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Coronavirus

Santa Maria leaders and Santa Barbara County Public Health discuss surge of cases

CITY OF SANTA MARIA

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Barbara County Public Health met with Santa Maria city leaders to discuss data on COVID-19 Monday, so that they can find solutions for the surge of cases.

At just over 1,000 cases, Santa Maria has around four times the number of cases than any other city in Santa Barbara County. It's also one of the main reasons the county has been on the state's watch list for about two weeks.

Public Health told the city about a quarter of the county's cases are of agricultural workers, and that the virus is disproportionately affecting the Latinx population.

Santa Maria is around 75 percent Latinx with a large farming community.

City leaders say it could be affecting them more because of a lack of access to health care, or from fear seeking help.

"So we would like to see a lot more being done by the county to bring resources to bear in this community," said Mark Van de Kamp, Santa Maria spokesman. "We are the largest city, we have the most cases."

Van de Kamp said he would like to see "trusted messengers" being used. The city defines trusted messengers as neighborhood leaders who can reach out to those around them.

Santa Maria officials say public health was seeking ideas for solutions during their meeting today.

Public health will be attending the Santa Maria city council meeting July 7. They will have more information at that time. The public is expected to be able to attend that meeting, with restrictions.

Health / Santa Maria - North County

Anikka Abbott

Anikka Abbott is a reporter for KEYT | KCOY | KKFX.