The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said Friday there are two additional COVID-19-related deaths in Santa Barbara County, as well as 75 new cases of the virus.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, director of the county's Public Health Department, said the two COVID-19 patients who died were in their 70s and lived in the Santa Maria area.
Health officials said there are 345 active COVID-19 cases in the county, with a 42 percent increase in cases over the last two weeks.
Nearly 90 percent of all cases in Santa Barbara County have fully recovered; 57 percent of cases were transmitted person-to-person and 42 percent of cases were transmitted via community spread, said Do-Reynoso.
In utilizing contact tracing, health officials said they found the newest cases were mostly due to the reopening of businesses in June, as well as large gatherings from Father's Day, Fourth of July and funeral and church services. Community members were also exposed to the virus by interacting with close contacts, such as parents, close friends, coworkers and roommates, according to Do-Reynoso.
Gregg Hart, chair of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and second district supervisor, said since the public health department's last press conference, COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the county have also increased from 64 percent to 80 percent, with 23 COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit.
"These numbers show the virus is very active in our community right now," said Hart.
Santa Barbara County health officials said in the past two weeks, community testing sites have been heavily booked, with many missed appointments.
To accommodate at-risk community members, Nick Clay, director of the county's EMS Agency, said those who want to be tested for the virus should defer getting tested at this time so more patients who need to get tested may do so.