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Weekly Roundup for Oct. 15, 2021
Published: October 15, 2021
Three recent milestones are a collective reminder of the magnitude of this pandemic and of the extraordinary efforts residents of our county have made to keep everyone safe and get through these difficult times.
First, more than 700,000 doses have been administered to Sonoma County residents, which means more than 85 percent of our 12 and older population is fully or partially vaccinated. This has been accomplished in less than 10 months since the arrival of vaccines. Second, more than 1 million COVID-19 tests have been administered in the county since the pandemic began.
The importance of those two numbers is underscored by the third milestone: Sonoma County’s COVID-19 case count surpassed 40,000 and total deaths from the disease reached 400 this week. While much has been accomplished, there is still much to do, and the focus remains on inoculating the 25 percent of our county’s population that is not protected against this deadly virus.
This week’s digest provides helpful and important updates on the following:
- Community briefings on school vaccines available for viewing
- Advice on how to safely trick-or-treat this year
- Update on criteria for lifting mask mandate
- Recommendations for COVID-19 booster & annual flu shot
- Upcoming testing & vaccine opportunities
- COVID-19 community resources & support
- Other County of Sonoma news items
- Emergency preparedness tips & resources
WATCH THIS WEEK’S COMMUNITY BRIEFINGS ON SCHOOL VACCINES
Since 1995, California has mandated that school-aged children be vaccinated against 10 vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, mumps and polio. Since classes began in August in Sonoma County, there have been 577 COVID-19 cases in county schools. Of these cases, 522 are students and 55 are staff members.
California is expected to enact the nation’s first coronavirus vaccine mandate for school children, with a goal that all students in seventh through 12th grades are vaccinated by next fall once the shots gain final federal approval for ages 12 and over. The state will require students in kindergarten through sixth grades to get the vaccine once final federal approval comes for children age 5 to 11.
The County of Sonoma’s community briefings this week included a discussion of pediatric vaccines with health and education officials, including how vaccines will be administered once authorized for ages 5 to 11. The briefings were streamed live in English and Spanish, and are available for viewing on the county’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
County of Sonoma YouTube:
County of Sonoma Facebook:
Sonoma County Office of Education:
HEALTH OFFICIALS OFFER ADVICE FOR A SAFE HALLOWEEN
While door-to-door trick-or-treating was discouraged last year because the county’s case rate was high and climbing, and vaccines were not yet available, county health officials are offering encouraging guidance regarding this year’s Halloween and Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
Vaccines have been available for 10 months, and health officials believe it’s safe to do outdoor trick-or-treating for Halloween and take part in outdoor Día de los Muertos activities this year. Families are encouraged to enjoy their traditions again, and can stay safe while having a good time.
- Trick-or-Treaters should avoid large groups and should wear masks that cover mouth and nose.
- Before eating any treats, people should wash their hands or disinfect with sanitizer.
- Indoor gatherings of unvaccinated people, including children, should be avoided.
- If you are sick or concerned that you have been exposed to the coronavirus, stay home.
- People greeting trick-or-treaters at the doorstep should wear masks while distributing candy.
- Instead of inviting children to reach into a communal candy bowl, consider handing out individually wrapped treats or placing them on a table.
- Do not distribute candy if you are sick or have been exposed to the coronavirus.
As more people get vaccinated, we can hope to return to a sense of normalcy and start to enjoy holidays that we missed last year. With the virus still circulating in the community, we just need to do it safely.
UPDATE ON WHAT’S REQUIRED TO LIFT MASK MANDATE
Because vaccinations and face coverings are driving down COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations, health officers for the nine Bay Area jurisdictions reached consensus last week on criteria to lift the health order requiring face coverings.
The nine jurisdictions will lift the indoor masking requirement in public spaces not subject to state masking rules when all of the following occur:
- The jurisdiction reaches the moderate (yellow) COVID-19 transmission tier, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and remains there for at least three weeks;
- COVID-19 hospitalizations in the jurisdiction are low and stable according to health officers;
- 80 percent of the jurisdiction’s total population is fully vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson (booster doses not considered), OR eight weeks have passed since a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by federal and state authorities for 5- to 11-year-olds.
Most Bay Area health departments issued the masking requirements for their respective jurisdictions on August 3, following a summer surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Read the full press release here:
COVID Data Tracker from CDC:
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COVID-19 BOOSTER, ANNUAL FLU SHOT
COVID-19 booster shots are authorized and recommended for individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine and have certain underlying health conditions or who are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their job. Third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been authorized by the CDC and are recommended for patients who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
Related, health officials strongly recommend that all residents get an influenza vaccine this flu season, and recently issued a health order requiring workers at certain health care and congregate facilities to get vaccinated against influenza.
Read the full press release here:
Eligible residents should use Myturn.ca.gov to find an appointment for a booster and flu shot at their local pharmacy. Those with coverage through Kaiser, Sutter or Providence, should contact their primary care physician to make an appointment.
Learn more about coadministration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines:
A complete list of eligible conditions for COVID-19 booster is available here:
UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES FOR TESTING & VACCINATION
The County’s vaccine clinics webpage is 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:
If you have symptoms or have had a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, you should be tested regardless of your vaccination status. Appointments are strongly recommended as walk-ins are limited.
Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms.
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
- Voter registration deadline approaching for Nov. 2 election
- Job Opportunities as of October 13, 2021
- Free Holiday Parking at Regional Parks for Veterans and Active Duty Military
- Fall in Love Adoption Special October 13-23, 2021
- Energy and Sustainability Fall Workshop Series Announced
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TIPS AND RESOURCES
- As we continue into fire season, make sure you know your official evacuation zone. Click on the link for County of Sonoma here:
- Reminder to prevent equipment sparked fires due to lawn mowing, trailer chains, or driving on dry grass or brush, or with low tire pressure. For additional CAL FIRE information on equipment safety, please visit: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prevent-wildfire/equipment-use/.
- Hot weather is here and everyone is at risk for heat-related illness. Stay hydrated, limit your time outdoors, and check in on those who are susceptible to heat-related illness. Here are some tips to stay cool and preparing for a heatwave:
- Defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. Learn how to build defensible space around your home: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire/get-ready/defensible-space/
- The County of Sonoma strongly recommends subscribing to the following alert and warning systems:
- Nixle – Receive email and text messages from local fire and law enforcement agencies that include public safety messages as well as emergency information. Text your zip code to 888777 to opt-in or sign up online to receive email, text or voice messages with alerts and advisories.
- Stay informed, sign up for alerts at https://socoemergency.org/receive-alerts/.