Santa Barbara Co. reports 12th COVID-19 death, announces face mask mandate

Posted at 4:59 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 01:07:27-04

Santa Barbara County officials reported a 12th death attributed to COVID-19 on Friday and announced an order mandating the use of face coverings.

Health officials say the person who died lived in Santa Maria, was in their 70s, and had underlying health conditions.

The county also reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including one case at the federal prison in Lompoc.

One case that was previously noted has been determined not to be a case and was removed from the overall case count, which is now 1,551.

Health officials say that of the 580 community cases, 80 percent, or 463 people, have recovered.

Another 27 people are hospitalized, including ten patients who are in the ICU.

A new countywide order mandating the use of face coverings in certain situations will go into effect next Tuesday, May 26, at 5 p.m.

People will be required to wear a face covering under the following circumstances:

  • When inside of or in line to enter any and all businesses
  • When using public transportation, a private car service, or a ride-sharing vehicle. Drivers of these services must also wear a face covering while driving or operating vehicles regardless of whether a member of the public is in the vehicle
  • All businesses must require employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face covering at the workplace and at off-site work locations

The order does not apply to people who are unable to wear a face covering because of medical reasons or children under the age of 13. Those who work by themselves or at a business that is not open to the public will also be exempt.

The order will be in place until 5 p.m. on June 30, 2020, or until it is rescinded or extended by the County Health Officer.

To read the full order, click here.

Health officials are continuing to encourage the public to take advantage of free coronavirus testing. Three testing sites are open to the community in Santa Barbara County -- at the Santa Maria Fairpark, the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, and the Anderson Recreation Center in Lompoc.

Appointments are required at all testing sites. To make an appointment, visit or call 888-634-1123.

Each site can perform about 130 tests per day. According to the Lompoc Valley Medical Center, the Lompoc site has so far been underutilized and if the number of tests conducted there remains low, it could be moved to another location.

For more information on the county's COVID-19 response, visit