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Vaccination numbers up slightly and the COVID mask requirement is extended in Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara County will continue with its indoor mask mandate until at least the beginning of November.

During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday morning, Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the County Health Director, said, "The health order has been extended until November 5." 

She said the order, "Will be lifted when the case rate is less than six per 100,000 for two weeks." It can be reinstated if case rates go up or if the hospital bed demand increases to a capacity level of concern.

Seeing more vaccinations in one North County city, Do-Reynoso said, "Guadalupe is our star this week, because of all the community outreach." The City of Guadalupe's vaccination change was up 1.4 percent.

The overall vaccinations are up slightly.

Currently, the county has 68.9 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated.

Of the recent cases of COVID, 85 percent of those reporting a new case were unvaccinated.

"There's no silver bullet to solve any complex problem," said Supervisor Gregg Hart. "This helps the public to understand."

Hart was referring to a swiss cheese graphic illustration that shows a layered approach to the battle against COVID.

The best protection Do-Reynoso said, "continues to be fully vaccinated, have physical distancing, face masking, hand hygiene, and good ventilation."

The graphic had a "misinformation mouse" on it. Do-Reynoso said misinformation causes widespread harm. The illustration showed the mouse nibbling away from the cheese.

Some members of the public, spoke saying the presentation was not accurate and lacked complete information. One speaker said it was "messy" information.

Do-Reynoso said she gets requests often for data and materials through the Freedom of Information Act. She said they are compliant with the request but some of the information is not available or something that can be released due to medical privacy.

Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said "we were a little too exuberant" early on about the protections from the vaccine. He also said those who are vaccinated are less likely to spread the virus if they get it.

He also said the COVID vaccine may be more effective than the current flu shot.

Ansorg said he is concerned about the false claims he is hearing on a regular basis. One he pointed out was, "the vaccines are also represented as very dangerous," he said.

He also said a combination of actions can reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

For young people, the numbers were isolated by health officials.

Between March 14, 2020, and September 23, 2021, in the age group 0-18, there were 5,893 cases. It breaks down to slightly more females than males. Most were Hispanic/Latino, but the county noted that most children in Santa Barbara County are Hispanic/Latino.

Most 0-18 cases resided in Santa Maria followed by Santa Barbara and Lompoc.

Do-Reynoso said, "The summer peak of 2021 was higher than the summer peak of 2020."

Tenant issues were also addressed by Jennifer Smith with the Legal Aid Foundation. 

She said tenants who did not pay 25 percent of their total rent due between September 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 by September 30th may be evicted.   

There are some options within the eviction process, that also include the landlords filing for financial assistance if their tenants are failing to pay.

Smith said mediation is a frequent option to resolve disputes.

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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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