By edhat staff
Public Health Manager Dr. Henning Ansorg clarified the meaning of “underlying health condition” when the Department of Public Health (PHD) reported two new COVID-19 deaths.
On Tuesday, the PHD reported that a person lived in the city of Santa Maria and was 50-69 years old. The other individual lived in the North County Unincorporated area and was 70+ years old. Nor did they have underlying health conditions and their deaths are not associated with an outbreak in a health center.
Dr. Ansorg stated that he abhors the phrase “underlying health condition” because many people dismiss a death if they hear this phrase and it has not been helpful. An underlying health condition may be slightly less like someone “slightly overweight” or having asthma, he said, stating that a 16-year-old who had recently died from COVID-19 was “tragic”.
Santa Barbara County has had a fair share of patients who have undergone the virus or have been in hospitals who had no or no previous health problems, says Dr. Care. Due to privacy laws, PHD continuously discusses how to maintain patients’ privacy while being transparent to society about the severity of these diseases.
As the holiday season has not yet ended, new COVID-19 cases continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. There are currently ten times as many infectious people in the county compared to November, and this is a direct result of gathering in an accelerated way, says Dr. Care.
The doctor briefly touched on the recently reported mutated strains of COVID-19 in the UK and South Africa and said that mutations are common and at this time, researchers do not believe that this strain will avoid the vaccine.
On Tuesday, PHD reported 264 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths, as previously mentioned. The county has now reached a total of 150 deaths due to the pandemic.
Santa Barbara County currently has 1,245 active cases with 103 hospital stays including 22 in the intensive care unit.
The Southern California region continues to have 0% ICU availability while Santa Barbara County reports 40.5% ICU availability.
Cottage Health, one of the most important hospitals in Santa Barbara County, reports as of Tuesday that the ICU capacity is 38.6%. There are 55 patients in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms, 52 are confirmed to be COVID-19 positive. Of the 55 patients in isolation, 10 are in critical care.
During the week of December 7-13, Cottage Health conducted 4,037 COVID-19 laboratory tests with 376 positive. From 14-20 December, 4462 COVID-19 laboratory tests were collected with 408 positive ones.
More information is available at publichealthsbc.org.