County hospitalization graph

Santa Barbara County COVID-19-positive hospitalizations continue to fall, with 59 people reported on Tuesday, according to the Public Health Department. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk illustration)

The number of COVID-19-positive hospital patients has declined 32.9 percent in the past two weeks, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, which also has reported a declining rate of new positive cases being reported overall.

One COVID-19-related death was reported Tuesday, bringing the countywide total to 81. There were also 29 new positive cases reported.

The person was a resident of a congregate-living facility in the area of Santa Barbara and Mission Canyon within the 50-69 age range, according to department officials, who are not disclosing the names of specific facilities.

The Public Health Department has reported 22 deaths in August, although officials will not say when the deaths occurred, and it is likely some were delayed reporting from July.

Ten of the 22 recent deaths were residents in undisclosed congregate-living facilities, including skilled nursing homes.

State records show that six local skilled nursing facilities are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. Resident deaths have been reported at Alto Lucero Transitional Care in Santa Barbara, Buena Vista Care Center in Santa Barbara, Country Oaks Care Center in Santa Maria, the Lompoc Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Care Center, Marian Extended Care in Santa Maria and the Valle Verde Health Facility in Santa Barbara.

Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the department will consider waiver applications from K-6 schools that want to reopen in-person learning.

State health orders mandate distance learning for schools within counties on the monitoring list for failing to meet metrics related to novel coronavirus spread, but they allow counties to grant waivers to qualifying K-6 schools.

Public Health officials in Santa Barbara County, which has been on the monitoring list for two months, previously said they would not accept any waiver applications because of the increasing rate of new cases. 

Many local school districts are starting their year of classes this week, or will soon, and all K-12 students are starting off remotely.

Santa Barbara County Public Health DepartmentAug. 18

Difference from previous day

Total positive cases7,48129
COVID-19-related deaths 81+ 1
COVID-19 patients in county hospitals59– 3
COVID-19 ICU patients22unchanged
Total test results98,927+ 694
Seven-day average test positivity rate 5.1%+0.5%

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com.