Santa Barbara County’s Indoor Masking Mandate Extended to November 5

Public Health Order Extended Another Month or Until Countywide COVID Infections Drop to Six per 100,000 People

Public Health czar Van Do-Reynoso explained to the county supervisors that multiple layers of protection, even if each layer might have holes like Swiss cheese, would combine to fill the gaps; vaccination was the strongest prevention layer, she said. | Credit: Courtesy

The Santa Barbara County Supervisors voted this Tuesday, October 5, to extend indoor mask mandates for another month or until new COVID infections drop to six per 100,000 people and stay there for two weeks. Currently, the countywide infection rate is 17.8 per 100,000. For those vaccinated, however, it’s only 7.9; for the unvaccinated, it’s closer to 30. 

Although county death rates continue to climb — hitting 505 by this Tuesday — overall, the statistical indicators have been moving positively in a downward direction. On Monday, only 34 new cases had been reported, a drop of 55 percent from two weeks prior. Hospital capacity has been the key public health consideration driving the county’s public health response to COVID; this week, 38 percent of all hospital beds are currently available, should the need arise, and 31 percent of its Intensive Care Units are likewise open. Even, so there’s been a 42 percent increase in the occupancy rate of the county’s ICU beds over the past two weeks. 

County Public Health Chief Van Do-Reynoso outlined what she described as the county’s “Swiss cheese” response to COVID — accompanied by a cartoony image showing five slices of cheese, one of which being munched upon by an equally cartoony illustration of “Misinformation Mouse.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Monday’s new COVID cases had dropped by 100 percent from two weeks prior; in fact, they dropped by 55 percent.

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