County Supervisor Gregg Hart | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department reported an additional 109 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the county’s total to 722. 

The extreme spike in cases is primarily attributed to the Lompoc Federal Correctional Institution, where all 1,162 inmates are being tested amid a rampant outbreak. The Public Health Department reported that 100 of the 109 cases Thursday were inmates at the Lompoc Prison. 

But there are unexplained discrepancies between prison officials and county public health officials. Since the pandemic hit, the discrepancies in the true number of sick inmates have grown wider and neither entity has been able to explain why.

The Public Health Department’s daily COVID-19 case reports have not aligned with the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ reports. On Wednesday, for example, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported 172 positive cases between inmates and prison staff. On Thursday, it reported that number jumped to 599. The 427 case difference is still inexplainable.

Of the 722 cases the Public Health Department reported county-wide, 360 have fully recovered. Of the nine non-prison cases reported Thursday, two live in the unincorporated area of the Goleta Valley and Gaviota; one lives in Santa Ynez Valley; four live in Santa Maria; and two live in Lompoc outside of the prison.

Of the county’s active cases (not including ones from the prison), 51 people are recovering at home; 24 are recovering in a hospital, 12 of whom are in an intensive care unit; six are pending an update; and nine have died from the virus.


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