The high number of COVID-19 infections at the Federal Correctional Institution in Lompoc will not be counted among Santa Barbara County’s total number of cases.
During a press conference Monday, Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Chair and Second District supervisor Gregg Hart announced that the State of California will recognize the prison outbreak as distinct from that in the greater county, and that Santa Barbara County will be allowed to submit documentation to a state attestation process that can accelerate economic reopening in the county.
“The California Department of Public Health recognizes the unique circumstances posed by the Lompoc Federal Prison in our jurisdiction. The virus outbreak within the prison will not be counted against our county attestation criteria,” Mr. Hart said.
At today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the supervisors will consider an agenda item that could allow the County to submit documentation to the State and begin the attestation process. If successful, it will allow for all businesses that fall under Phase 2 of the governor’s four-step reopening plan to open once Santa Barbara County meets the necessary criteria.
As meeting the required low numbers of COVID-19 cases outlined in the state criteria would be impossible if the 963 infections at the Lompoc Federal Prison were included in the Santa Barbara County total, getting the State to recognize the penitentiary as a separate situation has been a major goal of the Board of Supervisors. On May 12, the board unanimously voted to send the governor a letter requesting that prison cases be separated from community cases.
Santa Barbara County health officer Dr. Henning Ansorg reported at the press conference that the county has 22 new cases of COVID-19, seven of which are in the federal prison, and 15 in the community. This creates 1,496 total cases in Santa Barbara County. Twenty seven community cases are hospitalized, with 11 in the intensive care unit. Four hundred and twenty six infected individuals have fully recovered and Santa Barbara’s hospitalization and ICU levels are stable.
“All of our hospitals continue to operate below their capacity and have the ability to respond to a surge in cases if needed,” Dr. Ansorg said.
According to a press release, of the 221 total patients Cottage Health is caring for across all of its campuses, 166 are acute care patients and 207 acute care beds are still available. Eleven acute care patients are on ventilators, leaving 66 ventilators remaining. Six acute care patients are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms and five of them are confirmed to be COVID-19 positive. Four of the isolated patients are in critical care.
Throughout the week of May 11 and 18, Cottage Health collected 1,528 COVID-19 lab tests with 21 coming back positive, 1,457 negative, and 50 still pending.