The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported the deaths of three additional residents this week from COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the illness to 539.

According to county public health data, the deaths reported on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday included one Santa Maria resident over the age of 70 and two Lompoc residents, one between the ages of 30 and 49 and another over the age of 70.

Twenty-seven county residents were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Friday, including eight residents receiving treatment in the intensive care unit, according to county data.

Residents are encouraged to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent against severe illness and death from the virus. All individuals age 5 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated.

Around 65% of eligible county residents are fully vaccinated, while 73% have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Over 3,500, or 9%, of county youth age 5 to 11 have now received a dose of the vaccine since the age group became eligible in early November. 

The vaccine is free and health insurance is not required. To find a nearby vaccination site, visit myturn.ca.gov.

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