161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing title=
Of the Sheriff's Office's 161 patrol deputies who have opted to receive weekly tests in lieu of being vaccinated, only 36 of them have registered to be tested, and none have actually been swabbed. | Credit: Courtesy
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

Compliance with COVID-19 vaccine-or-test mandates at public-facing Santa Barbara institutions varies widely, with high rates reported by many organizations and much lower figures found at others.

The Sheriff’s Office is particularly out of sync with the county ordinance that went into effect three weeks ago, on October 18. Of the department’s 161 patrol deputies who have opted to receive weekly tests in lieu of being vaccinated, only 36 of them have registered to be tested, and none have actually been swabbed. That’s according to the most recent data available from the county’s Human Resources Department. “We have some work to do there,” acknowledged director Maria Elena De Guevara. 

De Guevara said her office remains in discussions with Sheriff’s employees who’ve “expressed concerns” about the registration and testing process, but she couldn’t elaborate beyond that, citing confidentiality laws. “We want them to come along,” she said. “We’re trying to answer all of their questions, but they also have to start complying with the policy.” While vaccine hesitancy has been reported among law enforcement agencies across the country, testing refusals have not been as widely documented.

Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Raquel Zick said she couldn’t comment on the matter and referred all questions to the Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA), the employee union leading the negotiations. Multiple attempts to reach the DSA were not successful.

Of the department’s 295 patrol deputies, 181 ― or 61 percent ― have been fully vaccinated, Zick said. Among custody deputies working at the jail, where yet another COVID-19 outbreak recently took place, only 49 percent are vaccinated. It’s not clear how many among that group have or have not submitted to the required testing.

Meanwhile, 63 out of 246 county firefighters have opted for tests over vaccines, said Captain Dave Bertucelli. But unlike the Sheriff’s Office, all 63 have registered with the county’s HR department and, as of this Monday, all have been tested. Among the county’s entire 4,564-member workforce, 80 percent have been vaccine-verified, De Guevara said.

The City of Santa Barbara, slightly behind the county in its mandate timing, is requiring all staff, including its police officers and firefighters, to provide proof of vaccination or register for weekly testing by December 1. Compliance figures will be available after that date.

Over at the Santa Barbara Unified School District, 96 percent of its approximately 1,700 staff are all vaxxed up, said spokesperson Camie Barnwell. The district placed eight employees on leave ― two teachers and six administrative staff ― who didn’t get their shots, or apply for exemptions, by the November 1 deadline. “We have substitutes who are filling in for those positions, but we are still working on a longer-term solution,” Barnwell said. 

An announcement to staff on Tuesday stated that employees with religious or medical deferrals must submit to twice-weekly COVID testing, wear an N-95 mask, and practice social distancing. Seventy employees have requested religious exemptions, and seven have asked for medical exemptions, Barnwell continued. “These numbers represent a combination of staff and classroom teachers,” she explained. “We are still in the process of working through the requests on a case-by-case basis.”

Maria Zate, a representative for Cottage Health, said 96 percent of the local healthcare giant’s 4,160 employees are vaccinated, with 220 staff receiving exemptions. “Those who qualify for an exemption will be tested twice weekly and must show a negative COVID test result,” she said. “Masking is required throughout the hospitals, by all staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.”

Santa Barbara’s other healthcare powerhouse, Sansum Clinic, appears to have one of the highest compliance rates in the region. Spokesperson Nicole Young said, “99 percent of our healthcare providers and 98 percent of our staff members are fully vaccinated.” A large number of the unvaccinated staff “work in a non-clinical setting or work remotely from home,” Young explained, “and all of them are required to be tested weekly.”

Dignity Health, which operates the Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, notably declined to provide any data about its workforce. Spokesperson Sara San Juan said only, “Dignity Health and Marian Regional Medical Center are committed to maintaining the safest possible care environment for our patients and employees, and ensuring we are appropriately staffed to continue providing essential health care services for our communities.” The organization, San Juan said, “supports state and federal guidelines that require COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers.”

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fitz Nov 11, 2021 07:57 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

No way would I go near Marian or other hospitals in Dignity Health. Nor do I want to interact with deputies who are not vaccinated. Sheriff Brown should fire all of them and take away those huge pensions........or maybe throw them into those nice new cells in Santa Maria. I am so sick of all these selfish holdouts. (pun intended).

Voice of Reason Nov 11, 2021 10:45 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

SBMH, I, and many others have been saying for a year covid will become endemic and we will not be able to vaccinate our way out of it. I was called a Covidiot and parroting Faux News. Now that CNN is saying the same thing will you finally listen? https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/08/health/covid-19-pandemic-endgame-wellness/index.html

SBTownie Nov 11, 2021 11:13 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

VOR, are you afraid of the vaccines? Or you simply reject them because you believe they are ultimately futile at "ending the pandemic"? If the latter, how do you deal with the data that shows vaccination reduces hospitalization and death. Do you advocate for them for ANY population?

