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This Week in San Mateo County Health
Week of July 4, 2022

CDC Community Level High/Red

As of the weekly update posted on June 30 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), San Mateo County has moved from Medium/Yellow to the High/Red COVID-19 Community Level category

The CDC calculates a county’s case rate, the region’s new COVID-19 hospital admissions, and the percentage of in-patient beds in use by COVID-19 patients to determine the COVID-19 Community Level. In the CDC’s formulation, the move from Medium/Yellow to High/Red is driven by increasing hospitalizations in San Mateo and San Francisco counties and demand on local health care systems. 

As San Mateo County moves to the higher-risk category, the CDC recommends that residents wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation, stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if symptomatic, and connect with a doctor or Test-to-Treat offering if infected. Those at high risk for severe illness should consider taking additional precautions (such as avoiding crowded indoor activities with poor ventilation).

We support the CDC guidelines and have been stressing the need for indoor masking since late April, as cases in our region were rising; community transmission of COVID-19 in the Bay Area has been high for many weeks. 

During this season of travel and gatherings, we continue to urge residents to wear high-quality masks (such as N95/KN95) indoors to protect themselves and their families and communities. San Mateo County Health urges businesses, venue operators and event hosts, faith organizations, and other groups to consider requiring masks for participants in indoor activities and to take steps to increase indoor ventilation by opening windows and doors.

A higher prevalence of COVID-19 means that the risk of exposure is greater, especially as the Omicron subvariants spread more readily than previous variants of the disease. Vaccines and boosters continue to lessen the risk of hospitalization and death, but even those who are vaccinated and boosted should wear high-quality masks indoors to reduce their potential exposure to COVID-19.

Vaccination for Children Under 5

San Mateo County Health has been working with local pediatric health care providers to help them prepare to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children under 5 after approval by the FDA, CDC, and regional and state authorities. The major health care systems have confirmed that they are well prepared to offer vaccination to their patients/members who are under 5.

Believing that the best place for young children to receive the vaccines is in the care of a pediatric provider, San Mateo County Health will not offer large-scale vaccine clinics to children under 5 or at its community clinics but will instead provide small-scale clinics at Early Head Start sites and staffing and administrative support to interested pediatric providers that serve publicly insured families.

County Health’s community clinics will continue to offer vaccines and boosters to residents 5 and older.

Families seeking vaccines for children under 5 should contact their pediatric care provider to schedule an appointment. Other options include Walgreens (for ages 3 and up) and CVS (for 18 months and older). Information is also available on MyTurn.


The risk of monkeypox to the community is low. The greatest risk is to people who have recently traveled where cases are identified or who have close contact with someone who has traveled and has had symptoms consistent with monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that anyone with symptoms, such as characteristic rashes or lesions, should contact their health care provider for a risk assessment. This includes anyone who traveled to countries where monkeypox cases have been reported or reports contact with a person who has a similar rash or received a diagnosis of confirmed or suspected monkeypox. 

The California Department of Public Health has posted an explainer page about monkeypox, with a table showing similarities to and differences from COVID-19 (scroll down on page).

Test to Treat

All six LHI/OptumServe COVID-19 testing sites in San Mateo County currently offer Test to Treat. Those locations are in San Mateo, Half Moon Bay, Pacifica, Daly City, and South San Francisco. Get more information here.

(LHI/OptumServe is contracted by the State of California to offer COVID-19 testing and to participate in the Test to Treat Program. San Mateo County does not operate these sites.)

Additional Test to Treat options in San Mateo County include certain CVS pharmacies as part of the federal Test to Treat initiative (more information about the federal program is available here). Other pharmacies offer oral antiviral medications via prescription, so residents should consult with their primary health care provider.

Eligible for a second COVID-19 booster?

Your first option is your primary health care provider or a pharmacy. You can also book an appointment through the state’s MyTurn system.

County Health’s community clinics will provide boosters for walk-ins now, but we recommend booking an appointment to avoid long waits.

Boosters, First & Second Doses

Boosters and first and second doses are available at community clinics, health care providers, pharmacies. Check MyTurn and see County-operated community clinic schedules here.

Cases in Schools

Information about the incidence of COVID-19 in schools in San Mateo County is managed by the individual school districts. Find information here.