Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

Face coverings are now mandatory in the City of Lompoc, Mayor Jenelle Osborne announced today. A significant number of people with COVID-19 walk around without symptoms, a press release from the city stated, and they can transmit the virus through coughing, sneezing, or talking. “Face coverings have the potential to slow the spread of the virus by limiting the spread of respiratory droplets,” according to the press release, and violating the order is a misdemeanor that could bring a fine as high as $1,000. It did not apply to children under 13 years of age, and masks with one-way valves did not comply with the order as they allowed droplets to escape.

Twelve county residents learned today that they were positive for COVID — a decrease from 20 positives reported yesterday and 24 on Tuesday. Nine of today’s new cases were in Santa Maria, and there was one each in Orcutt; the City of Santa Barbara or Mission Canyon; the region of the county composed of Sisquoc, Casmalia, Garey, Cuyama and New Cuyama; and the City of Guadalupe. The county’s total now stands 1,636 cases out of 17,619 people tested.

The federal prison in Lompoc had no new cases today, according to County Public Health. It has 971 total cases and 14 actively sick inmates.

Cottage Health, the only hospital system reporting publicly on a daily basis, has seen a constant rise in cases since last Wednesday. For about a week prior, Cottage’s total cases hovered around six or seven patients, then gradually rose to nine, 10, 12, and 13 today. It takes up to 14 days for most patients to become sick enough to need hospital care, and it’s unknown what aspect of the urge to reopen the state and county in the past week might have influenced the increase.

COVID-19 is a disease that attacks the lungs, and along with the day’s patient information, County Public Health encouraged residents to go cigarette — and vape — free on May 31. Nicotine is infamously hard to kick, and the department offers help here and from the state at 1-800-NO-BUTTS in a variety of languages.

Correction: The quote originally attributed to Mayor Osborne was part of the press release and not a direct statement.

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