SBTownie Nov 11, 2021 11:44 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Ok, so you are against the mandates for "civil liberties" related reasons? And so are you also against them for children in schools? I am against the government mandating any vaccine for any reason, but I am not against organizations or schools or places of employment mandating them. So VOR, is there a threshold over which you would be ok with places of work, schools, etc. mandating vaccines? Like, say there were a virus where if the infected were not struck down within 24 hours and dead, they could go on to be Typhoid Mary types and kill thousands. Or there is another disease that kills 95% of people who contract it. Let's just say for argument such diseases and scenarios exist. Are you still against the places of work, schools, etc. mandating a vaccine for said diseases? Is your problem a technicality - that the government locally is mandating certain types of organizations mandate vaccines? Is there any scenario you think where anyone should be able to mandate any vaccine for anyone?

Voice of Reason Nov 11, 2021 12:43 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

It is very multifaceted SBTownie. It's tough to answer that in the space we have allotted. When I have more time I'll try and condense my thoughts for an appropriate reply. Bottom line, no, you should not be forced to inject something in your body in order to participate in society. In the future could there be something so incredibly dangerous and terrifying to warrant that, possibly, I hope not, but that certianly isn't covid, and even then if it were that horrifyingly deadly you wouldn't have anyone refusing the vax, (and if they did, they wouldn't last long).

ger8t Nov 11, 2021 01:45 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

"Anti-vaccine mandate does not equal anti-vaxxer."

According to the State of California, 66.4% are fully vaccinated, 7.5% are partially vaccinated. Close to 74% total. https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccination-progress-data/

Of the 26% unvaccinated, it would probably be because of (1) specific health reasons, (2)
do not trust the vaccine/had Covid and believe in herd immunity. (3) religious reasons (4) would get vaccinated but do not like to be ordered to take a shot.

Without a mandate, we would get group 4 vaccinated and get closer to 100%. By having a mandate, there will be people getting vaccinated because they are being forced to which will also get us closer to 100%.

One question is; Will we get more people vaccinated with a mandate or without a mandate? Probably more with a mandate.

2nd question is: Even if a mandate will get more people vaccinated, will it motivate the government to issue other mandates, both health related and non health related? Is this the classic "slippery slope" scenario?

Sincerely,

A vaccinated individual who feels like a lab rat.

a-1636669321 Nov 11, 2021 02:22 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Ger8t, herd immunity is not something one can “believe in” or not.
Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

SBTownie Nov 11, 2021 02:26 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Thanks, VOR. I might disagree with you on some of this (to be honest, I cannot make up my mind about vaccine mandates beyond knowing I disagree with it coming from on high like the federal level saying you have to do it just to be a citizen) but I appreciate good faith discussions and anyone who is willing to actually logically spell out and defend their position. And I am always open to interrogating my own and hopeful that I can land on the side of logic and rationale rather than emotions or politics. I will say I was initially more in favor of organizational (read, not governmental) mandates and I am not saying I am no longer in favor of them, but I am less enthusiastic as the virus evolves and immunity wanes at disparate rates between people, vaccines, and so on. Relying on immunity from infection is also problematic, however. There is a lot of evidence I've seen that for many people, all trace of antibodies is gone from their system in 11 months or sometimes even sooner. Unfortunately I agree with you this will be endemic and longterm. My ideal scenario would be 1) that the vaccines worked even better than they do and conferred longer immunity, and/or 2) we just had a cohesive civil society that was well equipped with accurate rapid tests and everyone saw it in their, their family's, and their social circle's best interest to test frequently and self-isolate anytime they were testing positive. I suppose what dismays me about these sheriffs deputies is that they are allegedly resisting testing. Testing does not require they be vaccinated so it seems obstinate for sake of being obstinate, or denial that COVID can pose a serious threat to even those who do not die. Not really comfortable with either of those scenarios, whereas I am a bit more flexible for resisting a mandate to inject something into your body.

a-1636696629 Nov 11, 2021 09:57 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

10:45 : That's a form of self-fulfilling prophecy - the behavior of the COVIDIOTS allowed the virus to spread such that we may not be able to prevent its being endemic. Even deer are now a potential reservoir, like ground squirrels for bubonic plague. Thanks a lot!

a-1636708122 Nov 12, 2021 01:08 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

That's what's terrifying. These people are in control of others, yet don't see the need to protect themselves -- and us. I'm disgusted with them.

