UPDATE (12:56 p.m.) - Santa Barbara County has said the mandate will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6.
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has confirmed a county-wide mask mandate will take effect at the end of the week.
In a statement written by health officer Dr. Henning Ansorg, everyone two years old and older will have to wear a mask in indoor public settings and shared work places. This order applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
It is effective beginning Friday, Aug. 6.
Ansorg says that the mandate, which was first reported Tuesday, is a temporary measure as the county responds to a rapid increase in cases.
In the statement, the health officer detailed the Delta variant, which has accounted for more than 85% of the new cases seen nationally.
Ansorg said that while the Delta variant's symptoms appear to be the same, the new strain is more contagious and more easily transmitted. It seems to be affecting younger people more than the original strain of the virus did.
The health officer advocated for the vaccine to limit the variant's infection and spread. He said that 1 out of 7 new cases appears in a vaccinated person.
Ansorg said that the vaccine prevents infection with the Delta variant by 82%. It offers about 90% protection from serious illness and hospitalization and nearly 100% protection from death from COVID-19.
Currently, 97% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.