SB County requires indoor face coverings through Feb. 1
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has extended the indoor mask mandate for another month.
The extension will last until 5 p.m. Feb. 1 unless it’s extended again or revised.
The order requires all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions.
Earlier, Dr. Henning Ansorg, the county public health officer, told the News-Press that each extension is for one month.
As of Dec. 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have categorized the COVID-19 community transmission level as “high” in California and Santa Barbara County.
Since Dec. 25, the county has had a case rate of 33.5 cases per 100,000 people and a test positivity of 9.5%, according to the public health department.
Before the mask mandate can be ended, the county case rate should be seven cases per 100,000 people for three consecutive weeks, according to the public health department. Additionally, hospitalizations should be low and stable for at least three days, the department said in a news release.
Local health officials said they will consider these metrics, along with factors such as the spread of new variants.
The CDC continues to recommend fully vaccinated individuals wear a face covering in public indoor settings in areas with substantial or high community transmission rates.
“We are heading into the winter season facing a very different virus compared to last year,” Dr. Ansorg said in the news release. “Already omicron makes up over 60% of new infections in Santa Barbara County.
“We need a layered approach of protective measures to reduce transmission and severe illness,” he said. “In addition to vaccination including the booster, wearing a well-fitted mask in public indoor spaces does give additional protection to the wearer and limits transmission of COVID to others. We are asking everyone to help reduce unnecessary illness and suffering by following this health order.”
Additionally, the California Department of Public Health updated requirements for attending mega events, such as concerts and games. Prior to entering an event, attendees will now be required to show either proof of vaccination, a negative antigen COVID-19 test within one day of the event, or a negative PCR test within two days of the event.
The full health officer order on the county mask mandate can be read at publichealthsbc.org/health-officer-orders.
Visit publichealthsbc.org/vaccine to learn where you can find a vaccination site near you or call 2-1-1.