Santa Barbara County’s indoor requirement remains in effect until March 3
California’s indoor mask mandate is set to end Tuesday, but several counties are extending their local requirements.
In Santa Barbara County, the local indoor mask mandate won’t end until March 3. And it could be extended for another month after that.
“No modifications have been made to the local order, which doesn’t end till early March,” Jackie Ruiz, the public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, told the News-Press Wednesday. “Health officials are looking closely at the state’s decision and will share broadly if any changes are to be made to the local order.”
The level of community transmission in Santa Barbara County is high, according to NPR.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department on Wednesday reported 341 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths. That brings the county’s total to 82,208 cases, of which 2,701 are still infectious. The number of deaths is now 627.
Last month the county was reporting higher daily case numbers. For example, the number of new cases on Jan. 9 was 1,167.
Elsewhere, Los Angeles County is keeping its mandate in place for the time being. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, the county will likely see the mandate lifted in the coming weeks, likely by the end of April at the latest, baring the emergence of a new variant.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, omicron accounts for almost 100% of new COVID-19 cases.
“Local health officials are looking at the total landscape,” Ms. Ruiz told the News-Press. “Omicron is such a different variant that it has changed the way health officials are looking at the landscape.
“There isn’t one set measure of data for determining when to lift the mandate,” she explained. “It’s looking at hospitalizations numbers and the case count, of course. But we are really looking at how many people are experiencing severe symptoms and illness.”
According to Reuters, 80.9% of Californians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 69.5% are fully vaccinated.
In Santa Barbara County, the Public Health Department reported Wednesday that 71.1% of the eligible 5-and-older population and 66.9% of the entire population is fully vaccinated.
On Tuesday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told Reuters that “now is not the moment” to drop mask mandates.
“I know people are interested in taking masks off. I too am interested,” Dr. Walensky said. “That would be one marker that we have much of the pandemic behind us.
“Right now our CDC guidance has not changed,” she said.
According to the CDC’s Covid Data Tracker, in the last 30 days there has been a steady decrease in cases, while there has been an uptick in deaths.
On Friday, the U.S. was averaging 716, 000 new daily cases. This is down from the average 800,000 in January.
While the U.S. is seeing a downward trend, many states have yet to reach their peak, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
“Nationally, the case numbers are coming down, which I consider an optimistic trend,” Dr. Walnesky said during a White House briefing on Friday.