Marian Regional Medical Center's 20-bed intensive care unit is unexpectedly quiet, despite being filled almost entirely with COVID-19 patients on a recent Thursday, but that's not unusual considering the majority are sedated and intubated.
This is the first of four stories in the series "COVID Hot Spot: an at-risk city" produced in partnership with the Center for Health Journalism, investigating the risk factors and decisions that allowed COVID-19 to spread disproportionately throughout Santa Maria over the past year and a half.
Graphic: Santa Maria household population compared to Santa Barbara County
This graphic highlights that Santa Maria COVID-19 patients were found to live in households with more people in them than in the rest of Santa…
As COVID-19 began to spread through Santa Maria in early 2020, some residents raised concerns that the city's information about preventive measures was not reaching a majority of the population.
Graphic: Santa Maria cases compared to Santa Barbara County
Santa Maria's population has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, holding approximately one quarter of the Santa Barbara…
Advocates and residents say that for essential workers living in cramped quarters, two of the most basic tenets of COVID prevention — social distancing and staying home from work when sick — were nearly impossible. In July 2020, Santa Maria City Councilwoman Gloria Soto called the situation for farmworkers a "ticking time bomb."
Graphic: COVID-19 outbreaks in Santa Barbara County's Ag industry
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported 2,143 COVID-19 cases among individuals in the agricultural workforce as of Sept. 22…
Graphic: Santa Maria cases per square mile
This map shared with the Santa Maria City Council in July 2020 outlines which square-mile areas in the city had the highest concentration of C…
Graphic: Coronavirus, and Covid-19 Vaccine percentages by ethnicity
This Santa Barbara County Public Health Department graph illustrates how different ethnicities are represented in the county's population comp…