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Santa Barbara public health recommends masks indoors due to rising Delta variant cases

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara County public health officials announced updated mask guidance Monday as more cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant are reported across the state.

The public health department is now recommending all Santa Barbara County residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks while indoors.

The decision comes following similar new guidelines announced by Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Los Angeles County has since updated this recommendation to a mandate.

The public health department says the COVID-19 Delta variant is significantly more transmissible than the original coronavirus strain. The variant accounts for more than half of new infections throughout the country.

"As of July 16, Santa Barbara’s reported daily case rate is now 3.6 per 100,000 and rising," the public health department said in a news release.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department is urging everyone who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to get one. The vast majority of hospitalizations in the state are people who are unvaccinated, state officials have said.

“We have a method of preventing severe illness and hospitalization from the COVID-19 Delta variant which we know is effective, and that is getting vaccinated,” said Santa Barbara County Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso. “It remains critical for protection against infection, especially with circulating variants.”

Vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available to everyone 12 years and up, the health department said.

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department said it will revisit these recommendations over the next several weeks.

“It remains critically important that we continue to practice safety guidelines such as staying home if feeling ill, wear a mask in public indoor settings, avoid crowded events, and practice good hand hygiene,” said Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg. 

To find specific information about case totals, hospitalization information and to find COVID-19 vaccine resources, visit You can also call 211 for more information.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus
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Karen Cruz-Orduña

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