Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations title=
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations
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By edhat staff

In a 3-2 vote, Santa Barbara County Supervisors passed an ordinance to allow fines for those violating the Health Officer's Orders regarding COVID-19.

This new ordinance provides peace officers and other public officers designated by the Director of Emergency Services with a tool to enforce restrictions within the unincorporated areas of the County, aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19. This only applies to the unincorporated areas of the county which include Isla Vista where three virus outbreaks were recently discovered.

Kelly Hubbard, Director of the Office of Emergency Management, stated the reason for the proposed ordinance is due to the county's concern of a rise in flu cases spurring a "twindemic," the upcoming holidays and cold weather causing indoor gatherings, students congregating, and general weariness of COVID-19 restrictions.

The primary focus of the fine would be on all prohibited gatherings. These include large house parties, businesses not complying with capacity limitations, and large groups at a park or beach including adult sports. The fines would not apply to individuals walking down the street without a mask, a family at the beach without masks, or a household sitting at a park and not wearing masks, said Hubbard.

Violations may be called in by local residents, county ambassadors and employees, or law enforcement. Enforcement actions would depend on the jurisdiction and the violation but officials stressed these fines would be used as a last resort where education and outreach would be the primary response. The new ordinance establishes administrative fines of $100, $200, and $500 for violating county health orders.

Supervisors Joan Hartmann, Greg Hart, and Das Williams voted in favor of the ordinance with Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino opposing. 

"There is a real need for an enforcement tool that lies somewhere on the continuum between education and law enforcement, that's kind of a big gulf between that," said Supervisor Williams.

Supervisor Lavagnino criticized the ordinance as "well-intentioned" but may result in "unintended consequences" where Supervisor Adam took a stronger approach saying this is meant to "intimidate and coerce."

"I would prefer that our county government reject the idea of Draconian regulation for failing to comply with health officer orders. I offer you a document titled 'The Great Barrington Declaration,'" said Adam. "The basic point is that we are doing more harm than good using current control strategies."

The document referenced by Adam has been widely criticized by scientists and medical experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the American National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, called the declaration "ridiculous", "total nonsense" and "very dangerous", saying that it would lead to a large number of avoidable deaths.

"Today we consider instituting fines for a person's daring to violate what I and many in our community consider to be unreasonable, unwarranted and unconstitutional infringements of our right of peaceful assembly, freedom to travel, freedom to engage in commerce, and freedom to worship as we choose. These all in the name of preventing the spread of a disease we have learned since March is about as fatal as the normal flu," said Adam.

He finished his diatribe by referencing Galileo, flat-earthers, and bloodletting as reminders of those who thought they were right but weren't right at all. 

To fact check his assertions, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, doctors and scientists state COVID-19 is thought to have a substantially higher mortality rate (possibly 10 times or more) than that of most strains of the flu. 

"There have been approximately 1,118,635 [COVID-19] deaths reported worldwide. In the U.S, 220,133 people have died of COVID-19 between January 2020 and October 20, 2020. The World Health Organization estimates that 290,000 to 650,000 people die of flu-related causes every year worldwide," reports Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The Status of Isla Vista

Public Health Director (PHD) Van Do-Reynoso confirmed there are three outbreaks in Isla Vista relating to sorority and fraternity houses with additional cases within the surrounding community.

Do-Reynoso stated the Isla Vista residents took their diagnosis seriously and are abiding by PHD's recommendations to limit movements. The symptoms are described as mild at best with some fatigue and loss of smell and test but they are not seeing serious symptoms at this point.

PHD and UC Santa Barbara have joined forces to ramp up community testing and anticipate conducting 150 tests per day during a free testing event this weekend. They are also jointly working on contact tracing and supportive services.

Current Numbers & Tier Status

Santa Barbara County does not meet the requirements to move into the lower orange tier. An average-case rate of 1-3.9 per 100,000 population is needed to move down and the county is currently at 4.8 while all other metrics have achieved the orange status. Until the case rate is below 3.9, the county will remain in the red tier.

The outbreaks in Isla Vista were not reflected in this current case count and will be included in next week's numbers.

