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Santa Barbara County recovery rate rises; Santa Barbara, SLO counties draft reopening plans
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Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County recovery rate rises; Santa Barbara, SLO counties draft reopening plans

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Santa Barbara County confirmed two new COVID-19 cases Monday for a total of 473, with nearly 70% of the cases now recovered. 

Of the county's total case count, 99 individuals are recovering at home and 38 are recovering in the hospital, 11 of which are in intensive care, according to county data. 

Public health officials have expressed relief at hospitalization rates stablizing over the last weeks, without overwhelming county hospitals and medical centers. 

"Our COVID-19 related hospitalization rate and ICU admission rate has remained stable over the weekend, which again is directly related to our efforts as a county with maintaining physical distancing," Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said Monday. 

Reporting COVID-related deaths

Seven individuals have died in the county. The most recent death, a resident in their 70s from the area of Goleta Valley and Gaviota with underlying health conditions, was announced Saturday. 

Santa Barbara Public Health has begun reporting the cities of residence for individuals who have died in connection with the coronavirus rather than just designations of "North County" or "South County," Ansorg said. 

Of the six other deaths so far in the county, two individuals were from the city of Goleta, one from Lompoc, one was an inmate of the Federal Penitentiary in Lompoc, one was from Santa Maria, and one was from the unincorporated area of North County.

Some small cities continue to be grouped in larger categories by county area when announcing cases and deaths. 

Phased reopening 

County officials continue to work in a task force to develop a phased reopening plan for businesses in the county, which can take effect once Gov. Gavin Newsom lifts the state stay-at-home order, Ansorg said. 

"The Public Health Department, joined by medical experts and business leaders, have met today for ... planning how to best transition into the next phase of easing out of the stay-at-home order locally," Ansorg said. "We want to make sure that we have a plan in place and are ready once the qualifying criteria for reopening have been met."

In neighboring San Luis Obispo County, Public Health Officer Penny Borenstein said Monday that a group of stakeholders is crafting a draft framework for the phased reopening of county businesses, which will be released to the public on Friday.

However, the county will wait for the go-ahead from the governor's office to implement the plan, Borenstein said. 

San Luis Obispo County confirmed three additional cases over the weekend for a total of 169, with daily numbers dropping following a three-day period of increased numbers. 

Last week's brief spike in daily case numbers in San Luis Obispo County is not a point of great concern for the Public Health Department, Borenstein said, as long as county data shows a two-week trendline with a general decrease in overall cases. 

"What we want to see from a Public Health standpoint is that cases do not increase over a 14-day period. Yes, we’ve had a small uptick, but we want to see trendlines," Borenstein said. 

Laura Place covers city government for the Santa Maria Times.

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