Santa Barbara County reported three more COVID-19 deaths and 60 new cases of the disease on Wednesday.
Two of the fatalities were people older than age 70 with underlying health conditions, according to the county Public Health Department.
Both were residents of congregate-living facilities in the South Coast unincorporated area; one died on July 29, and the other died July 30.
The third death, from July 5, was a person between ages 50 and 69 in Santa Maria who also had underlying health conditions.
No additional details were provided about the three people.
“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of those who have lost their lives to COVID-19,” Van Do-Reynoso, county public health director, said in a press release.
“Avoid gatherings, wear face coverings and stay at least 6 feet away from others you do not live with,” she added.
The latest COVID-19 deaths raise the county’s total to 67.
Difference from previous day
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Aug. 5 Total positive cases 6,586 + 60 COVID-19-related deaths 67 + 3 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals 82 – 6 COVID-19 ICU patients 25 Unchanged Total test results 81,312 + 361 Seven-day average test positivity rate 10.7% + 0.4%
Difference from previous day
The new cases reported Wednesday were from only 361 tests, resulting in a positive-test rate of 17 percent.
The county’s seven-day rolling average of positive tests rose to 10.7 percent, well above the state’s target of 8 percent.
During the past four days, the county has reported an average of only 430 tests each day, far fewer than is typical.
That may be because of problems on the state level with data reporting, which county officials announced on Tuesday.
The result, according to county Public Health Officer Henning Ansorg, is that coronovirus cases locally and across the state have been “significantly” underreported in recent weeks.
Of the new cases reported Wednesday, 19 were in Santa Maria, 17 were in Santa Barbara, and six each in Lompoc and Goleta. Orcutt, the unincorporated Santa Maria Valley and the unincorporated Goleta Valley each had two cases, while Isla Vista and the Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area each had one case. Geographic locations were pending on six cases.
New cases reported Aug. 5 Active cases by area Total reported cases by area South County: Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria 1 5 153 Santa Barbara and Mission Canyon 17 48 866 Goleta 4 6 151 Isla Vista 1 10 56 Western Goleta Valley and Gaviota 2 2 114 Santa Ynez Valley 0 0 74 Lompoc, Vandenberg Village, Mission Hills 6 23 486 Lompoc federal correctional complex 0 0 1019 Santa Maria 19 97 2,960 Orcutt 2 4 210 North County: Guadalupe, Cuyama, New Cuyama, Garey, Casmalia, Sisquoc 2 4 266 Pending location 6 25 231 Santa Barbara County total 60 224 6586
There were 82 people being treated for COVID-19 in local hospitals, down from 88 reported on Tuesday. Of those, 25 were in intensive care units, a number unchanged from the previous day.
With Santa Barbara’s annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta kicking off on Wednesday — albeit on a virtual basis — county officials were imploring residents to avoid parties and gatherings that could spread COVID-19.
They noted that the risk of contracting COVID-19 significantly increases in crowded places, enclosed spaces and with close contact to others.
“This year will have to be different for every person hoping to celebrate,” Ansorg said. “The decisions we make in the next few days will set the course for what the transmission of COVID-19 looks like in the weeks to come.
“Please wear a face covering, avoid gatherings, and maintain your distance from those that do not live in your home.”
Ansorg noted that the current county health order prohibits gatherings of any size because of elevated disease transmission.