Dr. Henning Ansorg, Santa Barbara County’s public health officer, speaking at Monday’s press briefing.
Dr. Henning Ansorg, Santa Barbara County’s public health officer, speaking at Monday’s press briefing on COVID-19. Only two new cases of coronavirus were reported in the county on Monday. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

For the first time, Public Health officials on Monday released a city-by-city and geographic area breakdown of coronavirus fatalities in Santa Barbara County.

Saturday’s one COVID-19 death was the latest to be reported in the county, bringing the toll to seven as of Monday afternoon.

To date, Goleta has the highest number of deaths related to the coronavirus in Santa Barbara County, with two.

There also was one was in the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley/Gaviota, one in Lompoc, one was an inmate at the Lompoc federal correctional complex, one in Santa Maria, and one in Guadalupe or unincorporated North County of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama/New Cuyama.

County officials group some areas in its daily COVID-19 county reports, and there were no other immediate details about these areas.

The county’s first confirmed death from the coronavirus was announced April 1, a North County resident in their 60s.

Only two new COVID-19 cases were reported in the county Monday, bringing the countywide case total to 473.

One is a prison inmate at the Lompoc Federal Correctional and one is in Santa Barbara.

Of the new cases, one person is in 50-69 age group and the other’s age was not disclosed.

There were 99 people recovering at home, and 38 were being treated in local hospitals, including 11 in intensive care units.

“Our COVID-19-related hospitalization and ICU admission rate has remained stable over the weekend, which again is directly attributed to our efforts as a county with maintaining physical distancing,” Dr. Henning Ansorg, county public health officer, said at Monday’s afternoon COVID-19 county press briefing.

Physical distancing precautions, also known as social distancing, include staying at least six feet away from other people, with a goal of slowing or stopping the spread of infectious diseases.

Of the county’s 473 cases, 322 people have fully recovered as of Monday afternoon.

Status updates were pending on seven patients.

To date, 59 healthcare workers in the county have tested positive for COVID-19, Ansorg said.

“The vast majority of those have come back to work, but I don’t have the exact number,” he said. 

So far, the worst outbreaks have happened in the North County, according to the county’s available data.

Of the county’s case total, 126 are from Santa Maria, 104 are prison inmates at the Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution, and 79 are from Lompoc and the communities of Mission Hills and Vandenberg Village.

Ansorg talked about the adjustment into the next phase, emphasizing that “we want to make sure we have a plan in place, and are ready once the qualifying criteria for reopening have been met.”

County Public Health officials, area medical experts and business leaders held a meeting Monday to discuss how “to best transition into the next phase of easing out of this stay-at-home order locally,” Ansorg said. 

“Only the governor has the authority to ease statewide measures in California,” he continued. “The decision on when this will be possible has to be made thoughtfully, safely and rationally — founded in scientific data.”

Almost daily, Ansorg said, scientific literature will issue new information surrounding the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

He cautioned young and “previously” healthy people.

“We understand more and more about this virus with each passing day,” he said. “One big concern is COVID-19 does affect even young and previously healthy individuals actually more frequently than we previously thought, with sometimes devastating outcomes.

“I urge everyone to remain vigilant, with minimizing their activities outside of the house, and to continue with our efforts in blocking the spread of this virus.”

Lots of people turned out at Santa Barbara County-area beaches over the weekend to enjoy hot weather, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home order in response to the pandemic.

Beachgoers were advised to follow social distancing guidelines and avoid overcrowding public spaces. 

Several beach parking lots were closed over the weekend.

Second District County Supervisor Gregg Hart said Monday that “many parking citations were issued to people who parked illegally in neighborhoods adjacent to the beaches,” later adding, “There will be even more enforcement this upcoming weekend.”

Exercise and fresh air are important in maintaining physical and mental health, Hart said. 

He sent a clear message to the public.

“At the same time, we each have a responsibility to do our own part to support managing the dual challenge of recreating safely while also protecting public health,” he said. “If you go to a park or a beach or a trailhead, and there are already too many people there — go somewhere else.”

Click here for the county’s Public Health Department webpage.

Click here to go to Noozhawk Coronavirus Crisis section.

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