After moderating over the last few days, the number of new daily COVID-19 cases reported in Santa Barbara County jumped by 531 on Saturday, according to the county Public Health Department.

There also were five new deaths reported, bringing the county’s tally over the last two weeks to 68, and the overall total since the pandemic began in March 2020 to 264.

COVID-19 hospitalization numbers rose slightly — to 191 from 187 — with 51 of those patients requiring treatment in intensive care units.

The county’s adjusted ICU availability rate inched up to 0.8%, while the Southern California region availability remained at 0.8%.

The region will continue under a stay-at-home order until the availability increases past 15%, according to the state. 

All of the new deaths were among North County residents: two each in Santa Maria and Lompoc, and one in Orcutt.

They all were people 70 years of age or older, and three were associated with outbreaks at congregate care facilities.

There were 2,182 active cases as of Saturday, which is the number of people who recently tested positive and are still infectious with the novel coronavirus. 

Of the 531 new positive cases reported, 277 or about 52% are in the Santa Maria Valley. Santa Maria had 224 cases, Orcutt had 35 and the unincorporated areas had 18.

Elsewhere, Santa Barbara had 88 cases, the Lompoc Valley had 53, and the city of Goleta had 29. There were 21 cases in the Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area, 19 in Isla Vista, and 10 each in the Santa Ynez Valley and the unincorporated areas of the Goleta Valley.

Geographic locations were pending on 25 cases.

The county’s COVID-19 cases now total 26,514, with 24,068 (about 92%) of those having recovered.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.