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Santa Barbara County sets daily COVID-19 record with 396 cases, 3 deaths Thursday

Santa Barbara County sets daily COVID-19 record with 396 cases, 3 deaths Thursday

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported an additional 396 COVID-19 cases — the highest daily increase yet — and three deaths from the virus on Thursday. 

A total of 17,391 cases has been confirmed since the beginning of the pandemic, with 1,456 cases still active and contagious, including one at the federal prison complex in Lompoc, according to county public health data.

The three newly confirmed deaths included a Lompoc resident, Santa Maria resident and Santa Barbara resident. Two were over the age of 70 and one was between the ages of 50 and 69.

One died in connection with a congregate living facility COVID-19 outbreak, and two had underlying health conditions, according to county data.

Now, 160 county residents have died from COVID-19.

The number of individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 reached another all-time high on Thursday, with 135 individuals currently hospitalized, including 34 in the intensive care unit, according to county data.

With hospitalizations, daily cases and active cases as high as they've ever been, along with record-high case rates of around 40% in recent days, public health officials are again warning residents not to propagate virus spread by gathering.  

“What this means is that COVID-19 is actively spreading across our county. It is not safe to gather with people outside your household,” Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said. “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.”

In the city of Santa Maria, 415 out of 6,452 total cases remain active. Eighty-one individuals have died.

In the community of Orcutt, 78 out of 867 total cases remain active. Nine individuals have died.

In the city of Lompoc, 135 out of 1,831 total cases remain active. Thirteen individuals have died.

In the Santa Ynez Valley, which includes the areas of Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez and Ballard, 54 out of 426 total cases remain active. Eight individuals have died.

In the unincorporated North County area, which includes Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama and Guadalupe, 48 out of 708 total cases remain active. Eight individuals have died.

In neighboring San Luis Obispo County, public health officials reported 219 new COVID-19 cases, with a total of 10,397 cases now confirmed.

The number of active cases continues to reach new highs on a daily basis, with 2,506 cases, or approximately 25% of all cases, still active and contagious, according to county public health data.

The number of San Luis Obispo County residents hospitalized for COVID-19 grew by 570% over the course of December, with 67 individuals hospitalized, including 13 in the ICU, according to county data.

County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said Wednesday that while this increase is concerning, there remains plenty of space in both hospital and ICU beds throughout the county for the time being.

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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