First Coronavirus Death Hits Santa Barbara County
Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria (Photo: Dignity Health)
By edhat staff
Santa Barbara County Public Health officials confirm one person died from the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Wednesday as the total confirmed cases increases to 111.
The victim was described as a North County resident in their 60's with an underlying health condition. They passed away at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria after being placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) and on a ventilator.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of this patient,” said Santa Barbara County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg. “While we have expected more cases, this death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this disease, and one that we never wanted to see.”
As of 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, there were 12 new cases bringing the total confirmed COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara County to 111. Of those cases, 65 are recovering at home, 17 are hospitalized with 13 of those in the ICU, 23 have fully recovered, and 6 are pending. The full details of the 12 new cases can be found here.
Dr. Henning Ansorg confirmed anything that weakens the immune system is considered an underlying condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders, or any medication that suppresses the immune system.
He also stated local hospitals are not filled to their maximum capacity and have the ability to expand to surge capacity if necessary. Officials do not expect alternative care sites to be needed before May, but they will be ready in the next week or so. The former Lompoc hospital building will be reopened to handle overflow patients.
All commercial lab testing sites have accelerated their testing to a 48 hour turnaround time. Santa Barbara Public Health is awaiting a supply shipment so that testing may begin in-house. Once the supplies are received, they should be able to start testing in a week.
Cottage Hospital Numbers
Before the press conference Wednesday, Cottage Health released numbers and information on their capacity and preparation for a surge of COVID-19 patients.
Overall, Cottage is currently caring for 135 patients. A total of 238 beds remain available. In their surge planning, they identified capacity for adding 270 acute care beds.
Of the current 135 patients, 11 patients are on ventilators; 49 ventilators remain available (adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilators). In the entire county, there are 85 ventilators available with an additional 25 surge ventilators on hand.
Cottage Health reports of their 135 patients, 26 patients are in isolation for COVID-19 symptoms which includes 7 in critical care. Santa Barbara County Public Health reports only 17 cases are hospitalized with 13 of those in the ICU. It's unclear if some of the 26 reported patients at Cottage Health are awaiting their test results.
In total, Cottage has collected 1,046 cumulative test samples: 52 resulted in positive, 790 resulted in negative, and 204 are pending. The numbers provided by the Public Health Department are lower with only 901 total tests reported as of Wednesday evening.
Additionally, Cottage Health plans to increase staffing by utilizing retired nurses and physicians. These supplementary healthcare workers will be assisted with provided daycare and, where applicable, may also engage in remote work. Additionally, there will be cross-training of employees, increase in hiring of employees, and utilization of partner resources.
Cottage Health’s Infection Prevention & Control Department, in conjunction with infectious disease specialists, has been working closely with care teams to conserve necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). Obtaining additional supplies of PPE continues to be a challenge.
Ventura & San Luis Obispo
As of Wednesday evening, Ventura County reported 160 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 5 deaths. Out of the total 160 cases, 31 have recovered, 34 were hospitalized, and 124 are under an active hospitalization.
Additionally, the Ventura County Public Health Officer announced all parks and beaches in the City of Ventura will be closed until further notice in order to support the urgent need for physical distancing during the COVID-19 emergency period. This includes the Promenade, Pier, and Wastewater Treatment Plant wildlife ponds.
In San Luis Obispo County, there are 83 confirmed cases with 10 hospitalizations and 0 deaths as of Wednesday.