive.
- Of 17 patients in isolation, 9 patients are in critical care.
- Cottage has collected 2,033 cumulative test samples: 165 resulted in positive, 1,789 resulted in negative, and 79 are pending. In most of these tests, patients did not require hospital admission.
COVID-19, by the numbers
A look at the statewide, nationwide and worldwide numbers through Friday:
- In California, there are now 29,405 confirmed cases, with 1,057 deaths, including 84 on Friday.
- Santa Barbara County remains 16th in the state in overall cases, while Los Angeles County leads with 11,421 confirmed cases and 501 deaths.
- In the United States, there are 701,610 confirmed cases, with 31,456 deaths and 58,545 have fully recovered.
- Worldwide, there are 2,243,512 confirmed cases, 154,209 deaths and 569,506 have fully recovered.
Lompoc Valley Medical Center CEO Steve Popkin offered the community an update on Friday:
- From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, LVMC has had only three COVID-19 positive inpatient admissions originating from the general Lompoc Valley community. Of those three, there were none that were in the ICU, and there have been no deaths. Presently, we have one COVID-19 positive inpatient from the general Lompoc Valley Community.
- In addition to the previously discussed COVID-19 wing established in our medical/surgical unit, we have retrofitted our preoperative area to create 12 beds to use for non-COVID-19 patients. We have utilized these beds on a trial basis, and it has worked well, as planned. We have also retrofitted our large Physical Therapy area within the hospital to use for up to 12 additional inpatient beds, for COVID-19 purposes, if it becomes necessary.
- Telehealth visits (remote video or phone physician/provider visits) are now available for existing Lompoc Health patients. We currently have 28 of our Lompoc Health providers established to provide telehealth visits. They include the specialties of Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Urgent Care, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Orthopedics, ENT, General Surgery, and Oncology. Those wishing to schedule a telehealth visit should call the Lompoc Health Customer Care Department at (805) 737-8700 for North H Center, and (805) 736-1253 for North Third Center.