Santa Rosa, TO – January 10, 2022 – Due to the rapid rise in COVID cases rising through the community, Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase today appealed to residents to stay home as much as possible for the next 30 days and limit interactions with them outside their immediate household.
The county health officer also, with great caution, also issued a health ordinance canceling large gatherings to prevent further spread of the new coronavirus in the county. Large gatherings of more than 50 people indoors, or more than 100 people outdoors (where social distancing is not possible), are prohibited during the order. The order takes effect at 12.01 on Wednesday 12 January and is scheduled to be valid until 11 February.
“Our cases are at the highest level since the pandemic began, and our admissions are also rising at an alarming rate,” said Dr. Mase. “We are seeing widespread transmission within unvaccinated groups as well as some transmission among vaccinated individuals.”
With that in mind, Dr. Mase that she recommends that people limit travel outside the home to just go to work or school and only make necessary trips, such as going to the grocery store or the doctor. She also issues an order to limit large assemblies for the next 30 days due to the fact that among the cases where the source of infection is known, more than half of the county’s cases come from such assemblies. This executive order will reduce the likelihood that many individuals will be exposed to COVID-19 at a single event, thereby slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in our society.
The health order is necessary due to the rapidly increasing societal transfer of COVID across the county and the nation. Over the past two weeks, Sonoma County’s case rate has risen from 24.4 per cent. 100,000 for more than 121 new cases per. 100,000 pr. day and is expected to continue to rise during January. Meanwhile, the county’s test positivity rate reached a record high of 16.5 percent this week compared to its previous high of 9.7 percent during this pandemic.
Although evidence shows that a lower percentage of those who test positive for the omicron variant require hospitalization compared to previous forms of the virus, local hospitals may still be overwhelmed during this increase due to the large number of cases expected. COVID admissions increased from 28 on January 3, 2022 to 76 on January 9, 2022. During the winter increase a year ago, COVID admissions in Sonoma County reached an average of 104 per day. Without further mitigating efforts like these steps, the state predicts that the county may experience more than 380 daily admissions, which may exceed the resources of local hospitals, many of which are already taxed due to staff shortages.
“We know what we need to do to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed,” said Dr. Mase. “The next 30 days will be the key to helping us stop this rapid spread of this highly contagious variant in our society. We need to be vaccinated and boosted, wear high quality masks, avoid large gatherings and stay home as much as possible. ”
A video by Dr. Mase’s appeal can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/TWFmAdRAiZg
The executive order also clarifies that gatherings of persons at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 may be limited to a maximum of 12 persons, except for family gatherings.
A gathering is defined as any public or private event or convocation that brings people together in a single room or single room at the same time, such as in an auditorium, gym, stadium, arena, large conference room, wedding venue, meeting room, or any other indoor or outdoor space. These gatherings may have either allocated or unallocated seating, and may be either public access or closed, ticketed, and permitted events.
Large gatherings do not include those that take place as part of regular schooling events or outdoor recreations, workplace environments, courthouse activities, places of worship, cafeterias, or other places open to the public as part of regular activities such as shopping malls, shops, restaurants / dining facilities, and museums.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mase that those who are unvaccinated are still 18 times more likely to require hospitalization if they get the virus than those who are vaccinated. “Vaccinations are still the best tool available to slow the spread of the virus and protect yourself from serious illness,” she said.
In December, Dr. Mase new guidelines for local employers that strongly urged them to require all workers to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they are eligible for one. Workers who refuse to get a booster should be tested for COVID at least twice a week.
Dr. Mase also appealed to residents to upgrade the quality of face clothing to a surgical mask or a KN95, KF94 or N95 mask. “The traditional fabric masks that many of us have worn are just not as effective at stopping the spread of this type of virus,” said Dr. Mase. “We recommend that everyone upgrade to a surgical mask or something similar.”
In addition to the impact on elderly residents and those with underlying health conditions, county health officials are also concerned that the increase will continue to affect low-income communities of color disproportionately large. These communities face the greatest risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 due to their disproportionate representation in the significant workforce, lack of sick leave / job protection, multigenerational households, use of shared transportation and other factors. Test positivity among Latinx residents in the last two weeks was 27% compared to 18% in society at large. Latinx residents have accounted for more than half (53%) of all COVID-19 cases in the county, despite representing only 27.3% of the population, and have also been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 hospital admissions and deaths.
Visit www.SoCoEmergency.org for more information on the Health Order as well as information on vaccination and test sites.