Santa Barbara County added 696 new cases of COVID-19 over three days, bringing the county's total to 13,557 confirmed cases as of December 14.
The 360 cases reported on Monday mark the highest single-day case count in Santa Barbara County since the start of the pandemic. The second-highest daily case count was 310 cases reported on May 8.
Another 191 cases were added on Saturday and 145 cases were added on Sunday.
County Public Health officials say the surge in cases comes just over two weeks after the Thanksgiving holiday and is directly related to gatherings of family and friends.
"Today's positive case count surpasses any daily count we have seen to date, and underscores the predictions we have anticipated if people continue to gather with those outside of their immediate households," said Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department Director.
Local health officials say they are working as quickly as possible on contact tracing the newly positive cases but that resources are being stretched thin. They are pleading with community members who test positive for the virus to stay away from other people.
"We have reached case counts that exceed all previous records," Dr. Do-Reynoso said in a press release issued Monday. "It is imperative that each individual take action now and stay home. We are reaching a point where we can see on the horizon our health care system being overrun. We must take immediate action as our decisions are now seeing the price to be paid, and it is costing the lives and wellbeing of our community members."
Seventy-five people are currently hospitalized, including 21 patients who are in the ICU. Health officials say 12,477 people have recovered.
Santa Barbara County has had 140 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Breakdown of cases by location:
- Santa Maria - 5,105
- Santa Barbara - 1,912
- Lompoc - 1,398
- Lompoc federal prison - 1,031
- Orcutt - 617
- Isla Vista - 569
- Guadalupe and North County unincorporated areas (Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama, New Cuyama) - 563
- Goleta - 465
- Unincorporated Goleta Valley and Gaviota - 362
- Carpinteria and South County unincorporated areas (Montecito, Summerland) - 358
- Santa Ynez Valley (Solvang, Buellton, Santa Ynez, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Ballard) - 294
Additional cases are listed as "pending" location.
Three free community coronavirus testing sites are open in Santa Maria, Buellton, and Goleta.
Additional testing will be available at the Public Health Testing Site in Santa Maria from Tuesday, Dec. 15 through Friday, Dec. 18.
Appointments are required at all locations. Click here for information on how to make an appointment.
For more information on the county's COVID-19 response, visit publichealthsbc.org.