Coronavirus Series: Local impact and reaction to COVID-19 on the Central Coast

Coronavirus Series: Local impact and reaction to COVID-19 on the Central Coast

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We are working hard to get answers about the impact and reaction to the coronavirus in Santa Barbara County, this is a collection of those stories. Do you have a question about coronavirus in Santa Barbara County? The Santa Maria Times news staff will work to answer your questions. Post them to our Facebook page, or email  You can support the work of local journalists working hard in your hometown by signing up for a News+ Membership online

(97) updates to this series since Updated

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Principal Paul Bommersbach began work late last week on a mural on the southern wall of the Lompoc High gym that includes the names of the 360 members of this year’s senior class, as well as a couple messages of support for the class. That move is in addition to a large banner that the school has begun publicly displaying around the city to congratulate the class on its accomplishments, despite what turned out to be an abbreviated final year.

“At first, calls were for general information, such as ‘What is COVID-19?’ and ‘Who is at risk?’” said 2-1-1 program manager Elisa Pardo. “Shortly after the first week of shelter-at-home [orders], it was inquiries for food information, child care resources, rent assistance, utility assistance and general financial assistance.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court officials on Friday extended the closure of nonessential services until May 23 and restricted facilities to certain personnel, who are now required to wear face masks, gloves and practice social/physical distancing when entering court facilities due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lompoc Valley Festival Association announced Wednesday that it had called off what would have been the 68th annual Lompoc Flower Festival, which had been scheduled for June 24 through 28. The announcement came just six weeks after the organization also canceled this year’s SpringFest celebration, which was slated for mid-April.

Lompoc High student Jennifer Ayala took out a $1,000 loan this year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase a pig with the intent of selling it, ideally for a profit, at auction during this summer’s Santa Barbara County Fair. With the coronavirus outbreak threatening the likelihood of the fair, Ayala is now scrambling to find a buyer as soon as possible so she can repay that loan.

Jimmie Lee Houston, 75, was initially evaluated by prison health services staff on April 8, according to the Bureau of Prisons, and was transported to an area hospital for treatment due to a low oxygen saturation level. He reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on a ventilator on April 11. He died Wednesday.