The federal facility confirmed 912 open COVID-19 cases among inmates and 25 cases among staff. | Credit: Courtesy

Santa Barbara County Public Health officials said Wednesday that despite the county’s stable number of hospitalization and intensive care unit cases, they are still confronted by its black swan — the outbreak festering in the Lompoc Federal Prison.

Director of Public Health Dr. Van Do-Reynoso said that her department has been in “close contact” with prison leadership, including the warden, medical officer, and epidemiologist to eradicate the disease within the prison. 

“From the public health perspective, we are assisting the prison leadership with three tracks,” Do-Reynoso explained. “The first track is disease control and mitigation, the second is standing up medical services on the grounds, and the third is testing symptomatic staff at the prison. This morning our staff were on site at the prison grounds to meet with leadership to contain the outbreak.”

Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county’s public health officer, said that the prison has had 68 inmates test positive for the virus and 25 employees. Thirteen of the inmates are hospitalized, two of which are in intensive care units, and one staff member remains hospitalized.

“Our current cases [county-wide] are reflecting an ongoing linear increase in total cases; however, we do have stable hospitalization and ICU case numbers,” Ansorg said. “We continue to work cooperatively with the prison administration and infection control team to limit the further spread of the disease. There are no other outbreaks to report in any other congregate living institutions.”

The cases from the single congregate care facility account for nearly 30 percent of cases county-wide. Ansorg reported an additional 21 new cases at the Wednesday press briefing, bringing the county’s total to 334 positive cases. Two of them were from the prison.

Of the new cases, two live in unincorporated parts of South County, two live in Santa Barbara, one lives in Goleta, one lives in Orcutt, eight live in Santa Maria, and seven live in Lompoc. 

Of the 334 positive cases, 144 are recovering at home; 38 are recovering in the hospital, 58 of which are in the ICU; 134 have fully recovered; and two have died as a direct result of the virus.


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