In attempts to make COVID-19 testing more accessible and available, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department requested a total of 205,200 COVID-19 antigen testing kits that each contain two tests from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to distribute countywide.

As of Tuesday, the county had received 165,996 kits, Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The county has partnered with 77 agencies to distribute the kits — 25 in North County, 15 in Mid-County, 33 in South County and four that serve the entire county.

The department distributed 36,450 testing kits last week, with 48% going to North County, 44% to South County and 8% to Mid-County, Do-Reynoso said.

This week, the county is distributing 71,550 kits, with 40% being delivered to the North County, 38% to South County and 22% to Mid-County.

The department has been trying to contract with a new Goleta location to set up another testing site after closing the one at the Goleta Valley Community Center at the end of December. At the “11th hour,” the department was unable to contract with a site, so it is exploring a second option, Do-Reynoso said.

The estimated opening of a new Goleta site is unknown, but Do-Reynoso said that state staff are “ready to set up shop” once the county contracts with a new location.

The average turnaround time for COVID-19 test results at the Public Health locations is currently 24 to 72 hours with 72 hours being the median, Do-Reynoso said.

Click here for testing locations across the county.

Daily Numbers

Santa Barbara County Public Health officials reported 837 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths on Tuesday.

Two of the people who died were between ages 50 and 69, one was over the age of 70, and two of the individuals had underlying medical conditions. The individuals lived in Orcutt, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

The county’s cumulative coronavirus death toll rose to 590.

The number of patients hospitalized for the virus increased by seven to 146 from Monday to Tuesday, with 19 patients being treated in intensive-care units. 

Coronavirus hospitalizations continue to follow the trend of increasing roughly two weeks following an increase in cases. Two weeks ago on Jan. 13, the county reported a pandemic peak number of daily new cases at 1,493, while the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized that day was 98.  

The average daily number of hospitalizations reported for the week ending Tuesday hovered just below 145.

Of the new cases reported Tuesday, 409 were from the Santa Maria Valley and 133 were from the Lompoc Valley. Santa Barbara reported 107 new cases, the Goleta Valley added 79, the Santa Ynez Valley tallied 30, the Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area logged 29, Isla Vista added 12 and the Lompoc Federal Prison reported three.

There were 35 cases still pending geographic location. 

Additionally, Do-Reynoso on Tuesday reported that there were 211 active coronavirus outbreaks across the county, including 93 in businesses, 70 at congregate living facilities and 48 at schools.

There were 5,881 cases still considered to be infectious countywide on Tuesday.

Noozhawk staff writer Jade Martinez-Pogue can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.