We are engaged on several important public health protection fronts and value this monthly opportunity to update the community.
You may have heard some local news coverage of rescissions of local health orders in other counties requiring COVID-19 vaccination or testing. We do not have to rescind local orders for masking or vaccination because we have already aligned with the State. The State requirements, such as for masking within health care facilities, continue to be in effect.
We are glad to see residents getting the updated COVID-19 booster – 43,429, 6% of the eligible population so far – and urge everyone to stay up to date with vaccination to remain protected against the currently circulating Omicron variants.
We are glad of the news that the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster is now approved and available. We see the arrival of the new booster as another hopeful milestone with the data the FDA considered in its approval strongly suggesting improved protection against currently circulating variants. We appreciate the continued engagement of many partners involved in assuring equitable reach of the vaccine.
As we have needed to accept the many aspects of COVID-19 risk mitigation that are part of our daily lives, we want to keep you and the public informed about the changing context that underlies our current situation so that everyone can protect themselves and the community as much as possible.
As we continue to see increased COVID-19 case transmission, test positivity and hospitalization, we stress that now is the time to take the safety precautions that can protect you, your loved ones, and the community as a whole.
As we see increased COVID-19 transmission in our community, I wanted to share an update to encourage all of us to take the important actions we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
We are seeing community transmission and test positivity increase in the testing reported to us, and the level of COVID-19 hospitalizations has also been rising. We have shared via social media, community partners, and our website, some key prevention strategies to strengthen at this time, including:
It is heartening to be experiencing some stability in key trends this March as we reflect on reaching the two-year milestones of the initial events that unfolded as the global COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
As we commence March, having passed the two-year mark of adapting to what the pandemic has required, I remain grateful for the stamina, resilience and learning that continue to be demonstrated across San Mateo County with all of your help.
My COVID-19 update this week is coming on the day that the statewide requirement including in San Mateo County for masking for fully vaccinated residents in indoor settings comes to an end.
Masking requirements remain in place for everyone on public transportation, in schools and childcare settings, long term care and adult and senior care facilities, healthcare and correctional settings. Yesterday, Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, shared that the State will reassess the requirement for masking within school settings on February 28th.
As we turn the calendar page to February, it is heartening to see a decline in the level of COVID-19 transmission in San Mateo County, the Bay Area, and across California. Though transmission remains as high as it was in December, we do have a second week of moving in a downward direction.
The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday we observed on Monday reminds us of the struggles and stamina so many before us endured to keep working toward a more just tomorrow. I draw strength from that perseverance in all that we are working through today. In Martin Luther King’s words: “We are in an inescapable network of mutuality. Whatever affects one directly, affects us all indirectly.”
As we turn the corner on 2022, there are no words to express the gratitude we all feel for the tremendous resilience and stamina that is on display every day among the many frontline workers lifting all aspects of the continued pandemic response, including so many of you.
We are hopeful that we will receive news commencing today and continuing through early next week of the federal government’s review through the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control leading to emergency use authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 5-11.
We see our community’s collective determination reflected in the high reach of the COVID-19 vaccine, the many pathways being accessed for third-shot Pfizer boosters, and the COVID-19 case rate, hospitalization and positivity trends trending downward.
We are so grateful for all the ways our residents continue to further this progress and stay engaged about changes to our situation.
This morning as County Manager Mike Callagy presented revisions to our budget for this fiscal year, I was reminded of the many ways our county, led by our board, continues to advance many long-term investments and actions that support recovery for our residents, in addition to supporting our immediate work responding to the pandemic.
Patience, perseverance, and partnership fuel our progress as 93.2% (626,684) of residents over the age of 12 have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, and we see promising signs of continued reduction in the prevalence of the virus in San Mateo County and in our region.
The Labor Day holiday reminds us each year of the essential contributions of all workers, and this year our gratitude is especially for the perseverance of the many workers who are the backbone of our eighteen-month response to the pandemic in San Mateo County.
