Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise title=
Public Health Department Deputy Director Paige Batson
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By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County officials continue to reject stricter enforcement of mask-wearing and distancing as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

During a press conference on Friday afternoon when asked if the county would implement enforcement of people not following the COVID-19 guidelines in terms of mask-wearing and physical distancing, Supervisor Gregg Hart stated the enforcement of individual people presents many challenges including the potential for confrontations that would be difficult to manage. 

He said the community is better off focusing on education and imploring people to think about the consequences of their actions rather than a punitive approach. When discussing counties who have imposed greater enforcement, Hart stated it has not truly changed behavior and many of those jurisdictions have not issued many citations. 

City governments, however, are able to enforce stricter guidelines that go beyond the Governor's orders. The City of Santa Barbara will discuss possible enforcement and stricter guidelines this coming Tuesday.

The Virus is Reignited

It has been 128 days since Governor Newsom issued the stay-at-home order with 90% of California's population being on the state's monitoring list due to an increase of COVID-19 cases.

"We are at a crossroads with the COVID pandemic," said Hart. He expressed how the county successfully flattened the infection curve and avoided overloading hospitals but the virus was not contained and it has reignited, threatening the progress that was initially made.

While the local hospital capacity is "prudently managed," the new cases continue to increase and the trend is not good, he said.

As of Friday, the county has averaged 121 new cases each day over the past week. The state requires an average of 8 new cases per day to be lifted from the state's monitoring list. Since Memorial Day there has been a steady increase from 13 cases per day to 25 per day two weeks later. One month later the number rose to 60, and six weeks after Memorial Day it grew to 96 cases per day until today, two months after Memorial Day, we are at 121 cases per day.

Hart stated we cannot go indefinitely like this and we know what to do, emphasizing that masks are the safe and easy choice to reduce the case count so we can return to living our normal lives. 

Friday's Numbers

Santa Barbara County Public Health Deputy Director Paige Batson reported 133 new cases bringing the grand total to 5,576

Of the total, 369 of the cases are active, meaning they are still considered to be infectious. There are currently 85 hospitalizations including 26 people in the intensive care unit (ICU).

The Public Health Department has between 70 and 85 contact tracers who average 250 calls on cases per day. The average wait time from a positive result of being contacted by a tracer is 2.1 days. All positive cases are contacted by a tracer, as well as anyone who had close contact with the positive case. Approximately 94% of those who tested positive are able to investigated, while 6% are unable to be reached. 

From the cases investigated so far, 29% spread the virus from person to person, 18% is spread in the Lompoc prison, 21% traveled outside the county, and 18% is community-acquired. The most common form of person to person spread is during family or group gatherings. 

Batson stated there is a general sense of hesitancy from those who are being interviewed when asked specific questions about restricted behavior such as attending parties or gatherings. However, she said the contact tracers are skilled interviewers and feel most people are forthcoming. 

Hospital Specific Numbers

Dr. J. Trees Ritter, Chief Medical Officer and Infectious Disease Specialist at Marian Medical Hospital, stated they have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 due to the high number of cases in the Santa Maria area. 

In the past 30 days, the hospital has averaged 20 to 22 COVID-19 patients in the ICU, typically people with respiratory issues. The have had up to 16 or 17 ventilators being used at any given time, he said.

On Friday Cottage Health reported caring for a total of 270 patients across all their facilities. Of those, 213 are acute care patients including 16 patients who are on ventilators, 29 are confirmed COVID-19 positive in isolation, and 8 patients in critical care.

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

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a-1596045891 Jul 29, 2020 11:04 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

WHO now states after extensive data analysis published in Lancet that 3 feet (one meter) distancing is good enough. When will the city follow this emerging science? This will help schools and businesses tremendously, as well as normal social interaction.

a-1595868255 Jul 27, 2020 09:44 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

CDC Director Robert Redfield admitted today: ......"“We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from Covid. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose, that are above excess, than we had as background, than we are seeing deaths from Covid.”...

Alexblue Jul 25, 2020 06:59 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

I didn't know that we created and enforced laws based not he probability that people would or wouldn't ignore them.

We should also stop enforcing drunk driving laws, and jaywalking laws, and littering laws, and noise laws if we are just going to ignore the pandemic.

Fools.

420722 Jul 25, 2020 04:48 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Do you mask police really think people are getting sick not wearing a mask outside on walks? I’m confused as to where you want stricter enforcement. I haven’t seen any store or restaurant or building that doesn’t make you wear one. Apparently “dehydrated” Dr. Fauci thinks it perfectly fine not to wear a mask or social distance. You people are being PLAYED.

420722 Jul 25, 2020 05:15 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Ok great you answered my question, you want enforcement at private gatherings. Not sure who would enforce that or how. Based on comments it’s not just private gatherings people seem concerned about though, sounds like some think mask should be worn every time we leave our homes and that’s absurd. And no I’m not an asshole if the signs say mask required to enter I wear one.

m-cubed Jul 25, 2020 04:57 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

nice straw-man fallacy. nobody said anything about outside on walks. it's more like these big maskless family gatherings and parties people who dont think covid19 is real tend to partake in. people who insist on going into the liquor store with no mask despite the multiple signs on the door. you, probably.

a-1595718182 Jul 25, 2020 04:03 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

I worry far more about people driving while using cell phones or distracted by other in car media, than I do passing strangers without masks on the sidewalks. Too many near misses from distracted drivers makes being a pedestrian in this town a real health peril. "Covid" not so much. How did that no hands on cell phone use while driving law work out? How did enforcement of blatant violations of that law work out?

