A Caltrans highway sign in Santa Barbara urges the public to wash hands frequently to help prevent COVID-19 infections.
A Caltrans highway sign in Santa Barbara urges the public to wash hands frequently to help prevent COVID-19 infections. Santa Barbara County reported its 61st COVID-19 death on Monday, along with 31 new cases of the disease. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara County reported an additional COVID-19-related death and 31 new cases of the disease of COVID-19 on Monday.

The countywide cumulative total is now 6,464 COVID-19 cases, and 61 deaths, according to the county Public Health Department.

A Santa Maria resident “over 70 years old” with underlying medical conditions died of COVID-19 “during the last week of June,” Public Health officials said in a statement. 

“Deaths are reported when a death certificate is processed that lists COVID-19 as a cause or a significant condition, and therefore may be delayed,” Public Health said.

Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said that “we share in sadness with those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.

“The best protection we have against COVID-19 continues to be to avoid gatherings with those you do not live with, stay at least six feet from others, wash your hands frequently, self-isolate if you are sick and wear a face covering,” he continued. “We can be safer in the community if we follow the directives issued by public health.”

The news comes days after the Public Health Department announced 28 COVID-19-related deaths Friday that had occurred in April, June and July but were not counted at the time due to process errors. Seventy-five percent of those decedents were over the age of 70, and had “underlying conditions,” Public Health said. 

Local COVID-19-related deaths have now been reported in every adult age range. 

Age RangeCOVID-19 Deaths

There were 82 coronavirus patients being treated in local hospitals on Monday, including 23 in intensive care units.

The seven-day rolling average of community positive-tests was 9.6 percent in the county. The state’s target is a seven-day average positivity rate under 8 percent.

The county’s daily test-positivity rate was 8 percent, according to the county Public Health Department. 

There were 249 active cases in the county, and 6,154 people who have contracted the virus have fully recovered.

 New cases reported Aug. 3Active cases by areaTotal reported cases by area
South County: Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria17148
Santa Barbara and Mission Canyon441820
Isla Vista0853
Western Goleta Valley and Gaviota02108
Santa Ynez Valley0174
Lompoc, Vandenberg Village, Mission Hills225479
Lompoc federal correctional complex001,019
Santa Maria181182,929
North County: Guadalupe, Cuyama, New Cuyama, Garey, Casmalia, Sisquoc29264
Pending location426219
Santa Barbara County total 312496,464

Five additional inmates at the Main Jail are COVID-19 positive, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Raquel Zick said on Monday.

One inmate was COVID-19 positive at the time of arrest and was booked into the Main Jail on Sunday, according to Zick.

“The inmates’ COVID-19 condition was confirmed through community testing prior to booking,” she said. “The inmate was immediately housed in a negative-pressure room and is being medically monitored.”

Four inmates from the general population were COVID-19 positive through contact tracing from a previous positive case who had since been released, Zick said.

A total of 17 inmates in the affected housing area were tested on July 30, Zick said.

Four inmates tested positive over the weekend.

“The remaining 13 inmates from that housing area tested negative for COVID-19 and are being monitored,” Zick said.

There now have been 14 COVID-19 positive inmates who have been housed at the Main Jail.

During a COVID-19 briefing Monday in Sacramento, Calif., Gov. Gavin Newsom said the statewide 14-day positivity rate has dropped to 7 percent compared to 7.5 percent.

The seven-day average is down roughly 21.2 percent from the previous seven-day average, Newsom said.

“That’s some good news,” he added. 

The statewide numbers for hospitalizations and ICU rates also were trending down compared to a week ago, he said.

The number of hospitalizations statewide has declined about 10 percent over the most recent 14-day period, and a 5-percent drop in ICU admissions, Newsom said.

“These are statewide numbers,” Newsom said. “It doesn’t necessarily reflect the reality where you are living in a particular county, a particular part of the state.”

The decreases are encouraging signs, “but one week does not make the kind of trend that gives us confidence to generate headlines,” Newsom said.

He added,“We will need to see another few weeks of this kind of data to come in to feel more confident about where we are as a state.”

Newsom said there were now 38 of California’s 58 counties on the state’s coronavirus watchlist for at least three consecutive days, with Santa Barbara County remaining on the list.

Santa Barbara County has been on the governor’s monitoring list due to not meeting all of California’s monitoring metrics.

Santa Barbara County Public Health DepartmentAug. 3

Difference from previous day

Total positive cases6,464+ 31
COVID-19-related deaths 61+ 1
COVID-19 patients in county hospitals82– 4
COVID-19 ICU patients230
Total test results80,482+ 410
Seven-day average test positivity rate 9.6%– 0.1

In addition, Ansorg on Monday provided insight on wearing a mask during the pandemic and outlined how asymptomatic people can spread the virus to others.

“Studies have shown that people can be contagious in the first several days of having the virus, before they show symptoms,” Ansorg wrote in an article for the Public Health Department. 

Ansorg offered the do’s and don’ts of wearing a face covering, as well as other guidance to prevent getting the virus.

In a brief video on YouTube, Ansorg pushed the importance of face coverings to combat the coronavirus.

Click here to read Ansorg’s article on face masks.

Click here to read Ansorg’s article about the transmission of COVID-19 from asymptomatic people.

Ansorg has served as the county’s Public Health Officer since April 2019.

Over the past week, the county announced there were 28 COVID-19 deaths between April and July that had not previously been reported.

County officials attributed the error to a switch from a manual process to an online reporting system.

The county Public Health Department has reported nine COVID-19 deaths in April, four in May, 21 in June, and 27 in July.

There were 272 new infections confirmed in the county over the weekend — 215 on Saturday and 57 on Sunday.

Click here for Noozhawk’s Coronavirus Crisis section.

Click here for Noozhawk’s guide to understanding Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s data on COVID-19.

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.