Wednesday Update: 440 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
By edhat staff
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) reports an additional 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county today. The total number of confirmed cases is 440.
Of the 11 new cases, none are attributed to the outbreak at the Lompoc prison. The ages range from 20's to 70 years old.
One hundred and eighty-six people are recovering at home, 41 are recovering in a hospital, 12 of whom are in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 194 have fully recovered, and 14 are pending an update. Five deaths have been reported. More information on each case can be found at publichealthsbc.org.
PHD Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg reported the COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU rates have remained at a steady level for two weeks. He attributed this to the community's efforts in staying at home and physical distancing. This is a step in the right direction to gradually reopen communities, however, the right timing is critical to prevent another surge, he said. Opening too soon could cause a second wave of COVID-19 that would likely be worse and more devestating than the first, according to Dr. Ansorg.
"In the beginning [of COVID-19 pandemic] we were so afriad the hospital would collapse locally... now we're comfortable, with the excellent efforts in the community, we've really avoided this nightmarish situation. It would really be a shame if, in the matter of a week or two, that would all be nullified by poor behavior," he said while urging people to continue physical distancing.
PHD Lab Director Dr. Stewart Comer announced the county has made arrangements with Vitalant, a blood provider, to start the recruitment for "convalescent plasma," or blood plasma donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19.
Along with the increased development of rapid tier one testing at all local hospitals, PHD is working to acquire antibody tests and should begin with Quest Diagnostics this coming Monday.
Letter to the Governor
Supervisor Gregg Hart confirmed the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to send a letter to Governor Newsom requesting assistance to complete his six point framework to reopen the economy.
Santa Barbara County does not meet the 500,000 population threshold to receive federal funding and Hart argues the county needs finanical assistance with the current revenue loss and COVID-19 related expenses nearing $40 million and growing.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Newsom announced due to the stabilization of hospitals, we can take the first step in loosening restrictions and begin scheduling surgeries. Comestic surgeries are still prohibited but essential non-emergency surgeries can resume.
Hart echoed Newsom's words by quoting the Governor's statement today when discussing the restrictions. “We have tried to make it crystal clear that there is no light switch,” Newsom said. “There is no date.”
Since the state does not have the proper testing capacity, it's still too early to lift the stay-at-home order, said Newsom. Restrictions are expected to loosen gradually and people, as well as businesses, will need to continue taking steps to avoid spreading the virus, he said.
Currently California's testing capacity is approximately 16,000 per day. A large improvement from the 2,000 tests per day a month ago, but nowhere near the 60,000 to 80,000 per day testing needed to ease the restrictions.
Newsom has been vocal about the limited supplies that are needed for testing and stated President Trump promised to send collection swabs each week.
Reopening Local Schools
The Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Susan Salcido, reported on four phases the county is working through to adjust to the COVID-19 crisis.
The first phase took place at the onset of the pandemic, where all public campuses were closed and the shift to online learning began. Districts began providing grab-and-go meals for students, passing out approximately 18,000 meals daily to students in the county.
The second phase is a deeper focus on distance learning, to modify and implement plans while providing devices and support online connectivity for students. Meals continue for students as well as childcare for essential workers. This is where we are now, said Dr. Salcido.
The third phase looks to the Governor and State Superintendents's orders to reopen campuses as well as consulting with PHD to determine factors that must be present before opening.
The fourth and final phase looks towards the future and possibly redesigning school systems post-COVID-19.
"I think all of us, when we look at this situation through a lens of hope and optimism, want to know that our systems, our thinking, ourselves, will be changed in the best of ways when we're on the other side of this," said Dr. Salcido. "Our school systems are similar in that we will want to reflect on what we've learned and to consider how we may apply that learning to ensure every child has every opportunity in our schools and in their futures."
Cottage Health Numbers
Below is a status update as of April 22, 2020.
· Cottage Health is caring for a total of 196 patients across all campuses.
· 147 are acute care patients; 226 acute care beds remain available.
· In surge planning, capacity is identified for adding 270 acute care beds.
· Of the 147 patients, 12 patients are on ventilators; 56 ventilators remain available (adult, pediatric and neonatal ventilators)
· Of the 147 patients, 17 are in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms; 9 are confirmed COVID-19 positive.
· Of 17 patients in isolation, 7 patients are in critical care.
· Cottage has collected 2,438 cumulative test samples: 182 resulted in positive, 2,149 resulted in negative, and 107 are pending. In most of these tests, patients did not require hospital admission.
PDL Opens COVID-19 Testing Site for Scheduled Appointments
To increase COVID-19 testing access for symptomatic individuals in the community, Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories (PDL) has established a designated location for COVID-19 testing of patients with provider referral. The site for test specimen collection is in the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital parking lot opened
April 21. Below are details for accessing this testing:
· Testing will be done by appointment only. Patients must receive a referral from their health care provider (physician or nurse practitioner).
· No walk-in patients will be accepted. Patients must have an order for the test before arriving at the site.
· The site is in a PDL tent in the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital parking lot (351 S. Patterson Ave). Patients with appointments for COVID-19 testing should arrive at this outdoor site only. No other PDL locations are currently offering testing.
· Patients must wear a face mask to the site. In accordance with public health requirements, the patient and patient’s household members are required to isolate until a negative test result is received.
· Expected turnaround time for results is 24-72 hours. Patients who test positive will be notified by their primary care physician.
More COVID-19 resources and updates are available at cottagehealth.org/covid19