The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department extended the indoor mask mandate Friday.
The mandate will remain in effect until 5 p.m. Jan. 2 unless otherwise noted, the department said in a news release.
As of Wednesday, the COVID-19 community transmission rate was categorized as “substantial” in California and Santa Barbara County by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Nov. 26, Santa Barbara County had a case rate of seven cases per 100,000 and a test positivity of 4%, according to the Public Health Department.
The department explained that in order for the mask mandate to be lifted, the county case rate should be seven or fewer cases per 100,000 for three consecutive weeks.
In addition, hospitalizations should be low and stable for at least three days, according to the health department. “Local health officials will consider these metrics, along with any other relevant factors, including the spread of new variants.”
The mask mandate, meanwhile, allows for K-12 students to go without the face covering inside if they’re participating in activities such as sports or band, provided regular testing is conducted.
To see the health order, go to publichealthsbc.org/health-officer-orders. To find a vaccine site, go to publichealthsbc.org/health-officer-orders or call 2-1-1.
The California Department of Public Health has also given the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department additional information about the omicron variant.
Jackie Ruiz, the county health department’s public information officer, told the News-Press that the new information reveals that a Santa Barbara individual was not a contact related to the first omicron case, which was detected in San Francisco. The state department also clarified that it was discussing one individual and not two, as was previously reported.