As of Tuesday, there are 9,671 COVID-19 cases within the county. Of those, 118 are currently active or infectious with 16 in the hospital including five in the intensive care unit. There have been 119 deaths

More data can be found at: https://publichealthsbc.org/status-reports/

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Voice of Reason Oct 20, 2020 06:59 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

No, not apples to oranges. The 1st paragraph references H1n1 but is not about H1N1. I'd say, it is very relevant to how we've responded to Covid and relevant to this article. My favorite part "the pandemic policy was never informed by evidence, but by fear of worst-case scenarios." From your stats Covid is twice as bad a H1N1, yet our response has been orders of magnitude more draconian. Such a severe response would be okay if there was clear evidence these mitigation measures actually worked at defeating the virus. The best they can do is slow the spread yet 8 months in we're still using this tactic to try and defeat the virus. It isn't April 2020 anymore! Our hospital capacity has been stellar, we know how to treat it, and we protect the at risk; the mortality rate is fractions what it was in the spring. Yet schools are still closed, livelihoods are being shattered, so many unemployed, so many mentally unwell, and all we have done is delay the inevitable. Just like H1N1 Covid will move through our population and there isn't much we can do about it, unfortunately with more dire results. Our elected officials, particularly here in California, are making it worse with these policies that aren't informed by evidence, but by fear of worst-case scenarios.

a-1603245859 Oct 20, 2020 07:04 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Your basic premise is faulty. The measures we have taken, though not as severe as they should be, have been proven to slow the spread of the virus. Relax the constraints, the cases and deaths go up. Reimpose the constraints, the cases and deaths go down. What part of that is so hard to understand?

Voice of Reason Oct 21, 2020 09:35 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

@ 7:04, correct they work to slow the spread, that's it. Slow the spread so we don't overwhelm our health care capacity, which throughout this crisis has been WIDE OPEN. As long as our hospital capacity is adequate and we can treat those that need it, slowing the spread doesn't prevent death (or cases) it just delays them. Why are we still delaying the inevitable when we have plenty of hospital capacity? We're now day 221 of "15 days to slow the spread".... schools are still closed, businesses still shuttered, people still out of work, basic medical screenings and treatments aren't occurring, this will have a lasting impact on the mental health and well being of our children.... these continued restrictions are doing more harm than good!

sacjon Oct 21, 2020 09:51 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

VOICE - Ok, now I can agree with you on this one. The school closures are terrible for our kids' development and learning. Private schools have been open for weeks now, it's time to get our kids back in the classroom, even in a hybrid schedule. The risk outweighs the benefit when it comes to education I feel. Open the schools!

sacjon Oct 21, 2020 11:01 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Interesting article on NPR today in FAVOR of opening schools! https://www.npr.org/2020/10/21/925794511/were-the-risks-of-reopening-schools-exaggerated?
utm_term=nprnews&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=npr&fbclid=Iw
AR0zfUttPVqZiSWqkxV4x2hZ3PEf4JHZYzaueFPXyfX4toku8Pkyr50IQuU&fbclid=IwAR20kYBx4UTR
vyi5LMAIetWFkorkaqzDe7-aYPxnVoVYv14pScvTV9-Dhjo

"some medical experts are saying it's time to shift the discussion from the risks of opening K-12 schools to the risks of keeping them closed."

SBUSD and GUSD need to look at this. Let our kids back! I'm all for safety precautions and hybrid learning, but the kids need to get in a classroom at least once a week ASAP!

SBLIFE Oct 20, 2020 04:59 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

As the wise Jojo said, it's just too little too late. Theme of government at all levels, lately. I will be shocked if they give out even one ticket: "officials stressed these fines would be used as a last resort where education and outreach would be the primary response"

SB Barbarian Oct 20, 2020 06:41 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

A day late and a dollar short. Should have done this 5 months ago. Of course, the City lags behind. The neighborhood bar around the corner from where I live opened this week, albeit with rear entry and masks required inside. Of course, while drinking and talking, etc. in a bar in which it is possible to socially distance in only one direction when empty, one can't wear a mask, and the more drinks one has, the less likely they are to care about the mask. But no enforcement in SB, so every person for him/herself. I guess this is just the way it's going to be - forever, or at least until a reliable, safe vaccine is available and accessable. Bar = superspreading location. I guess this is one of those times when ignorance is bliss.

sacjon Oct 20, 2020 06:58 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

SBLETS - Problem is, even young, healthy people can die from this and if they don't die, they are highly likely to develop long-term issues. This has been shown over and over again. This isn't as simple as the flu, everyone should know that by now.

Voice of Reason Oct 20, 2020 07:44 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Sacjon, I don't think you understand the concept of risk. The many things you can name that people have died from, are more risky to young healthy people than Covid. We can protect Grandma, while also not increasing the many other risks, far more dangerous than covid, facing our youth.

sacjon Oct 20, 2020 07:51 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

VOICE - I understand risk, I also understand simple logic, which you yet again fail to demonstrate. The young healthy people are at risk, not as much risk as elderly, but at risk nonetheless, and no matter how much more risky other activities/situations are, it doesn't decrease the risk from the given activities/situation. The different activities/situations are unrelated, as are Covid and prescription pills. I can't believe I have to explain this.

