Staff Report

Santa Barbara County is reporting the first death as a result of COVID-19. Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg at a press briefing on April 1. Henning said the patient who died at Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, lived in the northern part of the county, was in their 60s, and had underlying health conditions.

“Their system is weaker and more likely they will have a more severe form of this virus unfortunately,” Ansorg said. 

There has been 12 new positive cases of coronavirus as of April 1, which brings the county’s total of confirmed cases to 111. Of that 65 are recovering are home, 17 are in the hospital with 13 in the ICU and 23 are fully recovered, according to public health officials. 

Ansorg said that while age is not a disease, it is the senior citizen population of 75-years and older that is suffering the most from this virus and are the most at risk. Also those with any underlying health concerns from kidney failure, diabetes, heart conditions, anyone who needs medication to suppress the immune system and a few congenital conditions are at risk as well. 

“Now more than ever we need to practice social distancing and continue washing our hands,” Ansorg added. 

Also at the briefing Alana Walczak of CALM said there has been an increase in abuse and domestic violence situations. 

“Even in typically healthy relationships there is this added element of stress and we can help families going through this situation. Parents are now supposed to be teachers, support and working which adds even more stress which can trigger people,” Walczak said. 

There are CALM offices in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara to contact for resources and referrals for those who will be jugging grief and trauma from this as we hear of these losses, Walczak added. 


On the business side of this epidemic the county officials added people should check their website dedicated to helping those going through economic and financial hardships. 

Santa Barbara County has created a new section at dedicated to COVID-19 economic recovery (
The Workforce Development Board of Santa Barbara County is organizing efforts and gathering federal, state and local assistance programs that are available to small business owners, employers, employees and residents. The website features the latest information and resources for both businesses and individuals affected by the
COVID-19 pandemic.

As information regarding businesses and workforce assistance is changing day by day, the site will be updated frequently to reflect the most up-to-date information available. The County encourages those needing assistance to visit and contact staff by email at

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