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Weekly Roundup for October 1, 2021
Published: October 01, 2021
This week health officials are cautiously optimistic that the worst of the Delta surge is behind us. This remains a pandemic of the unvaccinated, with unvaccinated residents accounting for nearly all hospitalizations. As of Tuesday, 38 COVID-19 patients were in Sonoma County hospitals, compared to 84 on Aug. 15, which is the lowest total since July 16. This includes 18 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds, down from 24 on Sept. 6.
Fifteen COVID-related deaths have been reported in September after 34 were reported in August and 16 in July. The county reported one death from COVID-19 in May and four in June. Deaths typically lag hospitalizations by a month or more. Nearly all of the 386 COVID-19 deaths that have occurred in the county have been unvaccinated residents.
As of today, a total of 690,484 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Sonoma County residents. This means nearly 85 percent of our 12 and older population is fully or partially vaccinated. The state released a new fact sheet, "Busting Myths," to help educate those residents who are vaccine hesitant and continue to put themselves and others at risk.
Sixteen percent of eligible county residents have not received a dose to date. And children under the age of 12 are currently not eligible to be vaccinated. That means nearly 30 percent of our residents are not vaccinated. Sonoma County’s priority remains getting more first doses administered and more people fully vaccinated.
This week’s digest provides helpful and important updates on the following:
- Update on booster shots
- New guidance on safely holding public meetings
- Latest on vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds
- Update on the status of in-person school
- Upcoming COVID-19 vaccine clinics and expanded testing
- COVID-19 community resources & support
- Other Sonoma County news items
- Emergency preparedness tips & resources
Update on Booster Shots
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week authorized booster shots for people who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago and are 65 years and older, or age 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions. People age 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions may also receive a booster shot.
Some of the underlying medical conditions include:
- Hypertension and heart disease
- Diabetes or obesity
- Cancer or blood disorders
- Weakened immune system
- Chronic lung, kidney or liver disease
- Dementia and certain disabilities
- Smoking, current or former
A complete list is available here:
Additionally, people age 18 to 64 years who are at increased risk for exposure because of their job or an institutional setting may get a booster shot. That includes health workers, first responders, teachers, postal workers and food and agriculture workers.
Eligible residents should use Myturn.ca.gov to find an appointment for a booster at a pharmacy. For those with coverage through Kaiser, Sutter or Providence, please contact your primary care physician to determine your eligibility and to make an appointment.
New Guidance for Holding Public Meetings
Sonoma County’s health officer recently issued a public health recommendation for safely holding public meetings. Virtual online meetings are strongly recommended as they present the lowest risk of transmission of COVID-19. If a local agency decides to hold in-person meetings, offering the public the opportunity to attend via a call-in option or an internet-based service option is recommended. At in-person public meetings, masks are still required and six feet of social distancing is recommended.
Read the full recommendation for safe public meetings here:
Vaccines for 5- to 11-Year-Olds
A clinical trial of more than 2,200 children age 5 to 11 who received the Pfizer vaccine showed favorable results for its safety and effectiveness for that age group. County health officials expect the vaccine to be authorized by the FDA for children age 5 to 11 by the end of October or early November.
More information from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Update on the Status of In-Person School
The County of Sonoma, in collaboration with the Sonoma County Office of Education, is implementing measures to keep our schools as safe as possible with the resumption of in-person instruction. There have been 451 COVID-19 cases in county schools since classes started in August. Of these cases, 408 are students and 43 are staff members.
- 268 cases in elementary schools
- 102 cases in middle schools
- 79 cases in high schools
How COVID-19 cases at schools are handled is determined by the number of cases involved and exposure. Clusters of three or more cases at a school are an indication that spread may be happening on campus. When cases arise, exposure will be tracked through contact tracing and testing as necessary.
Universal masking means that classrooms and schools will not be closed for a few cases through the use of a modified quarantine protocol and reporting when students or staff test positive for COVID-19. If parents do not feel comfortable with in-person instruction for their child, they can opt for an independent study program, which will vary be district.
Please visit the Sonoma County Office of Education for more information:
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics & Expanded Testing
The County’s vaccine clinics page is continually updated including a pop-up calendar to make it easier to see what clinics are operating each day, where they are located and how to make an appointment.
Getting the vaccine remains our best defense against the worst outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.
View the vaccine clinics page here: https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/vaccine-information/clinics/
In response to a surging demand in testing, the County Department of Health Services has boosted capacity to 17,000 tests per week. Appointments are strongly recommended as walk-ins are limited.
For details or appointments at COVID-19 testing clinics, including a pop-up testing calendar, please visit:
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. 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.
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: https://www.listoscalifornia.org/community-projects/farmworkers-initiative/
- Information for Sonoma County businesses: http://sonomaedb.org/Business-Assistance/Coronavirus-Business-Resources/
- State of California’s Vaccine Action Plan: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Vaccine-Action-Plan.pdf
Other County of Sonoma News
- Sonoma County invests more than $6.5 million in generators to create safe havens, maintain services during emergencies
- Man sentenced to more than twelve years in prison for stalking and threatening ex-girlfriend https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/DA/Press-Releases/Man-sentenced-to-more-than-twelve-years-in-prison-for-stalking/
- Release of state census data triggers series of Sonoma County redistricting public meetings
- Board of Supervisors adopts ordinance to restrict sale and use of polystyrene foam products in Sonoma County
- Free Water Saving Kits at “Drought Drop By” Event in Sonoma, Marin Counties
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/.