The county did not provide an update on its numbers for COVID-19 cases on Saturday, leaving the number of positive cases in Santa Barbara County at 1,649.
Of the total cases, 28 people are recovering in a hospital, with nine in the Intensive Care Unit, while 88 are recovering at home.
There remains only 12 deaths in the county, most of which come from Santa Maria with three.
However, earlier this week a third death at the Federal Prison Complex in Lompoc was announced by the Bureau of Prisons, the federal department that operates the Lompoc facilities.
To date, there have been 1,497 cases of recovery in the county total, including 960 from the Federal Prison Complex in Lompoc.
According to the county, there are 971 total confirmed cases in the prison system in Lompoc, nine of which are still active.
According to the Bureau of Prisons, there are 41 active cases in the Lompoc facilities, 23 of which are inmates and 18 are staff.
At the Federal Correctional Institute Lompoc, nine inmates and eight staff members have tested positive. At the U.S. Penitentiary Lompoc, 14 inmates and 10 staff members have tested positive.
To date, 1,045 inmates have recovered, including 891 in the Federal Correctional Institute, as well as 24 staffers from both locations combined.
Still, concern for the numbers in Santa Maria continues to be a source of worry. According to the county, of the total community cases, which is 678, 314 are confirmed to come from Santa Maria, which equates to roughly 46%.
According to the county’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Henning Ansorg, the Public Health’s medical statistics team has been looking into the matter “intensely.”
“The interviews have been completed and the data are being put together as we speak,” Dr. Ansorg said during Friday’s county press conference.
“What we know is that the outbreak is very spread across the city of Santa Maria. There are no certain neighborhoods that are affected more than others and we are very active in community outreach to increase the awareness of the social distancing, mask wearing, good hygiene and so forth.”
Dr. Ansorg added that the county is having “a concentrated lab drive” this weekend in Guadalupe in hopes of testing a good amount of the community.
“That will play a role in identifying sources of the infection as well and so it’s a work in progress. I wish I had a better answer. I still grapple with the fact that Santa Maria has so many more cases and we honestly still are looking for the answer,” Dr. Ansorg said.
During Friday’s press conference, the county also invited The Rev. David Moore, Pastor of the New Covenant Worship Center.
The Rev. Moore, an African American religious leader, talked primarily about the effect of churches being allowed to reopen slowly and the effect it could have on his community. As a result, he is in favor of reminding everybody that health comes first.
“African American national religious leaders are urging caution, because we are more susceptible to the novel coronavirus due to the pre existing conditions of forced impoverishment related to redlining hiring and firing practices, high density housing and lack of healthcare access with, which all lead to higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and obesity,” he said.
“We are exposed and because of that we may be slower to open our church campuses, and while we celebrate the carrying work of all of our religious communities, I don’t see the need to rush toward re-entry.”
The Rev. Moore added that it is also “the duty of the faith community to look out for the poor and disinherited.”
He also made it a point to say, while the building of his church is closed, the church itself is not.
“My own congregation meets over zoom, and we also live stream. Each Sunday’s service on Facebook. We recognize together that our church has never closed. Only our building is closed, because we are essential,” The Rev. Moore said.
“While we miss being able to lift our voices together with a full musical ensemble, it’s a small price to pay to help protect our families and our community.
“Despite the reopening of much in our community, COVID-19 is still within our community and we must not let down our guard.”