Officials Discuss New COVID-19 Cases, Reopening, and Remdesivir

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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) officials discussed the plan to reopen the county, new COVID-19 cases, and therapeutic drug Remdesivir during Monday's press conference.

The county reported 22 new cases with 15 of those in the community and 7 at the Federal Prison in Lompoc. The total has now reached 1,496 with 533 in the community. 

Of the 533 community cases, 426 have recovered, 62 are quarantined at home, 27 are hospitalized with 11 in the intensive care unit (ICU), 9 are pending information.

PHD Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg confirmed the hospitalization and ICU rates remain stable throughout the county.

Based on the results from the community testing sites, 1-2% of the population has been in contact with COVID-19, leaving most of us susceptible, said Dr. Ansorg. 

Receiving Remdesivir

Officials confirmed last week the county received an allotment of Remdesivir, the broad-spectrum antiviral drug that was recently approved as a treatment for COVID-19.  

The county received ten doses, although six doses are required for minimal treatment, officials determined which cases had the greatest need and sent them to Marian Regional Medical in Santa Maria and Lompoc Hospital. 

Another larger shipment of the drug is currently en route to Cottage Hospital and one patient has been identified who could benefit from this treatment, said Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons.

While Fitzgibbons was skeptical about the drug making a huge difference based on the data, she said although improvements are subtle it's another tool in the toolbelt to fight the illness

Reopening the County

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart confirmed the outbreak at the Lompoc Prison will not count against the county's data. Along with the Governor's clarified guidelines, the county should meet the requirements to reopen at an accelerated pace within Phase 2. 

The Board of Supervisors will meet Tuesday morning to submit the documentation to begin this process, however, it's unclear when this will be completed. If approved, more businesses such as dine-in restaurants and shopping centers will be able to reopen with modifications. The full list can be viewed here

On Friday the county published its Reopening In Safe Environment (RISE) guide as a localized supplement to the Governor's roadmap.

Additionally, Hart confirmed new lines of communication have been opened between the county and the Bureau of Federal Prisons for potential collaboration regarding the outbreak.

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