090921-smt-news-marian-icu-008

An intensive care unit bed at Marian Regional Medical Center briefly sits empty on a September 2021 morning, with doctors predicting it would be filled with another severely ill COVID-19 patient by that night. 

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is reporting a dwindling supply of intensive care beds as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge, along with the deaths of four additional residents from COVID-19 over a two-day period.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to skyrocket, although intensive care unit admissions for the disease are not following the same curve at this point. As of Thursday, 150 residents were hospitalized with severe COVID-19 illness, including 14 in the ICU, according to county data. 

Still, overall ICU and hospital bed usage has entered the "danger zone," with 95.7% of the 70 total staffed ICU beds in the county currently occupied. This figure does not include the county's ICU surge beds, six of which are also in use, according to county data.

When it comes to the county's 595 total non-ICU hospital beds, 81.9% are currently in use.

The four additional deaths reported Thursday include two Santa Maria residents, one from Orcutt and another from Goleta. Two individuals were over the age of 70, another between the ages of 50 and 69, and one between the ages of 30 and 49, according to county public health data.

Confirmed county deaths from COVID-19 now total 582, an overall increase of 3% since the beginning of the year. 

Just under 70% of all eligible residents in Santa Barbara County — those age 5 and older — are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Thursday, meaning they have completed their initial single- or two-dose vaccine series.

Health officials encourage vaccinations to prevent against severe illness and death from COVID-19. To find a nearby vaccine, visit myturn.ca.gov.

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