LooseCannon Jul 27, 2020 06:18 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Let's fine people for being obese, too. All those couch-potatoes are gobbling up resources. If you don't meet a healthy body-mass index while walking around in public, it's compulsory quarantine for you, fatty. That would bring the morbidity numbers down. Flatten the curve.

a-1595721622 Jul 25, 2020 05:00 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Street sweeping is not a racket. Voters passed Measure B with full knowledge of what was involved - creeks access streets would be swept and cars would have to be removed to allow this to happen. Visit the city's Measure B website to learn more about this duly approved voter initiative. Don't like it, then gather signatures and put something else on the ballot. Sometimes what the "government does" in fact is the direct will of the people - like Measure B. And the DeSal plant and even the Train to Nowhere -all ballot propositions passed willingly by the voters.

m-cubed Jul 25, 2020 04:22 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

ya know that would not only protect public health and put us in a position to open our economy back up but lao raise some money for our brokeass city in a more legitimate way than their absurd street-sweeping racket and having CHP give people tickets for going 80 on an empty freeway

a-1595857471 Jul 27, 2020 06:44 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Damn right I'll vote for higher taxes! To my own detriment too. It all depends on who and what is being taxed. The rich definitely don't pay their fair share! I do hope we all band together for the sake of us; for community. (For instance, repealing Prop. 13? I'd have to vote for it. It'll hurt me, but it is in line with my political beliefs. Here's what's really happening: https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/jan/24/facebook-posts/no-californians-arent-being-asked-repeal-prop-13s-/)

SandyS Jul 26, 2020 08:30 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

And yet again people will vote in favor of a tax increase. They will sell it in a way that convinces people it' s necessary to keep the town alive, and prosperous and to protect property values. And how it's "not their fault" b/c this was a virus so we all need to ban together to help. Except if they were really worried about that they'd be acting differently. They will vote it in - like I said, wait for it.

a-1595721768 Jul 25, 2020 05:02 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Taxes cannot be increased unless there is a ballot proposition voted on by local residents, like they were recently willing to do when they passed Measure C and increased the retail sales tax. That is the time to protest and say no - when the city has its hands out and wants more money to pay off their own poor budgeting decisions. School bonds and parcel taxes the same way - look at your property tax bill or your landlord's property tax bill and add up how many times the people did say - tax me more.

Lorax Jul 25, 2020 02:26 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

First fine should be 30.00 next should be 100.00 Post signs everywhere violations will be enforced with the mask requirement. You can exercise your freedom non mask people on your own personal property, stop screwing it up for everyone else!

letmego Jul 29, 2020 11:11 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

LOOSECANNON maybe do a little bit more reading about obesity and the causes of obesity and how to fight it. I'll give you a little tip: fining people for being fat doesn't work. Also: if you were obese as a child you are fighting a lifelong losing battle. Way to penalize people for something that isn't their fault.

LooseCannon Jul 27, 2020 07:15 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

True, and I read the newspapers, liberal ones, voraciously. But it remains politically incorrect to talk about obesity as a MAJOR predictor of death by COVID. I almost fell off my chair listening to NPR on Sunday and hearing a Latino doctor from Houston bemoaning the fact that most of his patients in the ICU were obese. The epidemic of obesity is sending more people to an early death than COVID-19. Where are the health professionals addressing this problem? (And by way of self-disclosure, let me note that I am about 10 pounds overweight myself, so I would gladly pay the $100 fine I propose, as long as the bastards open the gyms so I can lose it again!).

a-1595901873 Jul 27, 2020 07:04 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

LOOSE - it's not only overweight people who are at risk. Read the news once in a while. In Florida even healthy children are at risk. ----https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/07/27/florida-child-hospitalizations-jump-23-as-schools-prepare-to-reopen/ ------ https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/27/health/florida-covid-children-hospitalizations/index.html --- https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/florida-covid-19-cases-in-children-hospitalizations-among-kids-jump-23percent/ar-BB17f3xr ---

Crystalandmaui Jul 25, 2020 01:58 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Well well , we are constantly being lied to, this deadly virus doesn’t o my pick on the old and sick, it’s anyone and everyone. So we hate this wear a mask wash your hands , stay away from people you do t live with, don’t go anywhere society we’re in right now.
I do too, it I will wear my mask carry my orca or alcohol spray and stay from others .
It everyone needs to be on the same boat.
I went to a restaurant this morning with outside dinning, o my to be very concerned when I saw the waitress, with gloves on , touching everything, including taking out the trash then brought me my drink and condiments with the same gloves hands, then I saw her bring people their food holding every dish with her fingers inside the dish, that is cross contamination, so gross, needless to say I left.
So people don’t k ow yet how not to spread germs.
Regarding the flu season, if we are all doing what we are supposed to be doing they should it be a very bad flu season.

