Special Report

COVID-19: How Cases in the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

The U.S. reported over 562,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending May 15, bringing the total count to more than 81.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 991,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a steady rate. In the past week, there were an average of 22.7 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 18.2 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

In the 50 largest metro areas, the incidence of COVID-19 grew at an average rate of 26.4 new cases a day per 100,000 residents in the past week — 23.3% greater than the case growth in all counties outside of metro areas.

The Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA metro area consists of just Santa Barbara County. As of May 15, there were 20,786.9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Santa Maria residents, 17.6% lower than the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 25,214.1 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara metro area, unemployment peaked at 14.3% in April 2020. As of November 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 4.6%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in California where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 15 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 15 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of May 15 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of May 15 per 100,000 residents
20940 El Centro, CA 180,701 66,692 36,907.4 917 507.5
25260 Hanford-Corcoran, CA 150,691 55,391 36,758.0 447 296.6
47300 Visalia, CA 461,898 136,005 29,444.8 1,468 317.8
31460 Madera, CA 155,433 43,585 28,041.0 365 234.8
12540 Bakersfield, CA 887,641 239,347 26,964.4 2,292 258.2
40140 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 4,560,470 1,222,432 26,805.0 13,822 303.1
31080 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 13,249,614 3,488,621 26,330.0 38,756 292.5
32900 Merced, CA 271,382 71,390 26,306.1 818 301.4
23420 Fresno, CA 984,521 257,043 26,108.4 2,754 279.7
33700 Modesto, CA 543,194 136,009 25,038.8 1,644 302.7
41740 San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA 3,316,073 821,694 24,779.1 5,257 158.5
44700 Stockton, CA 742,603 177,919 23,958.8 2,233 300.7
49700 Yuba City, CA 172,469 40,092 23,245.9 347 201.2
41500 Salinas, CA 433,410 94,867 21,888.5 733 169.1
37100 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 847,263 185,429 21,885.6 1,491 176.0
42200 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 444,829 92,466 20,786.9 693 155.8
39820 Redding, CA 179,212 36,945 20,615.2 564 314.7
42020 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA 282,165 57,393 20,340.2 478 169.4
46700 Vallejo, CA 441,829 89,137 20,174.5 450 101.8
34900 Napa, CA 139,623 27,707 19,844.2 143 102.4
40900 Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA 2,315,980 456,231 19,699.3 4,173 180.2
42100 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 273,962 52,260 19,075.6 263 96.0
42220 Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA 499,772 89,730 17,954.2 488 97.6
41940 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1,987,846 353,881 17,802.2 2,392 120.3
17020 Chico, CA 225,817 40,080 17,748.9 423 187.3
41860 San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 4,701,332 808,980 17,207.5 5,024 106.9

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