Public Health officials announced Tuesday that a North County resident died of COVID-19, a person over 70 years old. 

This is the third death reported within a week, and the fifth overall in Santa Barbara County. 

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of the individual who passed away. We continue to battle the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and it is
imperative that we continue wearing face coverings and keeping physical distance when outside our homes,” Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said in a statement.

He reported 13 new confirmed cases Tuesday, for a county total of 429. There were 42 people hospitalized, including 13 in an intensive care unit, as of Tuesday.

Three of the 13 new cases are inmates in the Lompoc federal correctional complex outbreak, which has exceeded 125 cases among inmates and staff members, and another six are Santa Maria residents. 

The county has opened a shelter in Santa Barbara for elderly and medically-vulnerable homeless people who cannot practice social distancing, according to Emergency Operations Center staff. 

Second District County Supervisor Gregg Hart said Monday that 70 rooms in a hotel were being used for people who are vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and do not have a way to self-isolate or quarantine. 

The county Community Services Department and partners are using street outreach workers and service providers to identify people who are unsheltered or living in emergency shelters who meet the criteria, EOC staff said Tuesday. 

Priority will be given to unsheltered people who are 65 years old or older, and/or have serious underlying medical conditions. 

Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the county’s number of new cases and hospitalizations per day are stable, and the goal is to have both declining consistently over a 14-day period. 

Ansorg said county residents should stay home except for essential tasks and continue to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines: 

» When engaging in essential tasks away from home, remain 6 feet away from others and wear a facial covering.
» Wash your hands with soap and water regularly.
» Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
» Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
» Keep surfaces clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.

Click here to read the county Public Health Department’s information on novel coronavirus and COVID-19. 

Click here for Noozhawk’s Coronavirus section. 

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.