268 new COVID-19 cases announced Wednesday; 156 in Santa Maria
Santa Barbara County’s Public Health Department announced 268 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the total to 3,164 total confirmed cases.
A total of 88 cases from the latest total are from within the past two weeks, and 25 of them are older than two weeks. The delayed reporting of cases stems from a dramatic increase in testing capacity, growing demand for tests and labs, and longer processing time due to an increase in results.
The county, which did not issue a daily update to its numbers on Tuesday due to transitioning from one data platform to another, also did not provide an update on patient recovery.
Of the new cases, 156 of them are in Santa Maria, which now has 1,213 confirmed cases. Santa Barbara had 35 new cases , while Goleta had 10. The rest of the cities with new cases were in single digits.There was also one new case in the federal prison complex in Lompoc, bringing the total to 994 confirmed cases.
Cottage Health is currently caring for a total of 284 patients across all campuses. Of the total 284, 219 are acute care patients and 154 acute care beds remain available. Nineteen patients are in isolation with nine in critical care.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department reported an additional two custody deputies, one custody civilian staff and one patrol deputy have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Two of the four new cases do not appear to be work-related, authorities said.
As of Wednesday, of the 225 only four have tested positive. A total of 114 have tested negative and other results were pending. Some 14 staff members are recovering at home, one in a local hospital and seven have returned back to work after previously testing positive.
Also on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order to 19 California counties, including Santa Barbara County, directing them to shut down indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment such as bowling alleys, zoos, museums. Bars must close all operations. The order will be in effect for at least three weeks and could be extended if COVID cases continue to surge.
Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer, will issue a health officer order that is expected to be finalized today and could go into effect as soon as 5 p.m. tonight. The order would mandate the closure of bars, breweries, pubs, brewpubs, indoor dine-in restaurants, indoor wineries and tasting rooms, indoor family entertainment centers, indoor zoos and museums, and indoor cardrooms. The order will remain in place for at least three weeks.
“We advise local businesses to prepare for these newly announced closures,” Dr. Ansorg said. “We know that indoor settings with close crowds, as typically seen on holiday weekends, can create an unfavorable environment for the transmission of this virus. Please limit your exposure to people outside your home and wear your face covering when needed.”
The Santa Barbara Zoo, which reopened to the public back on June 23, will remain open to the public, Zoo CEO Rich Block told the News-Press.
“The health and welfare of our animals, staff, and guests are our top priority. We will continue to operate with limited guest capacity and follow the modified outdoor facility guidelines to ensure safety,” Mr. Block said in a statement.
Additionally, the zoo will now mandate that all guests above the age of 3 are required to wear a mask at all times. Exceptions will be made for those with medical conditions or religious beliefs.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, which was set to reopen on July 9 for special members, has pushed their reopen date to July 22 at the earliest.
In preparation for July 4, the city of Santa Barbara will be closing all of its beach parking lots Friday through Sunday. Public parking on Stearns Wharf and Harbor Main lots will remain open to support local businesses.