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Santa Barbara County confirms 88 coronavirus cases, highest case count in county now in Santa Maria
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Santa Barbara County confirms 88 coronavirus cases, highest case count in county now in Santa Maria

Santa Barbara County has confirmed 20 new coronavirus cases for a total of 88, following a trend anticipated by public health officials of cases doubling every few days, officials said at a Monday press conference

San Luis Obispo County, which prior to Monday had the most cases between San Jose and Ventura before being surpassed by Santa Barbara County, has confirmed a total of 77 cases. 

Of the 20 new cases in Santa Barbara County, nine are in Santa Maria, one is in Orcutt, six are in North County areas, three are in Lompoc and one is in Santa Barbara, officials said. These individuals range from teens to people in their 70s, they added. 

With this updated case count, Santa Maria now has the highest number of cases in the county with 24, followed closely by Santa Barbara with 22. 

Fourteen individuals have been hospitalized, with 10 receiving treatment in intensive care units, officials said. There are no COVID-19-related fatalities in the county at this time. 

County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said the case increase, which rose from 47 to 88 since Friday, follows a trend that has taken place in other parts of the country that the county was anticipating. 

"We expected a doubling of cases over three to five days, and that is almost exactly what happened," Ansorg said. 

Over the weekend, public health officials met to discuss best and worst case scenarios for the spread of the virus in the county, Ansorg said. According to their projections, the only factor that would make a considerable difference between the best and worst possible rates of spread is how people maintain distance from one another, he said.

Ansorg also noted that large gatherings of family members or friends, either at public places such as restaurants or at private homes, are not safe at this time due to the rapid spread of the virus. 

"I encourage you to discontinue these behaviors immediately. They are dangerous at this time," Ansorg said. 

Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart announced at the press conference that the county is in the process of obtaining 1 million N95 masks to meet a rising need for personal protective equipment in clinics and hospitals throughout the county. 

County District Attorney Joyce Dudley also spoke to the rising reports of various forms of domestic violence throughout the county since shelter-at-home went into effect, and the importance of reporting dangerous situations to local authorities.

"People are frustrated and anxious and don't know when the end is in sight. All this tension and frustration can lead to violence," Dudley said. "You must call 911 if you live in one of these homes." 

Dudley also recommended for those unsure of who to call about violent situations in their homes including elder abuse, animal abuse, child abuse, and spousal rape to call 211, or to contact the Family Services Agency at 805-965-1001.

Laura Place covers city government for the Santa Maria Times.

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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The following is taken from the Santa Maria Police Department's calls-for-service log and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office daily arrest log. Those appearing as "arrested" are only suspected of the crime indicated but are presumed innocent.

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