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COVID-19 briefing updates numbers, new test kits and Foodbank drive-thru

Masks at briefing
Tracy Lehr / KEYT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - For the first time since Coronavirus briefings began in Santa Barbara County almost everyone had a protective face mask on hand.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg was the exception as he discussed the latest numbers.

Dr. Ansorg said there are 228 cases. He said almost half are at recovering or have recovered at home.

At least 17 of the 37 hospitalized are in intensive care.

The ages of the people with confirmed cases range from 30 something to over 70.

Dr. Ansorg said, "We as a county are meeting our ongoing goal with our efforts to limit the spread as much as possible in our geographic area."

But he added now is not the time to waver.

The public health doctor said the wait for results will be quicker thanks to 200 test kits the county lab just received.

He said initial reports that came from out of state make it difficult to know the true per capita number of cases.

"They are not integrated in California's system so the numbers are skewed."

Public Health Department Director Van Do-Reynoso said her husband was furloughed so she understands the economic hardship.

The health director said that a model she showed to county supervisors projected the impact of hospitalizations through November without taking into account economic costs.

"I believe the governor's shelter in place is effective through April 30th and we will be running models with real time data, as well as projections of April 30th and beyond," said Do-Reynoso.

People falling on difficult financial times may call 211 and pick up food at new Foodbank drive-thru locations.

Santa Barbara County Foodbank communications manager Judith Smith-Meyer said there is zero contact when residents pick up food.

"The way it works is you drive up, someone rolls down passenger window, someone six feet from driver says; how many in household? What is your name? Is this the first time you have received food this month? They take that info, you drive to next station, pop open trunk or unlock back door and the food is placed inside your car."

The Foodbank is also starting a pilot program with restaurants that will pay them to make meals that will be delivered to seniors.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Hart commended the faithful for finding news ways of dining and celebrating together, yet apart.

He said 200 locals families will celebrate Passover Seder with Zoom technology.

" What an incredible way to knit the congregation together, while keeping physically apart." said Hart.

Father Jon-Stephen Hedges will be on hand to talk about being together apart during Easter at the next update.

Agriculture / Community / Coronavirus / Health / Lifestyle / Santa Maria - North County

Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.