Santa Barbara County reported 44 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, continuing the downward trend needed for the county to get off the state’s watch list and be able to reopen more of the community.

The county’s 87-day rolling average test-positivity rate remained at 2.8 percent, well below the state’s standard of less than 8 percent, according to the Public Health Department.

The daily test-positivity rate Saturday was 4 percent, based on 1,173 tests.

The county also reported 54 COVID-19 patients in local hospitals, with 18 in intensive-care units. On Friday, the numbers stood at 54 and 20, respectively.

Of the new cases, 16 were in the Santa Maria Valley, 10 in Lompoc, nine in Santa Barbara, five in Isla Vista, and one each in the unincorporated Goleta Valley and the Montecito-Summerland-Carpinteria area. Geographic locations were pending on two cases. 

No new deaths were reported. To date, there have been 84 COVID-19 fatalities in the community and three at the Lompoc Federal Prison Complex.

The total COVID-19 case number for the county rose to 7,697 on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department reported that three additional inmates at the Main Jail near Santa Barbara had tested postive for the coronavirus.

All three were previously exposed to inmates who were later found to be infected, according to Raquel Zick, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

“The inmates were being housed in cohort quarantine, and had tested negative for COVID-19 approximately one week ago,” Zick said. “The inmates were retested on Thursday, and results returned late last night and this morning.”

The inmates have been rehoused to negative-air-flow cells, and are being medically monitored while contact tracing and testing continues, Zick said.

There have now been 39 COVID-19-positive inmates who have been housed at the Main Jail.

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