Published: December 23, 2021
We hope that you and your loved ones are celebrating a
safe and happy holiday season.
An increase in COVID-19 cases is
expected by Sonoma County health officials as the Omicron variant takes hold
and because of holiday gatherings. Hospitalizations are being monitored closely
with one case of the Omicron variant reported to date in Sonoma County. Omicron
accounted for 73 percent of new infections in the U.S. last week, whereas two
weeks ago, the CDC said Omicron accounted for just 1 percent of U.S. cases.
To date, 22 COVID patients are in
Sonoma County hospitals, including five in the ICU. It is important to remember
that being fully vaccinated and boosted means you are still protected against
the worst outcomes of COVID, including due to the Omicron variant, such as
hospitalization and death.
It is vital to use our trusted
preventive measures to do what we can to minimize a surge in cases and
hospitalizations. We know what works: Get vaccinated and boosted; Wear a good,
well-fitting mask; Increase ventilation; Stay home if you’re sick; and get tested,
especially before any holiday gatherings.
The unvaccinated still account for
most hospitalizations and nearly all deaths. In Sonoma County, people who are
unvaccinated are 15 times more likely to be hospitalized if they get COVID, and
13 times more likely to die here from COVID-related illness.
Today’s digest provides helpful and important updates on the following:
- California announces
booster mandate for health workers
local order requires quarantine when exposed to COVID-19
issues new vaccine recommendation
on vaccines & testing in Sonoma County
guidance for holiday gatherings, travel
community resources & support
news items from County of Sonoma
California Announces Booster Mandate for Health Workers
California announced new booster
requirements and testing measures as the Omicron variant becomes the dominant
COVID-19 strain in the nation. The booster requirement for health care workers
is intended to mitigate potential staffing shortages while helping to safeguard
the state’s hospital capacity and protect the health and safety of
Combined with the new federal
policies announced Tuesday, these actions are expected to help ensure everyone
in California has access to testing throughout the holiday season and that K-12
public school students can return to school safely.
By Feb. 1, health care workers and
all employees in high-risk congregate settings, including nursing homes, will
be required to get their booster. In the interim, all health care staff that
have not received their booster must test for COVID-19 twice weekly until they
are up to date on their vaccines.
To help mitigate the spread of
COVID-19 in our schools, the state is also increasing the availability of
at-home COVID-19 tests so K-12 public-school students can be tested as they
return to school from winter break. In early December, the California
Department of Public Health distributed about 2 million tests to schools for
this purpose. CDPH will expand those efforts by providing 1 to 2 rapid tests
for every student. CDPH will work with local education and health partners to
distribute those test kits as quickly and efficiently as possible.
To ensure every Californian has
access to testing, the state will also be expanding antigen test availability
and expanding hours of operation at state-sponsored OptumServe sites that are
already at capacity. The state has established 6,288 testing sites statewide
over the course of the pandemic, 31 percent of the nation’s testing sites.
Since August, the state has
purchased 12 million over-the-counter tests. The state health department is
distributing an additional 6 million tests to community partners serving
disproportionately impacted Californians and 4 million
to local health jurisdictions.
Read the full press release here:
Additional information related to
the governor’s announcement:
Updated Local Order Requires Quarantine When Exposed to COVID-19
Sonoma County health officials
recently updated quarantine rules to include people who have had exposure to a
known or suspected COVID-19 case. The revised order supersedes previous health
orders and requires anyone, fully vaccinated or not, who has had close contact
with a person who has or is likely to have COVID-19 to follow established
quarantine instructions. An second new order addresses isolation measures for
those who test positive.
- Quarantine slows the spread of COVID by restricting the
movement of those who might be infected so that they cannot infect others.
- Close contact occurs when a person is within 6 feet of
someone who is a known or suspected COVID-19 case for a cumulative 15 minutes
or more over a 24-hour period.
- Even if they are not experiencing symptoms, people who
have had close contact must quarantine for 10 days, unless they get a
negative COVID test on day five or later. In that case, if they remain
symptom-free, they can end quarantine after day seven, though they must
continue to monitor symptoms for 14 days.
- Those quarantined must stay in their home or another
residence for the specified period except to receive medical care or
during an emergency. If they become sick with a fever or other COVID-19
symptoms, they should isolate themselves from others at their home.
- Some of the exceptions to this order include first
responders and health care professionals. Under certain circumstances,
first responders that are asymptomatic, considered essential to workplace
operations, and follow other testing and monitoring protocol, can return
to work after close contact.
Read the revised quarantine health
Read more about quarantine
Read the revised isolation order
Vaccine Update: CDC Recommends Pfizer, Moderna Over J&J
There are currently three different COVID-19 vaccines available to the public.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has full FDA approval for persons ages 16
and older, and emergency Use Authorization for use in persons 5 to 15 years
of age. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been approved
by the FDA for emergency use.
However, the CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech
and Moderna vaccines as preferred options to the Johnson & Johnson
vaccine when possible due to increasing evidence that Johnson & Johnson’s
shots can trigger a rare blood clot disorder now linked to dozens of
cases and at least nine deaths in the United States in the last year.
The risk was greatest among women 30 to 49, estimated at 1 in 100,000
who had received the company’s shot.
The J&J vaccine is not being
removed from the market. It will remain an option for people who are “unable or
unwilling” to receive the more popular shots from Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech,
the CDC said.
Read more about CDC’s updated
COVID-19 vaccine recommendation:
Local Vaccine Distribution & Testing Opportunities
To date, nearly 85 percent of the county’s eligible population is partially
or fully vaccinated.
Sonoma County public health
leaders, doctors, health care clinics, schools, pharmacies and community groups
continue to work together to educate families about the vaccine’s safety and
benefits and to ensure vaccines are distributed as quickly, safely and
equitably as possible.
There are more than 40 vaccination
clinics being held at designated schools throughout the county to serve people
who do not have convenient or affordable access to healthcare providers.
Parents are encouraged to reach out
to their pediatrician or a local pharmacy to find a vaccine for their children.
Pharmacy appointments can be made through Myturn.ca.gov.
A list of upcoming school clinics
is available on the Sonoma County Office of Education website:
The County’s vaccine clinics webpage is also continually
updated to make it easier to see what clinics are operating each day, where
they are located and how to make an appointment.
Residents who need help making a vaccination or testing
appointment may contact the Sonoma County Testing and Vaccine hotline at (707) 565-4667 (4701 in Spanish).
View the vaccine clinics and appointment page here:
For details or appointments at
COVID-19 testing clinics, including a pop-up testing calendar, please visit:
Helpful Guidance for Holiday Gatherings & Travel
People planning to travel and attend gatherings over the holidays should
make sure they have proper documents required by some destinations, airlines
and events to prove their vaccination or testing status. According to guidance
from the CDC, people who are not vaccinated should avoid travel and
Getting vaccinated now is the best
way to protect you, your family and your friends from becoming infected
with COVID-19 and avoid another surge in cases like we witnessed last year over
Obtain a digital copy of your
California vaccine record here:
If you have lost your vaccine card
and your digital record gives you an error, ask your primary care provider to provide
you with a copy of your immunization record.
More tips for protecting yourself and others this holiday
COVID-19 Community Resources and Support
- Free COVID-19 testing is available for tribal
communities at Sonoma County Indian Health Project. Call 707-521-4500 for
Other County of Sonoma News
- Sonoma County designated Bilingual County for purposes
- Sonoma County and Bay Area health officers urge
boosters to protect against Omicron variant