As September arrives, we are glad to see each week bringing continued progress in reaching San Mateo County residents with first and second doses, while we and other health care and pharmacy partners are also planning to offer third booster doses for those who become eligible by the third week of September.
I write this week mindful that for some of you these updates are not always welcome, given how inundated we all are with information about the pandemic and given how weary we are of the personal and professional challenges brought by each twist in the curvy road of this journey.
As you have been hearing on the news, we, the Bay Area, and most of the country continue to see substantial COVID-19 transmission. Safe and effective vaccines remain our most powerful tool.
Our team has updated our plan to reach those who remain unvaccinated in San Mateo County (draft attached here: Plan Update - Reaching the Remaining Unvaccinated) and we welcome your feedback about this phase of our work, which prioritizes County efforts to raise every population to at least an 80% vaccination rate between now and the end of December. Your comments can be sent to HS_Chief_Feedback@smcgov.org .
We have joined with the Bay Area counties and Dr. Morrow has
issued an order, which takes effect tonight after midnight,
mandating all individuals to wear face coverings when indoors in
workplaces and public settings.
As you have heard, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),
California Department of Public Health, and the Bay Area Health
Officers were already recommending face coverings when indoors.
I write with news of our continued progress as our overall
vaccination rate for San Mateo County as of 6/30/21 was 86.6%
(576,674 people compared to our estimated population of 666,252
ages 12+ ), which is among the highest in the state.
As we look forward to next week and the increased opening our
residents and sectors will enjoy, I’m glad to share that as of
June 10th, 556,528 SMC residents have been vaccinated, 83.5% of
our eligible population over the age of 12.
I write with the continued good news that all the numbers we use
to measure our experience of the pandemic in San Mateo County are
headed in the right directions.
Positivity for the virus has decreased to .3% countywide and .7%
in our lowest quartile Healthy Places Index census tracts, the
lowest gap we have had to date, and there were only 8 residents
in the hospital yesterday as a result of the virus. We still
experience a daily stream of positive cases (528 in the last 30
days), but the vaccine rollout has dramatically reduced the grave
experience of the illness.
I am so pleased to have an additional reason to update you
on our vaccine rollout progress as San Mateo County’s COVID-19
adjusted case rate was low enough for two weeks for the county to
move to the least restrictive Yellow Tier, representing “minimal”
We know that each of the almost half a million residents who have
received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are
contributing to stopping the spread of the virus and its variants
as we strive to achieve even greater protection across all
As we begin the month of May, following four months of hard work
by so many to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to every
eligible resident, we are now in the long-anticipated phase of
having enough supply of vaccine to make access easier and more
Our COVID-19 vaccine rollout in San Mateo County continues to
inspire hope each day, while I know you are likely hearing and
experiencing some frustration about the opening of vaccine
eligibility to all residents age 16+ this week.
As this week marks the one-year anniversary of our collective
response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am so glad to be sharing
that 164,388 of our residents have received vaccinations and this
is 25.6% of our adult population.
I write with gratitude for the hopefulness that our vaccine
rollout is enabling for so many of our older adult and essential
worker residents, while also acknowledging the significant work
that remains to assure equity in the reach of the vaccine.
This week we continue to see progress in the San Mateo County
COVID-19 vaccine rollout, while also acknowledging that the large
group of approximately 200,000 residents who became eligible on
March 15 occurred at a time in which the vaccine supply in San
Mateo County has actually decreased.
The Governor’s hopeful announcement that the State is expanding
eligibility for the vaccine this week (April 1) to all residents
ages 50+ and in a couple of weeks (April 15th) to all residents
age 16+ is a promising sign that California and San Mateo County
will receive much more vaccine supply by later in April, which
will help us increase the speed of our vaccination as a County
and as a country.
My update this week comes at a time when we are nearing almost
everyone in San Mateo County being eligible to be vaccinated –
coming April 15th – as we also reach a milestone of half of
our residents age 16+ receiving at least a first