The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported three additional COVID-19 deaths on Thursday.
The decedents resided in the regions of Santa Barbara and unincorporated Mission Canyon, Lompoc and the communities of Mission Hills and Vandenberg Village, and the city of Santa Maria. Two individuals were over 70 and one was between 50 and 69 years old. Two individuals had underlying medical conditions, and one death was associated with an outbreak at a congregate living facility, officials said.
A total of 160 COVID-19 deaths have now been recorded in Santa Barbara County.
A total of 396 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, bringing the county’s total to 17,391, including 1,456 that remain active.
The city of Santa Maria reported 98 new cases on Thursday. The North County city now has a county-high 6,452 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 415 that are considered still infectious.
The city of Santa Barbara reported 87 new cases and now has a total of 2,760, including 330 that remain active.
Lompoc reported 58 new cases on Thursday and now has a total of 1,831 cases, including 135 that remain active.
The city of Goleta reported 38 new cases and now has 766 total, including 117 active.
Other daily totals from Thursday include: South County unincorporated areas, including Montecito, Summerland and city of Carpinteria, 23 new cases (511 total, 68 active); Orcutt, 20 new cases (867 total, 78 active); Unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota, 14 new cases (543 total, 65 active); Unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and the city of Guadalupe, 14 new cases (708 total, 48 active); Santa Ynez Valley, eight new cases (426 total, 54 active); and Isla Vista, six new cases (663 total, 23 active).
The geographic region of 30 cases was pending on Thursday.
No COVID-19 updates are expected today in observance of New Year’s Day.
A total of 135 people are receiving care at local hospitals, including 34 in the Intensive Care Unit.
Santa Barbara County’s ICU availability was not listed in Thursday’s update. The Southern California region’s ICU availability remains at 0%.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department issued a news release to the media on Wednesday, stating that the county is at record high levels in terms of COVID-19 cases.
As of Tuesday, the unadjusted case rate was at 43.3 per 100,000. Active community cases have been over 1,200, which is more than twice as high as the previous summer peak.
“What this means is that COVID-19 is actively spreading across our county. It is not safe to gather with people outside your household,” Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, director for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, said in a statement. “Not only is gathering unsafe, but we risk losing the extremely limited hospital beds we have left and exhausting the health care staff that has tirelessly cared for our community.”
Earlier this week, more COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the county. As of Wednesday, 17,575 vaccines have been delivered to hospitals, health care centers and the public health department. Some 8,775 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were included in the total, as well as 8,800 Moderna vaccines.
“As we move further into COVID-19 vaccine distribution, we come closer and closer to being out of this pandemic. Our most at-risk health care givers will soon be protected from this virus. This fact alone puts our entire community in a better place than it is now,” Dr. Henning Ansorg, health officer for Santa Barbara County, said in a statement. “We are in for a very difficult next few weeks. Unfortunately, we cannot stop what is to come in the immediate future, but we can impact the longer-term trajectory of this virus spread.
“Stay home, wear a mask if you must leave for essential tasks, isolate immediately if you are sick, and please do not gather with those outside your home.”
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department announced Wednesday that four additional employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
A deputy, custody deputy and two civilian staff members were revealed to be COVID-19 positive.
The deputy last worked on Dec. 23 and became symptomatic on Dec. 24. The deputy, who did not have contact with the public, was tested and found to be positive on Dec. 29.
The custody deputy, who was asymptomatic, was tested as part of employee surveillance testing on Tuesday. The custody deputy was notified while at work on Wednesday of the positive test result, said Raquel Zick, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
The first civilian staff member, who works remotely, reported as COVID-19 positive on Dec. 28. The second staff member, who was asymptomatic, last worked on Dec. 9 and was tested on Dec. 28 and found to be positive on Dec. 29.
The total number of Sheriff’s Office employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 during the pandemic is now 79, Ms. Zick said.