After several days of relatively moderate growth, COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara Count soared by 187 on Monday, with three additional deaths also reported.

The countywide cumulative total is now 6,996 cases, and 72 deaths, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

All three individuals who died were over the age of 70 with underlying health conditions, and one individual was associated with a congregate-living facility, Public Health officials said.

Two people resided in Santa Maria, and one other lived in the South County unincorporated area, which includes Summerland, Montecito and Carpinteria.

Additional details about the cases, including when they died, were not released.

“We are saddened by the loss of these community members and extend our condolences to their friends and loved ones,” Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso said in a statement. “While we continue to combat COVID-19, we urge residents to please stay at least six feet away from others you do not live with, wear face coverings when outside of your home and avoid gatherings.”

Thirty-four previous positive cases have been removed because they were duplicates, Public Health officials said.

The county Coroner’s Bureau, managed by the Sheriff’s Department, has determined that one COVID-19 death in May — which was reported by the federal Bureau of Prisons in Lompoc — was determined not to be coronavirus-related, Public Health said.

The county reports three inmates have died of COVID-19 at the Lompoc federal correctional complex as of Monday.

“Deaths are reported when a death certificate is processed listing COVID-19 as a cause or a significant condition,” county Public Health said. “The process can take several days, and up to two months to finalize if pending coroner verification.”

The county’s newest cases include 69 in Santa Maria, 30 in Santa Barbara, 20 in Lompoc, 14 in Isla Vista, and 13 in Goleta.

Six each are in the Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area, in Orcutt, and in the unincorporated areas of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama, and the city of Guadalupe.

The unincorporated areas of the Goleta Valley reported five new cases, ,with two in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Geographic locations were pending on 16 cases.

To date, the county has reported 352 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Local public health officials warn that the numbers reported each day are likely to be an underestimate of accurate cases in the county because “the state’s electronic disease reporting system has been experiencing issues processing incoming reports,” Public Health officials said.

Over the past week, county Public Health officials were notified of technical problems that resulted in the underreporting of COVID-19 cases in the county and state.

Santa Barbara County Public Health DepartmentAug. 10

Difference from previous day

Total positive cases187+ 121
COVID-19-related deaths 72+ 3
COVID-19 patients in county hospitals84+ 4
COVID-19 ICU patients31+ 3
Total test results87,981+ 1,411
Seven-day average test positivity rate 7.8%+ 1.2%

The county’s Public Health site has a disclaimer in place “until the state reporting issue is rectified.” 

The county’s seven-day rolling average of community positivity rate increased to 7.8% from 6.6% the previous day. The state’s metric target is below 8%.

The county’s daily testing-positivity rate — based on 1,411 tests — was 13% on Monday.

The number of COVID-19 patients treated in local hospitals increased to 84, up from 80 the previous day.

Of those, 31 were in intensive care units, which was a new high. The previous high for ICU patients was 29 on Sunday.

There were 139 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the county on Saturday and Sunday, according to county public health data.

With the latest tally, the county has added 614 cases in the last week (since Aug. 3).

As of Monday, Santa Barbara County remained on the state’s COVID-19 watch list.

 New cases reported Aug. 10Active cases by areaTotal reported cases by area
South County: Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria69167
Santa Barbara and Mission Canyon3049915
Isla Vista142594
Western Goleta Valley and Gaviota57123
Santa Ynez Valley2480
Lompoc, Vandenberg Village, Mission Hills2032528
Lompoc federal correctional complex001,019
Santa Maria691163,129
North County: Guadalupe, Cuyama, New Cuyama, Garey, Casmalia, Sisquoc614279
Pending location1623270
Santa Barbara County total 1873066,996

During a press conference Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state reported a 19% decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the most recent two-week period.

There were fewer than 6,000 individuals hospitalized with the virus statewide compared to about 6,300 last week, Newsom said.

At a coronavirus briefing last week, the governor announced a 10% decline in the statewide number of COVID-19 hospitalizations over a 14-day period. 

“These are statewide California numbers,” Newsom said. “These by no stretch of the imagination reflect different realities, different experiences by county (or) by hospital,  depending on where you live in the state of California.”

The number of COVID-19 ICU admissions statewide continue to decline as well, he said.

At a coronavirus briefing last week, Newsom reported a 5% drop in the total number of ICU over a two-week period.

On Monday, he said California saw a 13% decrease over the most recent 14-day period.

“Encouraging signs,” Newsom said of the trends in the state, “but not the kind of stability and long-term decline that we ultimately need to get to where everybody wants to go.”

Click here for Noozhawk’s guide to understanding the Public Health Department’s COVID-19 data and daily status updates.

Click here to read stories in Noozhawk’s Coronavirus Crisis section.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.