SANTA ROSA – In response to a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Sonoma County, the county health officer on Monday issued a health order prohibiting large gatherings and called on residents to stay home as much as possible for the next 30 days.
The order, which takes effect Wednesday and is slated to run through Feb. 11, bars gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and gatherings of more than 100 people outdoors.
“Our case rates are at their highest level since the pandemic began and our hospitalizations are climbing at an alarming rate as well,” said Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase in a statement. “We are seeing widespread transmission occurring within unvaccinated groups as well as some transmission among vaccinated individuals.”
The order was spurred by rapidly increasing community transmission of COVID-19, the Sonoma County Administrator’s Office said in a news release. Among cases where the source of transmission is known, over half of the county’s cases are emerging from large gatherings.
The county’s case rate over the past two weeks has increased from 24.4 per 100,000 to more than 121 new cases per 100,000 per day and is predicted to continue rising during January. The county’s testing positivity rate also reached an all-time high of 16.5% this week, shattering the previous high of 9.7% during the pandemic.
Evidence shows a lower percentage of those who test positive for the new omicron variant of COVID-19 require hospitalization compared with previous forms of the virus, but local hospitals could still be overwhelmed, according to the news release. In Sonoma County, hospitalizations increased from 28 on Jan. 3 to 76 on Sunday; during the winter surge a year ago, hospitalizations reached an average of 104 per day.
Without any mitigation measures, the state is projecting that the county could see more than 380 daily hospitalizations, according to the news release. Hospitals, especially those already suffering from staffing shortages, could be outstripped of resources.
Gatherings of individuals who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are also capped at 12 under the health order. The order does not apply to family gatherings.
The order defines gatherings as any public or private event or convening that brings people together in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, gymnasium, arena, large conference room, wedding venue or meeting hall.
Gatherings do not include those that occur as part of regular school instructional events or outdoor recess, workplace settings, courthouse activities, places of worship, cafeterias or any venue that is open to the public as part of regular operations.
In addition to the order, Mase urged residents to limit travel outside the home to work or school and make only necessary trips such as going to the grocery store or doctor.
“The next 30 days will be key to helping us stop this rapid spread of this highly contagious variant in our community,” said Mase, referring to omicron, which is fueling a global surge in COVID-19 cases. “We need to get vaccinated and …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment
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