Santa Rosa, CA – November 23, 2021 – People planning to travel and attend gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday should take steps to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19, Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase, said today. Plenty of testing opportunities are still available. Residents also should ensure they have proper documents required by some destinations, airlines and events to prove their vaccination or testing status.
People who are not vaccinated should avoid travel and holiday gatherings, said Dr. Mase, citing guidance from the California Department of Public Health. Other recommendations include:
- Get a booster if you are 18 or older and it has been at least six months since you completed your Pfizer/Moderna vaccine series or at least two months since you received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
- Keep indoor gatherings small.
- If everyone at an indoor gathering is fully vaccinated, masks are optional.
- If your guests are unvaccinated or you don’t know their status, plan gatherings that are small, short, and outdoors.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth under the following scenarios:
- When social distancing is not possible.
- When you might be around unvaccinated people, especially indoors.
- When around older individuals or people with medical conditions.
- When gathering inside, ventilate well. Open doors and windows, run HVAC systems, and install high-quality air filters.
- Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
- And stay home if you are sick.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen cases spike around holidays as people gather to celebrate with loved ones,” Dr. Mase said. “Let’s start the holiday season on the right foot by staying safe this Thanksgiving.”
The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine approved for their age group by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. All three vaccines approved by the FDA are safe and effective, dramatically reducing the risk of serious illness and death.
Most vaccine clinics and testing sites will operate modified schedules this week because of the holiday, with most scheduled to be closed on Thursday and Friday. Residents can find information about vaccine clinics and how to make appointments through the county’s vaccine clinic page or through myturn.ca.gov. Residents who need help making an appointment are encouraged to call the County COVID-19 hotline at (707) 565-4667. A calendar of pop-up testing events is available on the county’s testing page.
Some destinations and events require a COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination. Research the requirements of your destination or event to ensure you are prepared. Before scheduling your COVID-19 test, check with your test provider to see if they meet the required test result certification and timelines for your travel, destination or event.
CDC guidelines for travel can be viewed here. Other suggestions if you are planning to travel:
Testing to travel
If a COVID-19 test is required by your destination or airline, determine when it needs to be scheduled to meet their requirements, usually 48 or 72 hours before boarding. PCR tests can typically provide results in 24 to 48 hours, but result times vary, and some can take up to a week. Antigen tests provide results within 15 minutes but are considered less accurate. Contact your airline or destination to determine what testing is allowed, what documentation of test results is required and learn about onsite testing options. Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule an appointment.
Standard COVID-19 tests in Sonoma County are free and confidential. Information is available at socoemergency.org/test. Some major pharmacies do travel testing for a fee.
Proof of vaccination to travel
Contact your airline or destination to determine if proof of vaccination is required, and, if so, what documentation they will accept.
As soon as possible, obtain a digital copy of your California vaccine record from myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov. If there are problems with the digital vaccine record, they can take two to three weeks to fix. Use the help mechanism at chat.myturn.ca.gov to resolve any issues. You will need to upload an image of your vaccine card and an image of your state-issued ID to use this system.
Keep your vaccine card safe. Make copies and save pictures of your card on your cellphone. 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. This document will show all of your vaccinations, not just your COVID-19 vaccination. It is not clear if this document will be sufficient proof of COVID-19 vaccine status for travel, but it may help the state of California resolve problems with your digital vaccine record.
For more information, including the latest vaccine numbers, who’s eligible for a vaccine and how to receive a vaccine, visit SoCoEmergency.org/vaccine, or call 2-1-1.