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 21, 2020 03:09 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Correct me if I'm wrong but that grandmother is an adult and can make her own decisions, same with your neighbor. What if she's loving this covid time as instead of her grandson heading out on the town, he brings his friends over and she actually has some company and laughter in the house instead of loneliness? It's her decision if she wants to be lonely and eliminate all covid risk or to enjoy her remaining years as she sees fit. The attitudes of several regulars here that think they know what's best for others, that want to impose their line of thinking on others, that others can't evaluate a situation and make their own informed decisions; I just don't like it one bit and I'm not alone on this. Fortunately, I know y'all aren't representative of the community we live in.

sacjon Oct 21, 2020 03:10 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

PIT - if they're too loud at any time of day, you can call it in. Up to you, but if my neighbors were doing this, I'd call it in, especially knowing about the covid cases at the jail. If people are putting my family at risk by spreading the virus and keeping my kids out of school because of the increased numbers, I'd do whatever it takes to shut them down. You're right to party every weekend stops when my kids can't go to school.

sacjon Oct 21, 2020 03:15 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

VOICE - If someone is doing something that will prevent my kids from going back to school as soon as they can (ie, throwing parties every weekend), I'm going to have something to say about it. "Y'all" can sit back and enjoy granny getting covid as she's lonely or some other weird BS, but creating a health risk that affects my kids is not happening on my watch. Obviously, you don't know what "community" we live in if you think I'm alone on this.

Voice of Reason Oct 21, 2020 04:24 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Sacjon, you're neighbors parties are not preventing our kids from going back to school as soon as they can. Even under our benevolent King Newom's infinite wisdom, GUSD and SBUSD schools are allowed to open, but they remain closed. The reason for the continued closure is not covid or the rates in our community, it's unions and elections (politics). I despise how our children are being used as paws for political gain.

sacjon Oct 21, 2020 05:04 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

VOICE - don't be so short sighted. Our kids "may" return to school on Jan 19 IF we are in the "orange tier." That means their ability to return to school is dependent on covid numbers going down even further. Parties like this INCREASE the chances of our numbers going up. If everyone was out there acting like there's nothing to be worried about, our numbers will not go down enough so the the districts will re-open. See how that works? Orange tier = schools reopen. Parties like this = numbers not going down to orange tier and likely increasing. No orange tier, no school. Not sure how much simpler I can make it.

OpossumBoy Oct 21, 2020 11:48 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

I mostly agree with sacjon and pitmix. Voice of Reason: I understand your reasoning and the points you make. They are, however, ill-informed. I recommend reading some of the COVID-19 related articles at medscape.com.

I had COVID-19 for three weeks back in April and it was horrible. Not being able to breathe is really bad news. Please don’t spread misinformation about it. Also, COVID-19 does permanent damage to internal organs including the brain. In my case, my kidney function is now borderline: any worse and I would require dialysis.

Here’s the really bad news: It’s possible to get COVID more than once. Analysis of the virus in those who have had the disease twice show two different strains of the virus. It’s mutating!

Recall that no vaccine was ever developed for the AIDS virus because it mutates too rapidly. Instead, those who are promiscuous take prescription Truvada (Prep) which seems to control it.

Anyway, do everything you can to slow the spread of COVID. It’s no joke. And please check your facts before posting: Peoples lives are at stake. As for Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino, I consider them loud mouthed idiots.

Voice of Reason Oct 21, 2020 12:24 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Opossumboy: You said " It’s possible to get COVID more than once. Analysis of the virus in those who have had the disease twice show two different strains of the virus. It’s mutating!" This means we will not be getting a vaccine that is helpful in a meaningful way, so how many years should we slow the spread? At what point do we say the response is worse than the virus? For many demographics, especially children, the harms of the response are already worse. You also bring up another good point, we're not dealing with the same virus you had back in April. People aren't spending weeks in the hospital, much fewer are dying, and many more are catching it and not having any symptoms or merely mild symptoms. Yet we're still acting off the worst-case scenario from back in April when Gov. Newsom himself said millions of Californian's will die. Even if we did nothing, completely ignored the virus, millions would not have died, yet we're still acting that way.

OpossumBoy Oct 21, 2020 02:16 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Voice - thanks for your reply, and you raise an interesting point about developing a vaccine that really helpful. I’m hoping that COVID-19 mutates fairly slowly, just as the influenza virus does, so that a yearly vaccination for the current strain helps control it. In other words, just as we now get a yearly flu shot, we’d also get a yearly COVID shot. I could be wrong on all this...

a-1603319806 Oct 21, 2020 03:36 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

New CDC guidelines define close contact as being within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes *within a 24 hour period*

What does that say about the safety of resuming classroom schooling?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/21/coronavirus-close-contact-cdc/

sacjon Oct 21, 2020 04:01 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

3:36 - What that says about "resuming classroom schooling," is that it is 100% OK and allowed as long as the kids and staff are wearing masks. The CDC's definition of "close contact" is only relevant in situations where you cannot wear a mask.

Marathoner Oct 22, 2020 09:54 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

I take back anything bad I said about edhat because the staff writers hit it out of the ballpark refuting Pete Adams' reference to that hogwash document that only about .01% of scientists agree with, none of them virologists: :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."

Voice of Reason Oct 23, 2020 08:34 AM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Dr. Fauci has been far from perfect during this crisis and people need to stop holding him up as a God. He, and many others, have flat out ignored the negative health consequences of our response, instead choosing to focus solely on covid. For every 10 people saved by our covid response, a certain number will also face an early demise as a result of our response, especially over the long term. This number is very tough to determine now but it will come out in the long run, and it ain't 0. Especially if you think of it in terms of total years of life lost throughout the population. Our response has saved many years of life for the elderly but also has taken years from the younger generations, only in time will we be able to quantify that.

OpossumBoy Oct 23, 2020 04:07 PM
Supervisors Vote to Adopt Fines for Health Officer Order Violations

Voice of Reason, the twitter graphic at that link is totally incorrect. A good place to get up to date info is https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries We still lead the world in number of cases, but are going down in the number of cases per million population. That’s remarkable! A few months ago we were leading the world in cases per million.

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