Public health officials reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday, with nearly all of them in the North County.
Following recent trends, the city of Santa Maria had the most new cases with 10, bringing its total to 229, while the Lompoc federal prison complex reported eight new cases and a total of 971, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
The city of Santa Barbara and the unincorporated communities in the North County each had one new case, and details were lacking on a third.
Officials reported 56 active “community” cases and 519 active prison inmate cases.
Of the county’s total of 505 community cases, 432 have fully recovered (roughly 85 percent); 28 were recovering at home; 28 were being treated in local hospitals, including 11 in intensive care units; and information was pending on eight.
Eleven people in the county, including two inmates, have died from COVID-19, the most recent on May 8.
The county’s total number of cases stood at 1,517 on Tuesday.
Santa Maria has added 68 new cases in the last two weeks — far more than any other community — but officials say they have not been able to discern why.
The Public Health Department plans to “pivot” and work with residents, elected officials and others to understand why, and find creative solutions to slow down the spread, Director Van Do-Reynoso said.
Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said Monday night that epidemiologists are “stumped” as to why cases are more prevalent in Santa Maria than other areas of the county, adding that there seems to be no trend in age, income level, occupation, ethnicity, native language, or particular neighborhood.
“It is literally all over the area,” he said.