County Administrator's Office

Weekly Roundup for Oct. 22, 2021

Published: October 22, 2021

There continue to be encouraging signs that the Delta surge is waning and the worst of the pandemic is behind us. County public health officials are planning for a transition to fewer restrictions, including when the indoor mask mandate will be lifted, perhaps by early January.

New cases (the seven-day average) have dropped from 34 per 100,000 residents on Aug. 9 to 8 per 100,000. Hospitalizations have fallen by nearly 80 percent since the peak of this surge. Those are very positive trends. This remains a pandemic of the unvaccinated, with the unvaccinated accounting for nearly all hospitalizations and deaths.

View all current COVID-19 data for Sonoma County here:
https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/1edbb41952a8417385652279305e878d

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

  1. Public indoor mask exemption announced for stable cohorts
  2. County prepares for vaccine eligibility in ages 5-11
  3. ICYMI: weekly community briefing available for viewing
  4. Latest on booster shots & annual flu shots
  5. Advice on how to safely trick-or-treat this year
  6. Upcoming testing & vaccine opportunities
  7. COVID-19 community resources & support
  8. Other County of Sonoma news items
  9. Emergency preparedness tips & resources

Indoor Mask Exemption Planned for Certain Public Settings

County of Sonoma health officials this week amended a health order to allow certain stable groups of people, such as those in gyms, classes and offices, the option of lifting the mandate on wearing masks indoors if they verify that all members of the group are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

The amendment applies to indoor gatherings of 100 or fewer people including in offices, gyms, fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, religious gatherings, college classes, and other organized gatherings of individuals who meet regularly.

Employers, hosts, and organizers must control access to the setting, and the setting cannot be open to the general public. It does not allow proof of a negative test as a substitute for proof of vaccination.

Read the full press release here:
https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CAO/Press-Releases/Sonoma-County-health-officer-allows-some-groups-option-to-go-maskless-indoors/

All current Sonoma County health orders and guidance are available here:
https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/health-orders/

Sonoma County and other Bay Area jurisdictions recently announced metrics that will need to be met before any county will lift the indoor mask mandate for the general public.

These include having a case rate of less than 50 per week per 100,000 residents for at least three consecutive weeks, having a “low and stable” hospitalization rate and having 80 percent of the county’s entire population fully vaccinated or waiting at least eight weeks from the approval date for pediatric vaccines for those ages 5 to 11.

County Prepares for Vaccine Eligibility in Ages 5-11

A decision to authorize emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is expected in early November, and the county’s doctors, health care clinics, schools, pharmacies and public health leaders are working together to educate families and ensure vaccines are distributed as quickly, safely and equitably as possible. 

Once the pediatric vaccine is authorized, parents are encouraged to have their children vaccinated at clinics planned for school sites, local pharmacies or with their primary care physicians. All doses will be available at no cost to children or their parents.

Clinics will be open on evenings and weekends to serve families unable to take time off work to get vaccinated. Doses for teens and adults seeking their first or second shot will be available at the clinics, as well as pediatric doses formulated specifically for children aged 5 to 11.

The Sonoma County Office of Education’s goal is to vaccinate a quarter of the 37,000 children in Sonoma County aged 5 to 11 by Dec. 1. The campaign will seek to vaccinate half of these children by Jan. 31, and 70 percent by Feb. 28. Communications will include webinars hosted by the county Department of Health Services and the Sonoma County Office of Education in English and Spanish to give parents an opportunity to ask questions of local health and education leaders. 

Nearly 68 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds in Sonoma County has now received at least one dose of the vaccine. There have been 653 COVID-19 cases in county schools since classes started in August. Of these cases, 586 are students and 67 are staff members.

While severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children, they are more likely to be asymptomatic than adults, which allows them to spread the virus to others unknowingly.

Read the full press release here:
https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CAO/Press-Releases/Sonoma-County-outlines-plan-to-deliver-COVID-19-vaccinations-to-the-37-000-children-age-5-to-11-in-county/

Review all school-related COVID-19 data for Sonoma County here:
https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/1edbb41952a8417385652279305e878d/page/page_44/?draft=true

Weekly Community Briefings Available for Viewing

The County of Sonoma’s community briefings this week focused on equity efforts in the local vaccination campaign and other updates. The briefing in English was streamed live on Facebook in English on Wednesday and in Spanish on Thursday.

County of Sonoma YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/c/CountyofSonoma

County of Sonoma Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/CountyofSonoma

Recommendations for COVID-19 Booster, Annual Flu Shot 

COVID-19 booster shots are authorized 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 for patients who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Regulators have not made recommendations about boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but final decisions are expected soon.

A complete list of eligible conditions for COVID-19 booster is available here:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

As of Sunday, 15,978 vaccine booster shots had been administered to county residents. Nearly 12,000 of those went to people 65 and older. The county will soon start posting data on the number of booster shots administered.

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.

Learn more about coadministration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines:
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/covid-19-vaccines-us.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fvaccines%2Fcovid-19%2Finfo-by-product%2Fclinical-considerations.html#Coadministration

Eligible residents should use Myturn.ca.gov to find an appointment for a booster and flu shot at a pharmacy. Those with coverage through Kaiser, Sutter or Providence, should contact their primary care physician to make an appointment.

Myturn.ca.gov:
https://myturn.ca.gov/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwwNWKBhDAARIsAJ8Hkhe_h6PnTqml1-iOMhs9_qLWeQtn_2PZYBm7GOXlN2wkeo2Lqn5NVwgaAkANEALw_wcB

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.

Suggestions include:

  • 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.

Read the full press release:
https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CAO/Press-Releases/Outdoor-trick-or-treating-in-Sonoma-County-is-safe-this-Halloween-with-precautions/

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

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:
https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/testing-and-tracing/

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

    Emergency Preparedness Tips and Resources 

    • The County of Sonoma strongly recommends subscribing to the following alert and warning systems:
        • SoCoAlert – Upon signing up for SoCoAlert, select to receive alerts through landline calls, cell phone text messages or pre-recorded verbal messages and email. The system also works with telephone devices for the deaf.
        • 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/.
      ;