Supervisors vote to start process toward Stage 2B
Eager to accelerate the reopening of businesses that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to send documents for attestation to the California Department of Public Health on Tuesday.
If ultimately approved in the attestation process, Santa Barbara County would move into the second half of Stage 2 in the state’s four-step Resilience Roadmap. This would allow for the reopening of shopping malls, swap meets, car washes, tanning facilities, school and childcare facilities, and dine-in restaurants.
Santa Barbara County cannot move into Stage 3 until Gov. Gavin Newsom decides to move the state as a whole into the next phase.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Van Do-Reynoso, director of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, delineated how the county now meets all of the required variance criteria for moving onto Stage 2B.
The criteria include having stable or decreasing hospitalization, with a daily hospitalization percent change of no more than 5 percent in a week. Santa Barbara County’s seven-day average of daily percent change is currently 2.2 percent. Also, Santa Barbara County must have less than 8 percent of COVID-19 cases in the past seven days come back positive.
Since the high numbers of COVID-19 infections in the Lompoc Federal Prison are no longer being counted among the wider county’s case total, Santa Barbara County now fulfills this criterion with a seven-day positive test percentage of 3.5. The prison’s seven-day positive test percentage is 24.8.
Although the prison’s numbers aren’t included among Santa Barbara County’s case count, Dr. Do-Reynoso clarified that the state is asking the county to track the penitentiary’s infections as a separate metric.
“Our disease containment unit has a very strong relationship with the disease control in the prison, and so even though we’re parsing out the numbers doesn’t mean we’re distancing ourselves from any outbreak that happens in the prison,” she said.
Other variance criteria required for attestation are having clear employee protection guidelines for Stage 1 essential workplaces to follow, conducting daily COVID-19 testing of 1.5 per 1,000 residents, having 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents, the ability to house at least 15 percent of homeless residents, and county hospitals being able to accommodate a minimum surge of 35 percent.
Having metrics that serve as triggers for the County to either loosen or heighten restrictions is also among the variance criteria, which are specified in the RISE Guide. A Santa Barbara-based economic recovery plan intended to supplement Gov. Newsom’s four-step reopening plan, the RISE Guide was also passed during Tuesday’s meeting.
The board also voted to 4 to 1 to extend its emergency ordinance placing a moratorium on eviction orders until May 31. However, according to the agenda the extension’s implementation will ultimately depend on Gov. Newsom extending Executive Order N-28-20, which authorized localities to enact eviction moratoriums until the end of this month.
Board vice chair and Fourth District supervisor Peter Adam was the lone no vote, on the grounds that the continued stay-at-home order has been “unreasonably executed” and that the incremental approach to reopening has been “too slow.”