Weekly Roundup for Jan. 7, 2022
Published: January 07, 2022
We hope you enjoyed a safe holiday season and we wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy new year. To that end, Sonoma County – like much of the U.S. – is experiencing an expected surge in cases of COVID-19, especially among unvaccinated residents. Case rates are expected to keep climbing for the next two to three weeks, fueled by Omicron and holiday gatherings.
At the height of the Delta surge this summer, our case rate was 34 per day. Now we are seeing 200 to 300 cases per day. However, there are currently 34 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county compared with 84 at the height of the Delta surge. And only six patients are in the ICU with COVID-19, compared to 24 at times last summer.
A key reason why outcomes are better than other stages of the pandemic is our county’s high vaccination rate, including 85 percent of our eligible 5 and older population, which is now fully or partially vaccinated. In Sonoma County, people who are unvaccinated are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized if they get COVID-19, and they are 14 times more likely to die from COVID-related illness.
Demand for testing after the holidays may make it difficult to get tested at a site or to obtain at-home tests. Federal and state governments are working to increase the availability of testing, both PCR and antigen, including free at-home tests. County health officials are urging anyone who tests positive using an at-home antigen test to report the result by calling the county’s COVID hotline at 707-565-4667.
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:
- Upgrade your mask, health officials urge
- What to do if you contract COVID-19
- Pfizer booster authorized for 12- to 15-year-olds
- Reporting health order violations on face coverings
- New state rules for visitors to hospitals, long-term care settings
- Vaccine & testing opportunities in Sonoma County
- COVID-19 community resources & support
- Other news items from County of Sonoma
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, according to an update on Tuesday by the state. 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:
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.
- 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:
Pfizer Booster Authorized for Ages 12 to 18
The CDC recommended on Tuesday, following authorization by the FDA, that Americans who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine seek a booster shot five months after the second shot, and not wait six months as earlier guidance suggested.
The agency also recommended that some immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11 receive an additional primary vaccine shot 28 days after the second shot, matching the guidance for similar people age 12 and older. Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one authorized for pediatric use in the United States.
The FDA also cleared 12- to 15-year-olds to receive boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The CDC and FDA share responsibility for the nation’s vaccine policy, and the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee is expected to sign off on the recommendation in the coming days.
In Sonoma County, 161,771 boosters have been administered since September.
View Sonoma County’s booster dose data dashboard here:
Read more regarding the updated CDC recommendation here:
Schedule a booster shot here:
Reporting Face Covering Health Order Violations
Permit Sonoma’s Code Enforcement unit has received 333 complaints since August about public health violations of the public health order requiring face coverings in workplaces and public settings.
As of Monday, Jan. 3:
- 74.2 percent of the complaints (231) have been for businesses, not including fitness centers.
- 21.3 percent of those complaints (65) have been for gyms/fitness centers.
- 94 percent of complaints were about employees and/or customers not wearing masks.
- 3 percent were about potential COVID-19 cases or exposures.
Code Enforcement receives all complaints made by the public through the Safe707 phone line and email, as well as COVID-19 complaints made via SoCo Connect.
Complaints outside of Code Enforcement’s jurisdiction are referred to the appropriate city and partner agency. All complaints within Code Enforcement’s jurisdiction are investigated by a Code Enforcement inspector, who visits the property and provides information on the current public health order.
Non-emergency complaints may be filed by:
- Phone: (833) SAFE707 (1-833-723-3707)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Services/SoCo-Report-It/Submit-a-Service-Request/
Local Vaccine Distribution & 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:
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:
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.
- Listos California offers disaster preparedness information in indigenous languages at its Farmworkers Initiative webpage here:
- Information for Sonoma County businesses is available here:
Other County of Sonoma News
- Convicted Felony Sentenced to 17 Years, 8 Months in Prison for Assault with Firearm and Robbery
- Ten-year update on Long Term Roads Plan shows improvements, ongoing investment needed for Pavement Preservation Program
- Petaluma Man Sentenced to Prison for Pimping while Armed with a Firearm