The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 1,060 people infected with the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19-related deaths of an Orcutt resident and a Santa Maria resident on Wednesday.

One of the people who died was over the age of 70 and one was between the ages of 30 and 49, according to Public Health. The county’s cumulative death toll rose to 582.

As of Wednesday, 22% of the county’s 68,371 positive cases reported throughout the pandemic have been reported in the past two weeks. 

The number of COVID-19-positive patients in Santa Barbara County hospitals climbed again Wednesday, as the availability rate in local hospital intensive-care units fell. There were 140 patients hospitalized on Wednesday — an increase of five compared to the day prior — with 14 patients being treated in intensive-care units.

County hospital ICUs were operating at a 4.6% availability rate on Wednesday, according to the county’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard. The decline is partly due to the drop in staffed ICU beds in the county, presumably because of staffing shortages due to the Omicron variant surge. There were 76 staffed ICU beds on Jan. 10 and 65 on Wednesday.

Of the new cases reported Wednesday, 261 were from the Santa Maria Valley and 230 were from the Santa Barbara area. The Lompoc Valley reported 209 new cases, the Goleta Valley added 198, the Santa Ynez Valley logged 52, the Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area tallied 35, and Isla Vista reported 12. There were 63 cases still pending geographic location.

There were 6,842 cases still considered to be infectious countywide on Wednesday, and there have been 68,371 total cases confirmed since the pandemic began.

For local COVID-19-related resources, including where to find vaccination, testing, and the rules for isolating and quarantining, read Noozhawk’s story, Where to Find COVID-19 Vaccines, Testing, Isolation Rules, Booster Providers and More.

Read more stories from Noozhawk’s Coronavirus section by clicking here. 

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