While doctors and politicians continue to talk about the doubling effect — or the rapid growth of COVID-19 — the amount of cases in Santa Barbara County over the past seven days have more than tripled.
On March 27, county health officials announced 47 positive tests.
On Friday, that number had grown to 152, with 13 new cases revealed at an afternoon press conference.
An additional 16 cases were reported by the Federal Board of Prisons on Friday, with 14 inmates and two jail personnel testing positive at the federal prison in Lompoc. The prison holds nearly 975 inmates.
County officials did not believe that those numbers had been factored into the countywide figures, nor could they confirm potential hospitalizations.
This past week brought about the county’s first death — in Santa Maria — while the county has also announced that 35 have fully recovered.
In addition, 86 continue to recover at home, while 26 are hospitalized, with 17 in the intensive care unit.
The overall city-by-city breakdown is as follows:
- Santa Maria: 44
- Santa Barbara: 30
- Orcutt: 18
- Lompoc: 17
- Other North County Unincorporated Area (New Cuyama, Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, City of Guadalupe): 15
- Other South County (Montecito, Toro Canyon, Summerland, Carpinteria): 9
- Other South County (Unincorporated Area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota): 9
- Santa Ynez Valley: 5
- Goleta: 4
- Isla Vista: 1
The age breakdown to date is as follows:
- 0-17: 3
- 18-29: 23
- 30-49: 48
- 50-69: 62
- 70-plus: 16
For the first time since the onset of daily press conferences, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department spoke to a preliminary model that is allowing them to prepare for a potential spike in cases.
“The best case scenario for this model that we have, and it’s not engraved in stone, we are guesstimating that we will peak around the middle of May,” said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, public health director for the county.
Cottage open for all types of business
While many facilities around the United States have had to adjust their business practices to separate different types of patients, Cottage Health reiterated on Friday that it was open to all types of medical emergencies.
“All Cottage Health hospitals – including Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital, Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital — are open and available to community members who need urgent or emergency care. While many elective procedures have been rescheduled, all hospitals remain open to provide care when it’s needed,” a news release said.
In addition, the hospital provided an update on current numbers:
- Cottage is caring for 126 patients; 247 beds remain available.
- In surge planning, capacity is identified for adding 270 acute care beds.
- Of the 126 patients, 9 patients are on ventilators; 51 ventilators remain available (adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilators).
- Of the 126 patients, 18 patients are in isolation for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Of the 18 patients in isolation, 9 patients are in critical care
- Cottage has collected 1,123 cumulative test samples: 61 resulted in positive, 899 resulted in negative, and 163 are pending.
SB City Council going virtual Tuesday
The Santa Barbara City Council meeting on Tuesday will be physically closed to the public, with officials encouraging residents to participate virtually.
The city has set up a GoTo Webinar for the meeting, which you can find at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3845464258802667789, with the webinar ID 408-250-643.
You can also submit written comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any questions, the city has also indicated you can call the City Clerk’s office at 805-564-5309.
The meeting is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Goleta closes multiple gathering areas
The city of Goleta closed all basketball, pickleball, tennis and volleyball courts, as well as group picnic areas throughout the city on Friday.
The city had already closed skateparks, playground equipment and exercise equipment.
“The decision was made in response to the rapidly evolving coronavirus crisis and the ever increasing need to follow strict social distancing guidelines. The action also follows growing concern over gatherings at open space areas that essentially put our entire community at risk,” said a news release.
The city has put up a fence around the skatepark at Jonny D. Wallis Neighborhood Park, and removed all nets at facilities around the city.
The city also warned that there would be “increased visibility of Goleta Police around the closure areas.”
“We tend to see more people gathering in parks and neighborhoods on the weekends and want to remind our community members to not get complacent,” said Paula Perotte, Goleta’s mayor. “As tempting as it may be to have a gathering outdoors, experts tell us that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate and can easily spread to extended families and strangers. They recommend that you go out to get some fresh air with people in your own household and please choose an area where you can still practice social distancing.”
Report reveals massive job shedding
The government announced that 701,000 jobs were shed in March, with the data being based on just the first half of the month, before major shutdowns went into effect across the country.
The decline in payrolls was the largest since the Great Recession, with the jobless rate increasing from 3.5% in February to 4.4% in March.
That is the largest one-month increase since January 1975.
With more than 10 million people already applying for unemployment benefits over the final two weeks of March, experts believe the jobless rate will rise to more than 10% in April.
Locally, small business consultant Economic Development Collaborative estimated the total unemployment for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties to be around 25% in April — up from 4.6% in February. The estimate did not include self-employed individuals, which could total up to 80,000 people, said Clair Briglio, communications and business disruption resource director for EDC.
COVID-19, by the numbers
Here is an update on statewide, nationwide and worldwide numbers:
- In California, there are 12,581 confirmed cases, with 285 deaths.
- In the United States, there are 277,965 cases. There have been 7,402 deaths, with 12,283 recoveries.
- Worldwide, there are now 1,100,283 cases, with 58,929 deaths and 226,669 recoveries.