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Weekly Roundup for Jan. 14, 2022

Published:  January 14, 2022

A month ago, we were averaging about 60 new cases of COVID-19 per day. Now we are seeing more than 800 cases per day, and case rates are expected to keep climbing for the next two to three weeks. 

In response to this surge, Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase this week appealed to residents to stay home as much as possible for the next 30 days, and limit interactions with those outside of their immediate household. That means restricting travel to going to work or to school, and necessary trips such as the grocery store or the doctor. 

In addition, a new county health order prohibits large gatherings of more than 50 people indoors or more than 100 people outdoors (where social distancing is not feasible) until Feb. 11. 

While breakthrough cases in vaccinated people are rising, those cases tend to be mild or asymptomatic; unvaccinated people are exposed to the greatest risks. People who are unvaccinated in Sonoma County are 2.4 times more likely to be infected with the virus and 17.9 times more likely to be hospitalized if they get COVID-19. They are 13.7 times more likely to die from the virus.

High demand for testing means walk-ins are not being taken at most sites. A month ago, the county was averaging 3,000 tests a day. The daily average is now more than 5,000. Officials recognize how frustrating this can be and the county is working with state and federal partners to increase testing, including the supply of at-home tests. 

Anyone who tests positive using an at-home antigen test is urged to report the result by calling the county’s COVID hotline at (707) 565-4667.

Important message from Dr. Sundari Mase [Watch]:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWFmAdRAiZg

Frequently asked questions regarding the new health order on gatherings:
https://socoemergency.org/order-of-the-health-officer-c19-35/#faq

Remember, we know what works: Get boosted and vaccinated; Wear a surgical or N95 well-fitting mask; Increase ventilation; Stay home if you’re sick; and practice social distancing.

Today’s digest provides helpful and important updates on the following:

  1. Latest virtual community update on COVID-19 available for viewing
  2. Upgrade your mask, health officials urge
  3. What to do if you contract COVID-19
  4. Vaccine & testing opportunities in Sonoma County
  5. Mortgage relief available for some homeowners
  6. COVID-19 community resources & support
  7. Other news items from County of Sonoma

Latest Community Update Available for Viewing

This week’s COVID-19 update with county health officials was live streamed on Wednesday, Jan. 12 on the county’s Facebook page. A Spanish language version was streamed on Thursday, Jan. 13. 

The update included the latest health orders, information about the Omicron variant and the county’s increasing case rate, in addition to questions from members of the public and media. 

Both versions are available for viewing on the county’s YouTube channel here:
https://www.youtube.com/c/CountyofSonoma

Health Officials Urge Update of Facial Coverings

Masks remain a key tool to reduce transmission of the virus. While cloth masks can stop large droplets exhaled by an infected person, a surgical mask or other FDA-approved mask are the best options because they also filter smaller aerosols and particles that transmit the COVID-19 virus. 

The best masks for preventing COVID-19 include the N95, KN95 and KF94. If you don't have access to one of these masks, wear a surgical mask or a surgical mask with a cloth mask on top. If you choose a fabric mask, opt for one with three or more cloth layers. No matter what kind of mask you wear, check the fit by avoiding gaps above the nose or on the sides.

Read “Get the Most out of Masking” from CDPH:
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Get-the-Most-out-of-Masking.aspx

What to Do if You Contract COVID-19

With many people testing positive these days, and with evolving federal recommendations, there is some confusion about what to do if you have contracted COVID-19. If you test positive, the first thing you should do is isolate yourself for at least five days to protect your health and avoid infecting others. 

While isolating:

  • Stay in a separate room from those not infected.
  • Use a separate bathroom if you can.
  • Wear a mask around others, even at home, and ask others in your home to do the same.
  • Use an N-95, KF-94, or a three-ply surgical mask if possible.
  • Open the windows, when possible.
  • If your residence has an HVAC system, make sure it has a fresh filter.

Get a test on day five, and if it is negative you can end your isolation. The California Department of Public Health recommends a rapid antigen test, not a PCR test, to determine if you can exit isolation. If you can’t get tested, you can end your isolation after 10 days if you don’t have symptoms.

If you used an at-home test, you should report the results to the county health department at (707) 565-4667. Notify close contacts that they’ve been exposed. A close contact is someone who spent at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within 6 feet of a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

People who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested five to seven days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms.

Unvaccinated people should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your health care provider if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds.

Learn more about home isolation instructions at SoCoEmergency.org:
https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/health-orders/home-isolation-instructions/

Local Vaccine & Testing Opportunities

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. 

Vaccination clinics are 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. 

Visit the Sonoma County Office of Education to learn about clinics for students and families:
https://www.scoe.org/pub/htdocs/school_staff_immunization.html

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:
https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/vaccine-information/clinics/

For details or appointments at COVID-19 testing clinics, including a pop-up testing calendar, please visit:
https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/testing-and-tracing/

Mortgage Relief Available for Homeowners Behind on Loans

California homeowners who have fallen behind on home loans can apply for a state grant to repay missed mortgage payments during the pandemic. The California Mortgage Relief Program covers past due mortgage payments in full through a grant of up to $80,000 per household. The money will go directly to a homeowners’ mortgage servicer. It’s free to enroll and funds do not need to be repaid.

Applicants can check eligibility and apply through the online portal here:
https://camortgagerelief.org/

Eligible applicants must be at or below 100 percent of their county’s Area Median Income ($116,300 for a household of four in Sonoma County), own a single-family home, condo or manufactured home and have faced a pandemic-related financial hardship after January 21, 2020, and also meet at least one of the following qualifications:

  • They are receiving public assistance.
  • They are severely housing burdened.
  • They have no alternative mortgage workout options through their mortgage servicer.

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 details.

Other County of Sonoma News

Contact Information

Paul Gullixson
Communications Manager
County Administrator's Office
County of Sonoma
Address
575 Administration Drive
Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464665, -122.725235