Published: January 7, 2022
We hope you had a safe and secure 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 US, is experiencing an expected increase in COVID-19 cases, especially among unvaccinated residents. Case rates are expected to continue to climb for the next two to three weeks, fueled by Omicron and the Christmas gatherings.
At the height of the Delta surge this summer, our case rate was 34 per day. We are now seeing 200 to 300 cases per day. However, there are currently 34 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county compared to 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 the results are better than other stages of the pandemic is our county’s high vaccination rate, including the 85 percent of our eligible population 5 years and older, who are now fully or partially vaccinated. In Sonoma County, people who are not vaccinated are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized if they contract COVID-19 and 14 times more likely to die from a COVID-related illness.
Demand for testing after the holidays can make it difficult to perform on-site testing or at-home testing. Federal and state governments are working to increase the availability of testing, both PCR and antigen, including free home testing. County health officials urge anyone who tests positive for a home antigen test to report the result by calling the county’s COVID hotline at 707-565-4667.
Remember, we know what works: get vaccinated and increase the dose; Wear a well-fitting N95 or surgical mask; Increase ventilation; Stay home if you are sick; and practice social distancing.
Today’s summary provides useful and important updates on the following:
- Update your mask, health officials urge
- What to do if you get COVID-19
- Pfizer Booster Licensed for Children 12-15 Years
- Report violations of health orders on face coverings
- New State Rules for Visitors to Hospitals, Long-Term Care Settings
- Vaccine and Testing Opportunities in Sonoma County
- COVID-19 Community Resources and Support
- Other news from Sonoma County
Health officials urge updating face covers
Masks remain a key tool to reduce the transmission of the virus. While cloth masks can stop the large droplets exhaled by an infected person, a surgical mask or other FDA-approved mask are the best options because they also filter out aerosols and smaller particles that carry the COVID-19 virus.
The best masks to prevent COVID-19 include the N95, KN95 and KF94, according to a state update Tuesday. 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 layers of fabric. No matter what type 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 get COVID-19
With many people testing positive these days, and with the evolution of federal recommendations, there is some confusion about what to do if you have contracted COVID-19. If you test positive, the first thing to do is isolate yourself for at least five days to protect your health and avoid infecting others.
- Stay in a separate room from those that are not infected.
- Use a separate bathroom if you can.
- Wear a mask around other people, including at home, and ask other people in your home to do the same.
- Wear a N-95, KF-94, or 3-layer surgical mask if possible.
- Open windows, when possible.
- If your residence has an HVAC system, make sure it has a new filter.
Get tested on day five, and if it’s negative, your isolation may end. The California Department of Public Health recommends a rapid antigen test, not a PCR test, to determine if you can come out of isolation. If you can’t get tested, you can end your isolation after 10 days if you don’t have symptoms.
If you used a home test, you must report the results to the county health department at 707-565-4667. Notify your close contacts that they have been exposed. A close contact is someone who spent at least 15 minutes during 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 self-quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should be tested five to seven days after exposure, even if they have no symptoms.
Unvaccinated people should stay home for 14 days after their last contact with a person who has COVID-19. If you have symptoms, immediately isolate yourself and contact your healthcare provider if you have trouble breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, pale, gray or blue skin, lips, lips or skin . or nail beds.
Learn more about home isolation instructions at SoCoEmergency.org:
Pfizer Booster licensed for ages 12-18
The CDC recommended Tuesday, following FDA clearance, that Americans who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine seek a booster injection five months after the second, and not wait six months as suggested by the previous guidance.
The agency also recommended that some immunosuppressed children ages 5 to 11 receive an additional primary vaccine 28 days after the second, which is consistent with the guidance for similar people ages 12 and older. Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one licensed for pediatric use in the United States.
The FDA also authorized children ages 12 to 15 to receive boosters from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. CDC and FDA share responsibility for the nation’s vaccine policy, and the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee is expected to approve the recommendation in the coming days.
In Sonoma County, 161,771 reinforcements have been administered since September.
See the Sonoma County Booster Dose Data Dashboard here:
Read more about the updated CDC recommendation here:
Schedule a booster shot here:
Reporting Violations of Face-covering Health Orders
The Permit Sonoma Code Enforcement unit has received 333 complaints since August about public health violations of the public health order requiring face covering in workplaces and public settings.
Starting Monday, January 3:
- 74.2 percent of the complaints (231) have been from companies, not including gyms.
- 21.3 percent of those complaints (65) have concerned gyms / fitness centers.
- 94 percent of the complaints concerned employees and / or customers who did not wear masks.
- 3 percent referred to possible COVID-19 cases or exposures.
Code Enforcement receives all complaints submitted by the public through the Safe707 hotline and email, as well as COVID-19 complaints made through SoCo Report-It.
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 can be filed by:
Local Vaccine Testing and Distribution Opportunities
Sonoma County public health leaders, physicians, health care clinics, schools, pharmacies, and community groups continue to work together to educate families about the safety and benefits of the vaccine and to ensure that vaccines are distributed as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible.
Vaccination clinics are held at designated schools throughout the county to serve individuals who do not have convenient or affordable access to healthcare providers. Parents are encouraged to contact their pediatrician or a local pharmacy.
Visit the Sonoma County Office of Education for more information on student and family clinics:
The county vaccine clinics website is also continually updated to make it easier to see which clinics are operating each day, where they are located, and how to schedule an appointment.
Residents who need help making a vaccination or testing appointment can contact the Sonoma County Immunization and Testing Hotline at 707-565-4667 (4701 in Spanish).
See the vaccine clinics and appointment page here:
For details or appointments on COVID-19 testing clinics, including a pop-up testing schedule, visit:
COVID-19 Community Resources and Support
- Free COVID-19 testing is available to tribal communities at the Sonoma County Indian Health Project. Call 707-521-4500 for more details.
Other news from Sonoma County