Santa Barbara County has reported 110 COVID-19-related deaths, and on Friday announced that a Santa Maria resident in the 18-29 age range has passed away from the disease, the youngest to date.

The Public Health Department said the person “had an underlying medical condition,” but did not disclose when the person died or any other information.

The majority of local deaths have been reported in elderly residents, and that toll was heavily affected by fatal outbreaks in skilled-nursing homes and other congregate-living facilities.

However, recently reported deaths have been trending younger.

Of the 13 deaths reported in the past two weeks, nine of them were among people younger than 70, and three of them were younger than 50.

Age RangeCOVID-19-Related Deaths Reported in Santa Barbara County

The Public Health Department also reported 43 new positive cases on Friday, for a cumulative total of 8,846.

There are 180 identified active cases, which means they recently tested positive and are still considered infectious with the novel coronavirus.

Santa Barbara County will need to report fewer daily new cases to advance to the next state reopening tier — which allows in-person school classes, indoor restaurants and gyms to open — and public health officials continue to encourage people to social distance, avoid gatherings, and wear face coverings when around other people.

The continued downward trend in COVID-19 hospital patients is a good sign, according to public health officials, and 23 patients were reported on Friday. That’s the lowest number since April 2.

The number of intensive care unit patients — 4 — is the lowest since March 28 — just three days after the county started tracking it.

hospitalizations chart for sept 18

Santa Barbara County reported 23 COVID-19-positive patients in its three hospitals on Friday, the lowest number since April 2.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk illustration)

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital had six confirmed COVID-19 patients Friday, including one in intensive care, Lompoc Valley Medical Center reported one COVID-19 patient, and the other 16 people are patients at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Click here to view the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department COVID-19 information pages.

Click here for Noozhawk’s Coronavirus section. 

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