We have a relatively decent sheriff.
But we must be aware of the toxicity of "sheriffs" and their "independence" movement, which seeks to remove them and their followers from federal and state law. It's "legally" sponsored lawlessness.

a-1636708376 Nov 12, 2021 01:12 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

"you should not be forced to inject something in your body in order to participate in society."

What if your "participation in society" includes control over others in physically close quarters? Does the analysis of risk to you and them change? Yes, of course I think it should.

ger8t Nov 12, 2021 11:11 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

"Ger8t, herd immunity is not something one can “believe in” or not. Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity."

See post from CHIP OF SB NOV 12, 2021 07:54 AM: Here is an article from the LA times. Doctors at the cdc are now explaining that “herd immunity” will not be possible because the covid vaccines cannot stop virus transmission. So many of the comments here are based on the assumption that a sufficient vaccination rate will eradicate the virus and that vaccination stops virus transmission. It looks like those assumptions have now been proven incorrect. https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2021-11-12/cdc-shifts-pandemic-goals-away-from-reaching-herd-immunity

Voice of Reason Nov 12, 2021 11:37 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

100% misinformation @9:57, animals and wildlife were always a reservoir and the delta variant was widespread before vaccines were widely distributed. It is disgusting some peoples need to blame others for what is a natural disaster we have minimal control over.

Ahchooo Nov 12, 2021 08:12 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Ger8t: maybe we won’t get herd immunity with covid, like we don’t have it with influenza. But as a concept, it’s not open to “belief.” It can be achieved with some diseases, and not with others. Looks like it’s not happening with covid, since infections can occur in people who have been previously infected and recovered, as well as in those who’ve been vaccinated. (The data does show that the infection rate is lower in those who’ve been vaccinated, but it’s far from a sure thing.) Maybe we’ll get a better vax eventually.

SantaBarbaraObserver Nov 11, 2021 08:23 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Fire them all. Its a perfect time to rid the force and our society of bad / dumb cops. If they don't understand the need to "protect and to serve" the people at large, they should be working as a graveyard shift mall cop instead. I have ZERO empathy for LE who refuse to comply with lawful orders or to perform their duty in a safe manner. The irony and lack of self awareness of these idiots is simply too much...

RHS Nov 11, 2021 08:26 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

It is offensive to find that well-paid public employees such as the SBSO feel they can arrogantly ignore the directions of their employers and endanger the public they are supposed to protect. One knows that every member of the dissenting group has been vaccinated in the past against childhood diseases as well as a good number of military veterans who got the jab to do that work. This is childish political stuff, a bit like a 3 year old's tantrum.

Chevy67 Nov 11, 2021 10:27 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Another lie from "Voice of Reason" about the CDC. Thankfully it was deleted.

Title: "Fact Check-Fauci, Marks did not say 40% to 50% of CDC and FDA employees are ‘refusing the COVID-19 vaccine’"
https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-faucimarks-cdcvaccinationlevel/fact-check-fauci-marks-did-not-say-40-to-50-of-cdc-and-fda-employees-are-refusing-the-covid-19-vaccine-idUSL2N2N71QB

Voice of Reason Nov 11, 2021 10:36 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Wrong, I did not say they refused, I said they weren't vaccinated. Here is a direct quote from your fact check:

"Regarding NIAID employees, Fauci responded: “You know I’m not 100% sure, Senator. But I think it’s probably a little bit more than half, probably around 60 percent”. Then Marks said that the number for FDA employees was “probably in the same range,” although he couldn’t “tell an exact number.”

So FDA and NIAID are at about 60% vaxed, and if you watched the actual hearing the CDC totally dodged the question (why!?! think about that). Why are so many at the NIAID and FDA not vaccinated? They were "first in line", experts in the field and would know exactly the risk covid poses and the benefits the vaccines provide, but still not vaccinated...

lovesbalot Nov 11, 2021 09:06 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Isn't getting vaccinated part of protecting and serving... I sure hope those 161 officers are wearing n95 mask when they pull people over. Sheriff Brown says no civilian oversight is needed. I disagree. The fact that the sheriff's spokesperson wouldn't comment and their union won't comment. If Samsum can get 98% compliance and Cottage is at 95% and everyone wearing masks why isn't the sheriff dept. Brown lack of leadership is showing again. Is he vaccinated ? He needs to come out with a statement supporting masks and vaccines . This attitude about being above it all is troubling and does not inspire confidence at all.

a-1636660590 Nov 11, 2021 11:56 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

The role of Sheriff is to protect and serve the people, not be a popularity cheerleader for the staff, including officers. Vaccination is protection, safe and necessary, particularly for civil servants who may unexpectedly (and often in crisis situations) enter our lives. We shouldn't have to wonder what disease they are bringing into our homes and community.

