Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart.

Supervisor Gregg Hart says Santa Barbara County has reached a ‘crossroads’ in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara County “is at a crossroads with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Supervisor Gregg Hart declared Friday during the regular end-of-week press conference.

Hart presented a sobering accounting of the surge of the highly infectious virus in the county during the past two months:

On Memorial Day weekend, the county was averaging 13 cases per day, rising to 25 cases two weeks later.

A month later, there was 60 cases per day, and after six weeks there were 96 cases.

As of Friday, the county had rocketed to an average of 121 cases per day.

That’s a far cry from the state’s standard for fully reopening of only eight cases per day, Hart noted.

“We can’t go on indefinitely like this,” Hart said, “with students not in schools and businesses not able to fully reopen.”

The Second District supervisor urged county residents to redouble their efforts to prevent the disease by wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, avoiding gatherings and interactions with non-household members, and washing hands frequently.

“We can reduce our cases by half by the end of August if we all work together …” he said. “We all have to bear down to achieve that goal.”

He warned that failure to take action now could lead to further shutdowns going forward.

The county Public Health Department reported 133 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, with 85 patients being treated in local hospitals, including 26 in intensive care units. The latter numbers decreased slightly from the previous day.

 New cases reported July 24Active cases by regionTotal cases reported to date
Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria411112
Santa Barbara and Mission Canyon1247667
Isla Vista3540
Western Goleta Valley and Gaviota0694
Santa Ynez Valley2763
Lompoc, Vandenberg Village, Mission Hills1239382
Lompoc federal correctional complex171,011
Santa Maria771832,496
Guadalupe, New Cuyama, Garey, Casmalia, Sisquoc715229
Santa Barbara County total 1333695,576

No new coronavirus deaths were reported Friday, with the county’s total remaining at 32.

Of the new cases, 85 were in the Santa Maria Valley, which has been a hotbed for the disease locally throughout the pandemic.

Santa Barbara and Lompoc recorded 12 cases each; Goleta, Isla Vista and Montecito/Summerland/Carpinteria reported three cases each; the Santa Ynez Valley had two cases; and the Lompoc Federal Prison Complex had one case. Geographic locations were pending on 12 cases.

The county’s case total rose to 5,576.

There were 980 test results reported on Friday, for a daily test-positive rate of 13 percent. The seven-day average positive-test rate stood at 8.9 percent.

Paige Batson, deputy director of the Public Health Department, noted that “the key way COVID is spreading is through gatherings” — barbecues, family celebrations and the like.

“Our only defense,” she said, “is social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands.”

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