The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will consider the adoption of a COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirement for all county employees during its regular meeting Tuesday.
During last week’s meeting, the board voted 3-2 to direct staff from the County’s Executive Office to develop a policy that would require all county employees to be vaccinated or undergo mandatory weekly testing. Staff from the CEOs office will be presenting the policy to the board on Tuesday, and Supervisors will vote whether or not to adopt the requirement.
According to a board letter from the County Executive Office, 49.3% of the county’s workforce has verified vaccination through documentation and 13.4% self-attested their vaccinated status. About 37.3% of county employees have not disclosed their status.
With the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant causing an uptick in case rates throughout the region, the County’s Executive Office wrote that instituting a vaccine mandate or testing requirement is the best way to promote safety.
“It is the County’s intention to maintain a safe working environment for employees as well as the public we serve,” officials wrote. “In order to achieve this goal and preserve the ability of employees to make personal medical decisions, staff created the attached policy whereby employees must be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing if they choose not to be vaccinated. The recommended actions will result in a greater level of protection for employees and the public by ensuring staff does not spread the virus in the workplace.”
Prior to Tuesday’s vote, the board will hear an update from the county’s Public Health Department on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the county. Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, the public health director, will brief the board on the latest case trends and vaccine efforts across the region.
In addition to these items, the board will also hear an update on the proposed Homeless Encampment Resolution Strategy, which outlines key strategies to address the county’s unsheltered population.
The Encampment Resolution Strategy is a three year effort (2021-2024) that is aiming to resolve 45 encampments of varying size, according to a board letter. The strategy outlines five components in a system of care to meet this goal: increasing access to shelter, leveraging long-term rental subsidies, creating new permanent housing with support services, robust outreach and engagement and sustained adequate funding.
Following the presentation, supervisors will vote whether or not to allocate $1,482,500 in restricted American Rescue Plan Act funding for strategy implementation in fiscal year 2021-2022.
The Board of Supervisors will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the County Administration Building in Santa Barbara. The meeting can be streamed live at youtube.com/user/CSBTV20.