By Giana Magnoli 

Noozhawk Managing Editor


Fifty new COVID-19 cases were reported Friday as well as an increase in community member hospitalizations, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. 

The county also announced the death of a Lompoc resident in their 60s. 

Public Health officials have not yet acknowledged the May 25 death of Lompoc prison inmate Mohamed Yusuf, 37, which was reported by the Bureau of Prisons. 

They are waiting on an autopsy to “ensure it was a death in a person that still had COVID-19,” spokeswoman Jackie Ruiz said earlier this week. “Our reporting only reflects persons that still had COVID-19 at the time of their death.” 

As of Friday, there have been 16 COVID-19 deaths in Santa Barbara County, including Yusuf, and 1,787 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

Of the 50 newly-reported cases, 45 were in Santa Maria, two were in unincorporated North County, two were in Santa Barbara, and one was in the Lompoc federal correctional complex. 

The county’s total number of hospitalizations was decreasing last week, due to the declining number of Lompoc federal correctional complex inmates in local hospitals.

The Bureau of Prisons set up a 20-person facility to care for ill inmates, but is not disclosing how many are patients there.  

However, community member hospitalizations have been increasing this week, with 39 reported on Friday, including 10 people in intensive care units.

It was 28 people last Friday.  

The Public Health Department reports a different number of hospitalizations to the state than on its community dashboard, omitting inmates on the latter.

Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said the county expects to see the impact of local reopening next week. If there is not an exponential growth in new cases and hospitalizations, the county will evaluate what industries can safely open their doors with modifications, he said.

Community COVID-19 testing is still available in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Solvang, and appointments can be made online at and by calling 888.634.1123.

Public Health officials encourage people to get tested, even if they don’t have symptoms, so epidemiologists can get a better idea of the coronavirus’ spread within the community.

County Supervisor Gregg Hart said he was recently tested even though he has never experienced symptoms, and was negative.

“I wanted to walk my talk,” he said, adding that the whole process at Earl Warren Showgrounds took five minutes and he was back in his car even before his appointment time.

Lompoc Mayor Jenelle Osborne went to get a COVID-19 test this week and videotaped her experience, to show constituents it was “simple, quick and painless.”

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at