By Raiza Giorgi

A fifth person has died as a result of COVID-19, a man from North County in his 70’s, according to Santa Barbara County Public Health officials. 

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of the individual who passed away. As we continue to battle the spread of COVID-19 it is imperative that we continue wearing face coverings and keep physical distance when outside our homes,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg.

Atterdag Village of Solvang also reported one of their staff members tested positive, and is quarantined at home in a statement released to family and the Star. The location is not in the Santa Ynez Valley, as there is still only five cases confirmed, according to Public Health. 

“This staff member has not worked in the past eight days and was wearing protective equipment (mask and gloves) consistently while working. Our preventative screening measures identified an elevated temperature and the staff member was immediately sent home,” said Chris Parker, executive director of Atterdag, in a statement. 

He added that all team members that worked with this individual on April 13, are being tested and currently off work. No resident or staff member in contact with this individual has any symptoms associated with COVID-19. All residents within the Assisted Living will be screened twice daily for temperature and symptoms. Social distancing, staff screening, protective equipment, and constant sanitizing will continue, in an effort to ensure resident and staff safety.

“Prior to each shift, staff are required to wash their hands, take their temperature, and answer a series of questions to ensure they are not exhibiting any known COVID-19 symptoms. Any employees who develop symptoms during a shift are immediately sent home and directed to quarantine at home. This process is also followed for any essential healthcare workers such as hospice staff,” Parker elaborated. 

The county is now at 429 confirmed cases and there were 42 people hospitalized, with 13 of those in an intensive care unit, as of Tuesday.

Three of the 13 new cases are inmates at the federal prison in Lompoc and six are in Santa Maria. 

The county also reported they have opened a shelter in Santa Barbara for elderly and medically-vulnerable homeless people who cannot practice social distancing, according to Emergency Operations Center staff. Those who need assistance should call 2-1-1 for information if calling from within the county; or  call (800) 400-1572 if calling from outside the area. The Recorded Information Line is (805) 681-4373 and the Community Wellness Team Information and Referral Line is (805) 364-2750.