Health Officials Discuss COVID-19 Vaccination Rates and CalOSHA Guidelines

By edhat staff

Santa Barbara County Public Health officials discussed COVID-19 vaccination rates in the county and new California Division Of Occupational Safety & Health (Cal/OSHA) updates during a press conference Friday.

Speaking during the final public COVID-19 press briefing, Public Health Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated 65.8% of the eligible county residents have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“We have to pause and acknowledge that nearly one in three community members who are over twelve years of age, are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Do-Reynoso.

Breaking down the vaccination rate by age groups, residents 75-years-old and above had the highest proportion of vaccination at 74.5%. The 65 to 74-year-olds were 69.7% followed by 50-64 age group at 72.6%, almost 50% in both 30-49 and 16-29 age groups, and 22.7% in 12-15 year olds. 

Health Officials Discuss COVID-19 Vaccination Rates and CalOSHA Guidelines  

As of this week there are 35 new COVID-19 cases and 3 deaths as well as 12 people hospitalized, 3 of which are in the intensive care unit (ICU).

“We now see that almost all patients who are requiring hospital care and ICU admissions are unvaccinated people,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg.

Dr. Ansorg also warned of COVID-19’s Delta variant that’s spreading worldwide and accounting for 10% of all new infectious cases in the United States. He said the variant is more transmissible, ultimately being more dangerous.

One person infected with the Delta variant can possibly spread it to five or six people compared to just two or three people in previous variants. It’s also caused more hospitalizations in young people, which is why vaccination is highly encouraged as its effective against the Delta variant, Dr. Ansorg stated. 

Officials stated first and second dose vaccine appointments are widely available and are free throughout the county. Visit publichealthsbc.com or myturn.ca.gov for more information. 

On June 17, Cal/OSHA adopted revised workplace standards that include masking guidance for fully vaccinated persons in the workplace.

The revisions state fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or excluded from work after close contact unless they have COVID-19 symptoms, fully vaccinated employees do not need to wear face coverings except for certain situations during outbreaks and in settings where CDPH requires all persons to wear them, and employers must document the vaccination status of fully vaccinated employees if they do not wear face coverings indoors.

Dr. Do-Reynoso stated employers can either require employees to show proof of vaccination or they can provide self-attestation regarding their vaccination status.

Additionally, employees are not required to wear face coverings when outdoors regardless of vaccination status, employees are explicitly allowed to wear a face covering without fear of retaliation from employers, and physical distancing requirements have been eliminated except where an employer determines there is a hazard and for certain employees during major outbreaks.

Dr. Do-Reynoso also announced a new statewide website where vaccinated California residents can access a digital version of their vaccination card. Learn more here.