Voice of Reason Nov 11, 2021 09:14 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

You guys are disgusting. These are front line workers who continued doing their job when pandemic started and all of you went and hid in your homes. Many of them were already infected with covid-19 carrying out their duties, which the real science has shown offers a more robust and longer lasting protection that any of the currently available vaccines. It is so utterly disappointing to see all these calls for them to be fired and lose their pensions coming out of our community.

Thomas John Nov 12, 2021 07:08 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

VOR - talk to someone that has long covid and see if they think that they should have gotten the vaccine vs. " (being infected with covid)... science has shown offers a more robust and longer lasting protection that any of the currently available vaccines."

Voice of Reason Nov 12, 2021 08:18 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Thomas John, they didn't want to get covid, but in carrying out their duties as front line workers many contracted covid. Now some who contracted covid don't feel the need to now get a vaccination to keep their job (especially when it's their job that gave them covid to begin with). If you're line of thinking is that they'd prefer to get infected to acquire natural immunity over getting the vaccine you'd be mistaken.

Babycakes Nov 11, 2021 09:47 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

ChillinGrillin:
Rule #1 - When interacting with LE, no matter what, always treat them with respect.
Rule #2 - When interacting with LE, no matter what, always/always treat them with respect.
Rule #3- When interacting with LE, no matter what, always/always/allllllllways treat them with respect.
Rules #4 - infinity....same as rule #3.
Here's are two scenarios that point out the difference between dealing with LE the right way, and the wrong way:
Goofus (wrong way): "I did NOT drive through a red light and you are mistaken Mr. LE." = Fat ticket
Gallant (right way): "Yeah, I probably drove through the intersection a bit late Mr. LE." = Warning (about 85-90% of the time)
As you can see, Goofus got the ticket, and Gallant got off with a simple warning by showing respect. Simplistic explanation, but if all of your interactions with the SBSD are a "fail"....then you be doing sumpting wrong.

a-1636655752 Nov 11, 2021 10:35 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

No Babycakes. These people have not earned our respect anymore than a DMV employee. Should we all be civil and polite? Sure. But the people with the deadly weapons should do so first and not employ outrageous ego/power trips. The bad cops, or the "bad apples" as you've said in the past, need to go. These are the bad apples, stop backpedalling.

Babycakes Nov 11, 2021 01:36 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

AlexBlue: In that case, sign the ticket and go to court. You will need to have video proof to show your innocence or hope the officer does not show up. I have gotten off at least a dozen times in SB County alone by simply being nice to the officer and another half-dozen times or so when they don't show up in court (CHP is famous for not showing up!). Unfortunately, I have a very bad habit of "trailering" the vehicle in front of me to get through yellow/red lights (I call them "pink" lights...for me, it's all about saving time). So, take my advice....be nice to cops, even when they are wrong/wrong.

ChillinGrillin Nov 11, 2021 03:40 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Babycakes: At no point did I disrespect the sheriffs I encountered. I always call law enforcement "sir" or "officer" and don't raise my voice even when their tone and way they approach me is completely disproportionate and ridiculous. I gave them respect even when they searched me for handing a dollar to my friend taking the bus, or pulled me over and did a field sobriety test for going 70mph on the freeway. Even when I could tell the deputy pulling me over was someone who let even a little power go to their head, I showed respect. Based on my 30+ years of encounters with SBSO and knowledge of their activities (or lack thereof), they don't deserve any respect whatsoever.

a-1636709151 Nov 12, 2021 01:25 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Babycakes, your behavior is disgusting. So is your manipulation. I've gotten one ticket in 40 years. You seem to be bragging about an extreme number of tickets, and being pulled over. I don't know what to say, I just .... speechless.

Babycakes Nov 12, 2021 12:28 PM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

My driving certainly can use some help. Funny thing is that nearly everyone in my family, including my parents (God rest their souls), are not very good drivers. Failing eyesight and slowed reaction times as we age is also a factor. That being said, the ONLY point I was trying to make is that sometimes LE lets you off the hook, but NEVER let you off the hook if you are rude or disrespectful. That's it...no sense of entitlement, not disgusting, or manipulativeness. Simple respect for LE goes a long way, which has nothing to do with my poor driving.

Humanitarian2003 Nov 11, 2021 09:21 AM
161 Unvaccinated Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies Refuse Testing

Two years ago, my office was broken into and burglarized with a loss of around $7,000. The burglar injured themselves and left blood at the scene, but the SBSO deputy, when asked to sample the blood for forensic dna testing, said, "This is not television; we don't do that." So the perp is free to wreak havoc on other businesses and residences. I see our roads being dominated by aggressive drivers speeding and crowding out other motorists and jeopardizing everyone including pedestrians without any intervention by SBSO personnel. Officers should be examples of proper behavior to the general population, not renegades holding themselves above the "law".

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