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Surge In Coronavirus Numbers Has Santa Barbara County Leaders Worried


It’s been a rough two weeks for the battle against coronavirus on the Central and South Coasts, with the number of new cases continuing to surge in the region. 

The county’s most recent update included 75 new cases, with the total standing at 3943 Monday morning.

Most of those people have already recovered.  

About a thousand of Santa Barbara county’s cases are connected to the federal prison complex in Lompoc.  The situation has stabilized there in the last few weeks. 

Santa Maria has had more than 1600 cases, Santa Barbara now tops 450 and Lompoc has passed 210 diagnosed cases.

County health officials say the surge in new numbers is coming from the community, with things like barbeques and Fourth of July celebrations among the causes.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso says they are going to step up coronavirus prevention education efforts among those under 40, a demographic which has seen a disproportion spike in numbers.

Both Santa Barbara and Ventura County’s remain on the state’s watch list of more than two dozen counties which don’t meet all of reopening safety criteria.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart says the message is simple.  He says if you are indoors or outdoors around people, you should wear masks.  Hart says we are on a very risky track if people don’t step up to do their part.

The surge is continuing to swamp Santa Barbara County’s coronavirus testing system.  The county is continuing it’s rollback on who is eligible to those with symptoms, or those told to get a test by health care providers or health care officials. 

The surge prompted Santa Barbara County’s largest health care provider to step up its preparedness.  Cottage Health is preparing additional isolation rooms for COVID-19 patients.  

It’s reimposed restrictions on visitors, to try to keep community transmission of the virus out of its facilities.

Starting Monday morning, it’s cut the number of elective procedures it will do at Cottage Hospital in half.  The move is intended to increase capacity for a surge in critically ill patients, a precaution hospital officials hope won’t turn out to be needed.