SANTA BARBARA COUNTY – The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported an additional 67 confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the county total to 2,319.
Of the new cases, 44 were out of Santa Maria, which now has 746 confirmed coronavirus cases. Eleven cases were reported in the city of Santa Barbara, six in various unincorporated areas and the city of Guadalupe and two in the Santa Ynez Valley. The cities of Lompoc and Goleta each reported one additional case and two cases were pending.
Over the past seven days, the county has averaged 50 new cases per day. Due to a recent spike in hospitalizations, the county has been placed on the state’s watch list as it delayed further reopenings under Stage 3. A total of 65 patients are recovering at local hospitals, including 17 in the Intensive Care Units. The county has reported 22 deaths due to the coronavirus, officials said.
Six skilled-nursing facilities in the county have reported either residents or staff members who have tested positive, with the most severe outbreak at the Country Oaks Care Center in Santa Maria, which has reported 28 residents and 26 staff members who have tested positive for the novel virus.
After announcing nine members of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department custody staff testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, Sheriff Bill Brown reported Friday that an additional four staff members and two inmates who have tested positive.
Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said the county expected an increase in cases following the Memorial Day weekend, though he “did not imagine it would happen to such a degree.”
“I have noticed that many more people are truly letting their guard down, being laxed about social distancing or wearing a mask,” he said during Friday’s press conference. “I do acknowledge that opening up hotels, movie theaters, as well as bars and restaurants, does send a message that COVID was over and everything can go back to normal as before. Unfortunately that is not the case. COVID is still very much a threat to everyone.”