County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart announced COVID-19 Ambassadors will assist local businesses with reopening and guideline compliance.

During Friday's press conference, Hart stated the volunteer group will wear blue shirts and directly assist newly open businesses with safe operating guidelines and education.

More than 1,500 local businesses have already self-certified through the county's website. 

Hart stated the county is looking at the bigger picture of reopening and understands there is a learning curve for everyone but hope they can integrate quickly.

Officials are hoping to avoid moving backwards by imposing stricter guidelines due to spikes in COVID-19 cases such as Lassen and Sonoma Counties.

Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg reported 13 new community cases as of Friday, bringing the total to 1,649.

Of the total, 971 belong to the federal prison in Lompoc with 678 in the community. Of the community cases, 537 have fully recovered, 88 are quarantined at home, 28 are hospitalized with 9 in the intensive care unit (ICU), and 15 are pending information.

From the 678 total of community cases, 314 are located in the City of Santa Maria. Dr. Ansorg stated he still grapples with this fact but the health department is still looking for the answer as to why the numbers are so much higher in this area.

Interviews have been completed and data has been put together and they are certain the outbreak is spread throughout the city and not in specific neighborhoods, he said. There has been an increase in community outreach to raise more awareness of the virus and the guidelines and a concentrated lab drive for testing to identify sources of infection.

"It's a work in progess," he said.

Dr. Ansorg stated there will be a pause for another week or two before any new restrictions are rolled back, to assess the impact of the new activities. Once the health department is assured the numbers have not increased, they will suggest safely moving into the next stage. 

More information on COVID-19 cases can be found at

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yin yang May 29, 2020 09:16 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

So what systems are best?

According to experts, two functions of air-conditioning systems can help prevent the spread of a virus: Ventilation — fresh air coming in to the building from outside — and filtration, or removing small particles from the air.
Standard systems used in most commercial and public buildings, including restaurants, do both and “limit risk of aerosol transmission of covid-19,” Bahnfleth says.

The engineering society, which develops standards used in building codes around the country, is still recommending building owners take steps to further reduce risks. Those include increasing the amount of outside air being brought in, Bahnfleth says.

Under most current codes, a restaurant should replace all of its air with outside air about once every hour, or what’s called an “air exchange rate” of one. The society is recommending upping that to three times an hour, Lo notes.

The problem for diners is that it’s almost impossible to assess the technical specs of a restaurant’s HVAC system to understand the risk. “They shouldn’t have to do that,” Roy says. Instead, he suggests using “a reasonable-person standard.”

yin yang May 29, 2020 09:15 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

"Can air-conditioning systems spread the virus?

The short answer is that it’s possible but unlikely, according to experts.

A recent study of an incident that took place at a restaurant in China, where the virus originated, found nine people were infected with covid-19 by a diner sitting near an air-conditioning vent. A study of the transmission, published in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, showed how one diner infected diners at adjoining tables, as droplets containing the virus were apparently carried by the air conditioning.
Four people at the person’s table later tested positive for covid-19, as well as five people at neighboring tables, some as far as 14 feet away.

Scientists caution that the study documents a single incident and note that the restaurant’s air conditioning system was very different from those used by U.S. restaurants. “The ventilation was one-tenth of what it should be if you use standards that apply to most U.S. restaurants,” says William Bahnfleth, a professor of architectural engineering at Pennsylvania State University and chairman of the epidemic task force convened by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. He pointed to a later analysis and simulation of the incident indicating poor ventilation was the culprit.

Without fresh air from outside, “the infected diner was putting out infectious material, and there was nowhere for it to go,” he says. There is no known instance of a coronavirus transmission through an HVAC system in the United States, he notes.

yin yang May 29, 2020 08:03 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

I'm not going to go back through Edhat posts re: PHD updates to address an individual post that criticized a mention of airflow in restaurants, but it is an issue. I'm posting here because it's an active thread. Found this today (it's not the indictment more conservative readers might assume): ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"As restaurants reopen their dining rooms, here are experts’ answers to some of the questions would-be diners might have about the air around them." --------------------------------------------------------------------

macpuzl May 29, 2020 10:57 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

Yes, by all means, read all the information you can find. Comic books, talk shows, cook books, sitcoms, racist pamphlets, and their associated web sites are all considered valid sources of information for medical advice by the con crowd.

Sam The Dog May 29, 2020 09:14 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

You have to stop taking the "experts" advice as gospel and start reading ALL the information to make your own informed decision. Do you know how much flip flopping has been going on with the "experts" at the CDC? If a credentialed and experienced doctor who you saw for the first time gave you a cancer diagnosis, wouldn't you get a second or even third opinion and then make your own determination on the best course of treatment?

a-1590802853 May 29, 2020 06:40 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

Spikes in cases for Sonoma and Lassen counties? You mean the +1 and +0 cases from yesterday? And the total 4 and 0 deaths, respectively, in those counties. These "experts" are insane, if not dangerous to freedom and the American way of life.

a-1590799016 May 29, 2020 05:36 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

This is crazy! You should be ashamed! You think we can pay 4 months rent for a commercial lease we still can’t use?! The esthetician’s are hanging on by a thread! Let us out of our commercial leases before you bankrupt us all!

a-1590814587 May 29, 2020 09:56 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

I’ve been paying my rent this whole time. I’m paying it next month, no I didn’t get the ppp and no, unemployment isn’t working for me and I can’t get through for them to fix my claim. So yes, I’m paying for it with my savings. I want to work. I want to keep my business. I think it’s terrible to stick it to the landlord, and I think it’s terrible that u can put off rent for a year, which is why I am not doing that. I don’t think landlords are rich, a lot of them only own one property and that is their income so don’t assume I think like that. However... if I am never allowed to reopen again, is that fair to us to keep paying for a space they are not allowing me to use? Do they want us to close permanently? Maybe they do....

Sam The Dog May 29, 2020 09:10 PM
County Announces COVID-19 Ambassadors to Assist Local Businesses

@5:36 let me get this right, the City should step in and terminate commercial leases so the tenants don't go bankrupt, and let the property owners go bankrupt instead? There is this delusion out there that State St. properties are owned by a few uber-rich real estate barons. While the heads of the investment companies may be well off, the are hundreds of small, individual investors that own a little piece of these properties. Many saved for years and put money away in some of these investments and now rely upon for income in retirement. They don't have a large bank account to waive rents and cover the property tax payments ( NOT WAIVED BY THE STATE) , to cover debt service (NOT WAIVED BY THE LENDERS) , to cover the fire insurance premiums (NOT WAIVED BY THE INSURANCE COMPANIES), to cover the utilities, security, cleaning, etc. all NOT FREE AND NOT WAIVED. For you to just pass the buck to the landlords is just like your clients stiffing you for the bill. If you want someone to bail you out of this situation don't dump it another private citizen to cover, LOOK TO THE PEOPLE THAT PUT YOU INTO THIS SITUATION.... THE STATE, COUNTY and CITY POLITICIANS. Please remember how our State, County, and City elected officials handled this crises come November. Many will blame the federal government, but the federal government did not order any lock-downs and arbitrary closing of businesses! Tell me, how are your esthetician services any different than a salon cutting my hair if we're all wearing gloves and masks, or the grocery store clerk wringing up hundreds of people a day? The answer is Gov. Newsom decided it was different.

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