Santa Barbara County has confirmed 15 new coronavirus cases for a total of 47, with San Luis Obispo County confirming a total of 59, officials from both county Public Health Departments said at press conferences Friday.
Of the 15 new cases, two are in Santa Maria, two are in Goleta, nine are in Santa Barbara, one is in the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota, and one is in other South County cities, which include Montecito, Carpinteria and Summerland.
The 15 new patients range from children under 10 years old to adults in their 70s.
Friday's case count marks the most dramatic daily rise in numbers yet in Santa Barbara County. However, county Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said the increase is expected due to the widespread nature of cases.
"As you can see, we are experiencing a significant uptick in confirmed cases in the county. This is an expected development due to the rapid spread of the virus," Ansorg said.
Of the 47 cases, 11 have fully recovered, 31 are recovering at home, and five have been hospitalized, with three of the five in the ICU.
"Thankfully we have not had any fatalities due to COVID-19," Ansorg said.
Faster turnaround on testing results in a Ventura County public health lab have greatly helped Santa Barbara County to identify confirmed cases among medical staff and prevent further spread, Ansorg added.
"Our turnaround time for lab results has improved dramatically. We have had the ability to get 24-hour turnaround or less in very high [priority] cases," he said.
Quest Labs and Labcorp, two locations where the county sends many of its samples for testing, have also increased their range of testing with new facilities. These improvement also add to the increased turnaround on county results, Ansorg said.
Public Health Officials from both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties have reinforced that the stated case numbers are likely lower than the actual number of cases in the county, as not all test results from commercial labs are reported immediately to public health departments.
"This case count could be misleading because of the small numbers, and also is not necessarily reflective of the full outbreak," San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Penny Borenstein said of the county's 59 confirmed cases.
Officials from both counties restated the importance of staying at home except for exercise and necessary outings, and eliminating gatherings entirely.
It was also announced Friday that Vandenberg Air Force Base will be working closely with the Public Health Department, after one of the Santa Maria individuals confirmed for coronavirus was discovered to be the spouse of an airman at the base, according to the 30th Space Wing public affairs office.
Laura Place covers city government for the Santa Maria Times.
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