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Orange tier for at least another week in Santa Barbara County based on latest COVID data

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It will be another week in the COVID-19 orange tier in Santa Barbara County based on the latest data on coronavirus cases reported. With the dropping numbers, however, the less restrictive yellow tier could be reached next Tuesday.

County Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso says the county has a full supply of the vaccine and her department is making it, "easy to get, convenient to get."

60.3 percent of eligible persons in Santa Barbara County have received the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine or one of the two dose vaccine shots.

The outreach has been far reaching for weeks with a sweeping flow of messages in the mainstream and social media sites. This includes direct vaccination clinics in areas beyond medical facilities such as open air markets, swap meets, homeless sites, and addiction centers.

Sunday a vaccination clinic opened at the Santa Maria Fairpark Pavilion. Pfizer is offered at this site for those who are 12 years old and older daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Thursday the hours go later for those who are unable to make it during the normal daytime schedule with evening hours and shots available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The community is encouraged ot use the MyTurn web site for an appointment.

This week, vaccinations are also taking place at Righetti High School in Orcutt. (It is the high school for Guadalupe, south Santa Maria and Los Alamos). There will also be a Santa Barbara location announced for next week. The Mary Burren elementary School will have the vaccinations in Guadalupe May 27-28. Carpinteria High School will have the clinic June 1-2.

Mask rules will remain in place until June 15th without any changes, according to health officials.

"Between now and June 15th the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will develop new mask guidance including specific sectors such as schools," said Do-Reynoso.

Vaccinations will remain a high focus in the next month especially in high risk areas.

If you are indoors where it is crowded "you need to wear a mask" said Van Do-Reynoso. If you are outdoors where it is not crowded she said you do not need to wear a mask.

"We are not there yet with the vaccination rate," said Do-Reynoso.

Health Officer Henning Ansorg said, "going to a restaurant, going to a movie theatre, please wear a mask." He also said there are some variances that could cause issues in the next four weeks. "There is a lot of less-mask mandate already in place, meaning outdoors."

With conflicting messages on vaccinations, testing and masks, Ansorg says, "please rely on reputable sources for their information."

Supervisor Bob Nelson said, "I am not anti-masker." He went on to say "we really need to respond to this as quickly as possible." He said there were decision issues between the science and the "authority" differences he sees in the different messages coming down from federal and state levels.

The California Occupational Safety Administration (Cal/OSHA) is set to revise its guidance rules this week for workplace settings. Mask requirements are expected to continue in certain close proximity settings.

Supervisor Gregg Hart says 40 percent of the population has not been vaccinated and "we can't tell who has been vaccinated and who hasn't been vaccinated."

He also encouraged people to continue to get tested. In Santa Barbara a mobile bus is on site for tests at the Santa Barbara waterfront in the parking lot near the skatepark on Cabrillo Boulevard at Garden Street.

Supervisor Das Williams says, "the best way to eliminate the uncertainty is for more people to step up and get vaccinated."

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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