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Coronavirus cases climb to 13 in Santa Barbara County; SLO County reports 21

Coronavirus cases climb to 13 in Santa Barbara County; SLO County reports 21

Lompoc Health Care Center

Workers wait to screen visitors for potential COVID-19 infection at Santa Barbara County's Lompoc Health Care Center on Friday. Health workers are taking extra precautions against infecting medical personnel who are needed to take care of those who are ill with the disease.

Update March 23, 12:00 pm - The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported on Sunday that the number of individual cases of COVID-19 in the county was at 18 people. 

Find more information on their website, here

The number of COVID-19 cases in Santa Barbara County climbed to 13 Saturday with the addition of four new cases, while San Luis Obispo County officials reported the number there had climbed to 21 from the 13 reported Thursday.

As the state-issued shelter-at-home order takes full effect, law enforcement agencies have weighed in on what the order allows and how they intend to seek compliance, and are asking the public for restraint on filing complaints.

Two county supervisors plan to seek support for halting foreclosures and evictions, and the Children’s Resource Network is helping clothe needy families.

Here’s a brief roundup of events in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

New San Luis Obispo County cases identified

On Saturday afternoon, San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said that county has confirmed 21 cases of COVID-19, up from the 13 reported Thursday, with seven of those in the South County.

One person has been hospitalized but is stable, she said, and the rest are recovering at home. She said 11 of the people infected were in the 19 to 64 age range, and nine were 65 and older.

Tracing the sources, she said 12 of the cases were from travelers from outside the county, five were from person-to-person contact within a home and two were contracted from unknown sources within the community. Two were still being investigated.

Law enforcement focusing on education, not arrest

In a joint statement released Saturday, the Santa Barbara County Law Enforcement Chiefs Association said that while the shelter-at-home order could be enforced through citations and arrest, their agencies are encouraging personnel to educate the public and exercise discretion to obtain voluntary compliance.

The association represents the Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Hancock College, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and UCSB police departments, the County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the County District Attorney’s Office and County Probation Department.

The statement said the agencies are maintaining a unified approach to enforcing the state order that people remain in their homes until further notice, noting there are limited exceptions.

People working in 16 critical or essential infrastructure sectors may continue their work, and residents may leave their homes to obtain food, prescriptions and health care and for recreation as long as they maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals.

“Make no mistake, however, in understanding that we will be steadfast and diligent in seeking out and bringing to justice criminal offenders who attempt to take advantage of this situation,” the statement said.

In a separate statement issued Friday, Santa Maria Police Department Lt. Mark Streker said police dispatchers have had to deal with calls from concerned community members reporting other residents being outside their homes.

Streker asked residents not to call the Communications Center to express frustration about seeing other people outside.

He said “the Santa Maria Police Department will not be ordering residents out of parks or off of public walkways.”

Children’s Resource Network to help with clothing in Santa Maria

The Children’s Resource Network of the Central Coast announced its Traveling Children's Closet trailer will be at the Santa Maria Boys & Girls Club at 901 N. Railroad Ave. this Wednesday to provide clothing to the most vulnerable families.

Lisa Ray, founder and CEO of the nonprofit organization, said it is important for the safety of everyone that individuals stay in their vehicles at the drive-through distribution sites.

Families who do not have a car and are on foot are asked to maintain the 6-foot social separation from others at all times.

Ray said the organization is coordinating with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and the Boys & Girls Clubs to bring the trailer to their multiple sites in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

Supervisors seek support on blocking evictions

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to receive an update from County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato and health officials when it meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Board Hearing Room on the fourth floor of the County Administration Building at 105 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Board Chairman and 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart and 1st District Supervisor Das Williams said they intend to push fellow board members to approve an urgency ordinance preventing evictions of residential tenants and support a moratorium on foreclosures in the unincorporated areas of the county.