An additional 98 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Santa Barbara County with 333 cases known to still be active, the county Public Health Department reported Tuesday.
At a press conference, Public Health officials clarified the exact meaning of the identifier "active." According to Public Health Director Van Do-Reynoso, a case is considered active and still infectious if less than 10 days have passed from either the onset of symptoms or the testing date.
However, there are likely more active cases than what is reported by the department, Do-Reynoso said.
"I'd like to highlight that these are just the identified cases - we know there are other cases in the community that have not been identified," she said. "So, active cases do not give us the whole picture."
As of Tuesday, the number of cases confirmed among county residents is 4,920, with over half of these located in Santa Maria, according to county data.
Of the 80 individuals hospitalized for the virus, 25 are in the ICU, Do-Reynoso said.
Alco Harvesting H-2A housing outbreak
New COVID-19 cases have also been confirmed in an outbreak among H-2A workers in Santa Maria, at housing sites operated by labor contractor Alco Harvesting.
According to Do-Reynoso, 85 cases have now been confirmed among employees, who are spread between three partially-converted motels.
One employee confirmed for the virus, a truck driver who was living in one of the motels, has died.
The case count has more than doubled since the last update on July 17, when 40 employees had tested positive for the virus and were subsequently quarantined.
While agricultural employees are quarantined and recovering from COVID-19, state law requires growers and labor contractors to pay workers sick leave, Do-Reynoso added.
Alco is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor and Cal/OSHA as a result of the outbreak.
COVID-19 cases by area
Santa Maria continues to hold the highest rates of COVID-19 in the county, with 167 active cases as of Tuesday and 2,677 total cases. A total of 18 individuals have died, 11 of whom died in connection with a COVID-19 outbreak at Country Oaks Care Center.
The community of Orcutt has 12 active cases out of 192 confirmed thus far. No individuals have died in the area.
In the city of Lompoc, 35 out of 425 cases remain active. Four residents have died.
The Santa Ynez Valley has four active cases and has seen a total of 67. No residents have died.
No active cases exist at the Federal Penitentiary in Lompoc, where 1,011 cases were confirmed and four individuals died.
COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County
In neighboring San Luis Obispo County, 45 additional cases were confirmed Tuesday, along with the deaths of two more individuals in connection with the virus for a total of 11 deaths in the county.
According to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department, the two individuals were both residents at Vineyard Hills Health Center in Templeton, and died in connection with an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Both individuals were in their 80s and had underlying health conditions, the department stated.
Currently, 417 cases are considered active in the county, out of 1,689 cases confirmed thus far.
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