Eighth COVID-19 Death Reported as Public Health Reveals New Testing Centers
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) reported its eighth COVID-19 related death as new testing centers open throughout the county.
During a press conference on Wednesday, PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso expressed condolences to the family and loved ones of the individual who passed. This person was described as being in their 60s with underlying health conditions who lived in Santa Maria.
Additionally, eight new cases were reported bringing the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases to 485 in the county. Of the total, 360 people have fully recovered, 81 are quarantined at home, 33 are hospitalized with 11 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and 3 are pending an update.
Beginning the week of, May 4th an initial COVID-19 testing site will be opened in the city of Santa Maria. Residents in Santa Barbara County will be able to be screened for community-based COVID-19 testing. If a community member is eligible, the person can schedule an appointment for in-person COVID-19 testing. Testing will happen by appointment only. No walk ins will be tested.
Persons living throughout Santa Barbara County can call or go online by this upcoming weekend to be screened for symptoms and risk factors, and if they are eligible they will be scheduled for an appointment in the city of Santa Maria. If you are acutely ill with COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your medical provider and remain at home. This location will be the first of three Community-Based Testing Sites coming to Santa Barbara County. These sites have been identified by the state of California and are supported by state and local resources. Future sites will be opened in Lompoc, CA and Santa Barbara, CA in the coming weeks.
“Our county welcomes this new testing opportunity and is pleased to expand access to our community members,” said Dr. Do-Reynoso. “This expanded COVID-19 testing option will be in Santa Barbara County for the next few months and possibly longer. Testing services will cycle through key locations identified by the State. With additional testing, will also come expanded contact tracing and increased resources dedicated to safe quarantine and isolation housing, if needed. We are here to support our community through every step that comes after being tested for COVID-19.”
As a California Community-Based Testing Site, residents will be able to screen their symptoms and risk-factors online or by phone, and if eligible, schedule a testing appointment. Persons with one or more COVID-19 symptoms and asymptomatic, essential workers will be prioritized. More information about how to be screened and how to schedule an appointment will be forthcoming later this week.
Marian Regional Medical and Cottage Hospitals are seeking COVID-19 patients that have fully recovered and are interested in donating blood plasma. The “convalescent plasma,” blood component that contains antibodies, may give patients an extra boost to fight their illness.
There are currently 11 people in the ICU battling COVID-19 and PHD Lab Director Dr. Stewart Comer is urging people to help if they can.
For those interested in volunteering, contact Marian Hospital at 805-739-3333 x 2272 or Cottage Hospital at 805-569-7818.
There are numerous reports of "Re-Open California" protests planned throughout the state this weekend. Santa Maria and Ventura have been added to the list of locations with maps designating areas for people to meet and express their frustration with Governor Newsom's stay-at-home order. Officials urge the public to abide by the Governor's order which prohibits large gatherings as they maximize the potential to spread COVID-19.
Dr. Do-Reynoso discouraged such an event. "I understand restlessness and the economic impact, however, out of an abundance of caution, I urge everyone not to participate," she said.
County Supervisor Gregg Hart, on the other hand, stated people have the right to protest as long as they do so while practicing social distancing and remain vigilant about their own health and those of others.
Ventura and SLO Counties
Ventura County is reporting 9 new cases bringing their total to 517. Of those, 366 have recovered, 134 are under quarantine, 26 are hospitalized with 10 in the ICU, and there have been 17 deaths.
In San Luis Obispo County, there are 181 total cases. Of those 135 have recovered, 40 are under quarantine, 5 are hospitalized, and there has been 1 death.