SandyS Jul 25, 2020 09:50 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

So they used taxpayer money to pass and ENFORCE the no-smoking ban but they can't enforce a mask order? Why not deploy those little people they had going around "warning" people who were smoking to "raise awareness"? What is going on here? There weren't that many smokers downtown to make it such an issue yet this is a huge issue and they act like they are impotent to do anything b/c of imagined "confrontations"? Well, where was the worry then?

SBNatural Jul 25, 2020 09:43 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Public health officials are great at education but not in gaining compliance. And when you couple that with our elected leaders being reluctant to take a stand about masks, inaction is fueled. And during times when our very law enforcement agenices are being attacked, be they good or bad, there seems to be an appetite for only persuasion. I can't remember anyone I know was stopped for speeding that did not come away with a ticket, a penalty. It sure made them be careful about the speedometer right after. Education was thrown in free, but they did hit with a penalty. Sorry to say, that changes behavior. If the CHP just coaxed speeders, behavior would remain the same and unchanged. Taking the PH approach of encouraging and education conveys the message that this is not all that important. No wonder folks think it's a game, a ruse, a scam. If it's serious you make it serious, with consequences. I say this with all respect for the knowledge and efforts of our public health people and as a trained public health nurse. But PH and our political leadership need to decide if masks, etc. are really important, and if so, act like it.

a-1595696141 Jul 25, 2020 09:55 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Public health officials are like OSHA officials - they deal in abstract theory; not practical applications and residual consequences. They are part of a solution; not the solution. Real solutions come from elected officials weighing and balancing their recommendations against real world consequences.

a-1595692773 Jul 25, 2020 08:59 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Hart is only one Board member- he cannot set policy on his own- the Health officer issued an enforceable order- the Governor has issued orders- Hart cannot as an individual declare non-enforcement. Sad that during a press conference where our horrible numbers are getting worse, he sends a message of “oh well”. Tossing out meaningless feel good words like “education” when we are in the midst of a shameful crisis in a County that has the resources to do better, is appalling.

a-1595693912 Jul 25, 2020 09:18 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Trust, but verify. Where did the Governor get his arbitrary numbers from in the first place that now wield such draconian powers over all our lives? Why 100 cases; why not 37 cases or 400 cases. Why the slavish abdication to unqualified authority figures who act with purely partisan interests? Time to demand answers before further blind compliance with these "orders" and that comes from from our local elected "representatives". They were not elected to represent only the governor; but us.

[email protected] Jul 25, 2020 08:20 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Wearing a mask is no great sacrifice if you can save lives for a very minor inconvenience. It is not an issue of personal rights, but rather one for the greater good. Fastening a seat belt is enforceable and wearing a mask should be no different. This is a pandemic. Let's not get caught up in the political ugliness that obscures the reality. Gregg Hart and any other Santa Barbara official should pay attention to the science and do what is right for everyone; not the biased few.

Ahchooo Jul 25, 2020 07:46 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

The lack of effort to enforce makes it seem like the supervisors doubt their own edict. I get that we don’t want a police state, but at some point we need to put force behind the rules, or the rules will be seen as optional.

a-1595694480 Jul 25, 2020 09:28 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

Too bad there is still no scientific justification for "universal" mask usage. Just feel-good symbolism that strangely appeals to some. So no, there can be no justification to make someone's desire for meaningless symbolism become a universal mandate. Pay attention to emerging guidelines in specific situations, but stop equating not wearing mask 24/7 with inflicting a death sentence on any and all passing strangers.

Back then... Jul 25, 2020 01:29 AM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

I’m confused,
"During a press conference on Friday afternoon Supervisor Gregg Hart stated the enforcement of individual people presents many challenges including the potential for confrontations would would be difficult to manage" Aren't we supposed to face challenges and learn how to successfully manage them? If it's too much to handle, I can't imagine a "Supervisor" insinuating that it may be too difficult to deal with, we aren't the only ones facing this problem.

"He said the community is better off focusing on education and imploring people to think about the consequences of their actions rather than a punitive approach." Most people won't think about the "consequences of their actions" until it's too late ESPECIALLY if it is not enforced!

"When discussing counties who have imposed greater enforcement, Hart stated it has not truly changed behavior and many of those jurisdictions have not issued many citations." Is there a reliable source he could provide us with to show the legitimacy of that statement?

Last but not least, does this statement make any sense?
"Santa Barbara County officials continue to reject stricter enforcement of mask-wearing and distancing as COVID-19 cases continue to rise." I give credit to the edhat staff for that, very well said statement because honestly that is literally what is happening right now believe it or not. Nothing makes sense with all of these radical discussions and decisions the city is currently making, if this is what the Santa Barbara County officials really believe, I am very worried about Santa Barbara!!

Lucky 777 Jul 24, 2020 10:27 PM
Leaders Push Against Enforcement as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise

In my experience people obey money. If you made non-mask-wearing a $20 fine, equipped minions with a "Square" card reader and ticketed people right there on the street and in stores, you'd dramatically increase compliance. As Mark Twain said: 'There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule."

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