Board of Supervisors Vote to Move Forward with Reopening
Dr. Van Do-Reynoso presenting during Tuesday's Board of Supervisor's meeting
By edhat staff
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors agreed to move forward with submitting an attestation plan to the Governor to reopen more local businesses.
In a presentation to the board on Tuesday, county officials and the Public Health Department (PHD) presented current reports stating the county is meeting the Governor's benchmarks to move forward to Phase 2b.
This phase would allow for shopping malls, in-person retail, and dine-in restaurants. Other services such as bars, barbers, gyms, hotels, and faith services would still be closed until the state moves to Phase 3.
PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated the county meets the amended criteria put forth by the Governor, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak at the Federal Prison in Lompoc will no longer affect the county's overall data.
Some of the criteria that must be met to further reopen include a daily hospitalizations percent change of 5% or less within a one week period. In the past seven days, Santa Barbara County has seen an average of 2.2%
The state also requires less than 8% of positive tests within seven days, the county is reporting 3.5% within the last week. For testing our county would require 685 tests per day, we currently have the capacity for 690 tests per day. For contact tracing, our county would need 68 tracers, we currently have 82 fully trained with another 31 to be trained this week for a total of 113.
To protect the vulnerable populations, the county is currently sheltering 75 homeless individuals described as older adults with health conditions in the south county as well as 31 additional people in north county.
Other factors including the protection of essential workers, hospital capacity, containment capacity, and triggers for adjusting modifications have also been met.
While presenting data, Dr. Do-Reynoso stated the situation in the Santa Maria area is worrisome as the large majority of community COVID-19 cases are located there. PHD is now pivoting to work more closely with Santa Maria officials and residents to understand why there's a high incidence of disease and to come up with creative solutions.
During Monday's press conference, Dr. Henning Ansorg stated there is no clear data trend to suggest why the numbers are higher in Santa Maria. They've looked at all demographics including race, gender, ethnicity, neighborhood, language, income, and more and all cases are evenly spread.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to direct PHD to move forward with the attestation submission to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Once received, PHD and CDPH will communicate to finalize plans and make adjustments as necessary before the plan is posted to the state website, which could take between one and three days. After posting, PHD will issue an amended health order for the county declaring the formal changes and providing guidance.
Local businesses who qualify to reopen or reopen more fully will be asked to follow specific protocols in order to be eligible. PHD will post these guidelines on their website shortly.