SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to continue the local emergency ordinance related to efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regulators Nathan Fletcher, Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas were in favour, while Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond voted no after a regular update on the virus.
In a written statement, Desmond said he has voted against continuing the state of emergency because if the county is “willing to turn people away from working in the county of San Diego, hospitals, doctor’s offices, police officers, firefighters and many other industries, (then) this emergency is over.”
Anderson declined to comment through a spokesperson.
Based on Desmond’s suggestions, the council also voted unanimously in favor of a series of recommendations: providing monoclonal treatments, expanding all types of testing, including antibody and data collection, and a future presentation on natural immunity.
Desmond said the public is not aware that monoclonal treatments are available, and the county should make more effort to inform them.
Antibody testing would help people make decisions about their health, Desmond said.
Germany and other countries are investigating whether people recover with antibody testing, and the province should follow suit and create its own database as well, Desmond said.
Desmond added that if certain people really can’t get a vaccine for health or religious reasons, showing evidence of antibodies could help them keep their jobs.
dr. District Attorney Wilma Wooten said this type of test is “at a point in time” and does not indicate what a person might look like in six months.
Wooten added that UC San Diego has investigated such tests, but that information cannot predict a person’s long-term immunity.
Lawson-Remer called for better public education about COVID-19 booster vaccines so the public knows where and how to get them. She added that it was important for the county to focus on why residents of Vista, San Marcos and Escondido are lagging far behind on vaccinations.
Denise Foster, the county’s chief nurse, said the county is working with community organizations to understand the barriers that prevent people from getting vaccinated. Supervisor Nora Vargas offered her team to help Lawson-Remer’s office with vaccine efforts.
Vargas added that inequality existed before the pandemic and that language barriers also fueled mistrust. However, the help of Spanish organizations improved the vaccination rate.
“It’s been a difficult year for everyone,” Vargas said, adding that she hopes 2022 will be a healthier year.
During Tuesday’s presentation, Wooten said the province is still dealing with increased cases, with the Delta virus variant predominating.
Wooten added that while the omicron variant has not been discovered in the province, “it is only a matter of time” before it will happen, and that 18 states have reported cases involving the omicron variant.
Wooten stressed that with high transmission rates in the United States, including San Diego County, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that people wear masks in indoor environments.
Wooten also said residents should get their flu shot in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Tuesday’s meeting also included a one-hour public comment period, mostly made up of people criticizing the coronavirus vaccines and opposing any COVID-19 mandates.
Since the county declared a state of emergency on February 14, 2020, there have been 390,381 coronavirus cases and 4,357 deaths in San Diego County.
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