By Raiza Giorgi

Santa Barbara County Public Health officials remain hopeful that numbers for COVID-19 are expected to peak mid-May, as long as people keep practicing social distancing and continued washing of hands regularly. 

“We are trying to minimize the spread of the disease with increased testing capabilities and quicker result time, which offers people more time to tell people who they have been in contact with,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg. 

The numbers of the COVID-19 cases have increased with 13 additional cases from Thursday, April 2, totaling 152. Of those new cases three were in South County in the areas of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria; two in Santa Barbara; one in Santa Ynez Valley; three in Lompoc and four in Santa Maria.

From all the cases there are 86 recovering at home; 26 in the hospital with 17 of those in ICU; 35 have already fully recovered and one death. Health officials are awaiting results on four additional cases from the Centers for Disease Control. 

Suzanne Grimmesey from the county’s quality care and strategy manager said that with this uncertain situation people are more stressed and frightened, worrying about what is to come both physically and financially.

“It’s important to keep connections with family and friends through Zoom or other video conferencing tools, and to get outside and get fresh air (while still social distancing),” Grimmesey said. 

For those financially impacted by this situation are advised to talk with their accountants, and financial institutions on relief packages and options available through the CARES Act. Some local financial institutions are offering deferred or skipped-payment options and there is the Payment Protection Plan being mobilized through local banks to keep people on payroll. Per the information on the SBA web page, there is additional information for local businesses. 

The next press briefing will be Monday, April 6.