Santa Barbara County recorded 3,570 deaths in the year 2020, an increase of 220 from the prior year, clearly reflecting the number of casualties claimed by COVID. To date, COVID has claimed 392 lives in the county since last March. Of those, more occurred in the first two months of 2021 than in all the months of 2020. Anecdotally, some funeral service providers report a doubling of business.
County statistics show that more than two-thirds of county deaths involve cremation. In 2020, the remains of 2,684 of the 3,570 who died were cremated. The prior year, the number of deaths was 3,350 and the number of cremations was 2,526.
In other counties throughout Southern California, the number of cremations has resulted in emission levels exceeding what had been permitted by the governing air pollution control district. The volume of cremations in Santa Barbara has not achieved such levels, and no permit modifications have been required.
Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.