Voice of Reason Oct 20, 2020 08:09 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

No pretzels, it's linear (i.e. straight). California's chosen path has resulted in decreasing one risk (covid) while increasing other risks (drug abuse, mental health, suicide, social developments issues, poverty, famine, etc.). What I have clearly put down that you and Sacjon refuse to pick up, is that for the young and healthy, CA has lowered the risk of something that wasn't very risky to them, while increasing the risk of many things that are risky to them.

sacjon Oct 20, 2020 08:18 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

VOICE - no, you didn't"clearly" put down anything you think you did. The fact remains, covid poses a risk to even young and healthy people. If you really think it's relevant that other things are more risky (?) and that somehow refutes my statement that young and healthy people are still at risk, then I'm not sure what else to say. Covid puts EVERYONE at risk, the degree of that risk varies. If you truly believe there is absolutely zero risk posed by the virus, then provide your proof. Otherwise, you're just niggling about how much risk you think it poses compared to other things, which isn't relevant to my argument that young and healthy people are, whether you like it or not, still at risk of death or long term health effects.

a-1603252750 Oct 20, 2020 08:59 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

I am a lifelong democrat and believer in science. I wear a mask everywhere I go and have only been out to a restaurant twice since March. We have a lunatic running this country and he has to go. But when government starts dictating how many people I can have visit my home at any given time, that is equally as looney. With the measures we have had in place SB County hospitals have yet to be overwhelmed. If IV students are increasing the problems then lock it down, don’t punish the rest of us.

LFG Oct 20, 2020 09:01 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Am I reading this correctly. I can be fined for not wearing a mask, which science is not agreed on the results, which may result in passing on a virus that has a 99.98% recovery rate. Should we therefore also give people fine for not wearing gloves, sharing drinks, and virus containment suits. what a joke. Thankfully all the gatherings I've had at my house are protests where the virus can't spread. Can you imagine if one of these kids is caught without a face mask BUT WITH A PLASTIC STRAW! can we bring back public stonings? #1984 #fearstealsfreedom #electioncold

420722 Oct 20, 2020 11:06 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Nope read again. The maskless will not be fined. It’s NOT a law. It’s a recommendation by King Newsom. The article specifically says people walking down the street will not fined, so go ahead and keep jumping in the street when I pass by you weirdos.

Chip of SB Oct 21, 2020 10:38 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

I think it’s telling that you associate scientific research that is inconsistent with your beliefs with Trump. Sounds more like politics than science to me. There are numerous studies of the effectiveness of masks in reducing airborne virus transmission dating back at least to the 1980s. Many of these studies, published long before Trump’s presidency, found masks to be ineffective. The mechanisms by which the virus transmits are not yet fully understood. Mask usage could prove to do more harm than good. Time and research will tell.

PitMix Oct 21, 2020 03:02 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

LCP, if I call you an ignorant fool, that is namecalling. If I say your positions are extreme, that is an opinion. I disagree with calling posters names. I try not to make fun of their names like Voice of Reason and SBLetsGetAlong even though they are such easy targets.

LFG Oct 23, 2020 08:20 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Aligning with Locke regarding the nature of man dies not make me a radical. I'm libertarian. Give me the info and I'll make my own decisions. If you prefer a nanny state, that means we disagree fundamentally on the rule of government in our daily lives. Fear sells. You're buying. If you're morbidly obese or over 75 with underlying conditions, you don't want to get covid. The great news is no one has died of old age since March.

a-1603254833 Oct 20, 2020 09:33 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Downtown today - 50% not wearing masks, not even dangling off their chins or flopping over their ears. No masks in sight. State Street again looking very sad, untidy and forlorn. Where is all this "enthusiasm" for the State Street Promenade - none in evidence today. Two red-shirt "ambassadors" pretty much ineffectual, even when trying to warn people they more likely got attitude back- yet the city continues to pay for this non-functional-activity. Two nice kids doing what they were told to do, but had zero impact. Probably hate their job by now. No fan of masks myself, but also no fan of spending so much time and money pretending they matter and seeing such poor results. Yet, the cases continue to go down and the death count is close to zero. Alice dropped down the rabbit hole on this one.

PitMix Oct 21, 2020 07:14 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

My young neighbor works at the jail. His coworker was just diagnosed with Covid. He throws parties on the weekend for his coworkers, no social distancing, drinking and shouting and carousing. All while his 85-yr old grandmother is at the house too. If she dies, I'm going to feel bad about minding my own business.

sacjon Oct 21, 2020 09:48 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

PITMIX - If the parties are loud and past the quiet time (not sure what it is but there is one), then you should report them, not for the covid risk but for the noise. Calling in for solely a covid risk is bit much and big brother-y, but you have a perfectly valid reason to call in for noise, thereby reducing the possible covid exposures. I'm with you on this one!

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