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August 2, 2022 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health

Health Officer Updates Messages from the Chief

Transmission of COVID-19 remains high in our community, reflecting the continued dominance of the BA.5 variant. Vaccination remains very important to protect against severe illness and death.

As many families begin to think about kids returning to classrooms while there is both high transmission and fewer requirements or restrictions, we are grateful to our education partners for their work to update prevention policies and protocols to enable safe in-person learning. We value the focus by educational professionals and families on being current on vaccination and promoting ventilation, masking, testing, and staying home when sick. 

San Mateo County remains in the CDC “high” tier, as does most of the Bay Area region and the state. This is a longer phase of high transmission than we have experienced in prior periods.

The number of patients hospitalized in San Mateo County with COVID-19 was 58 as of yesterday and has fluctuated between 30 and 60 for most of the last two and a half months. This number of hospitalized patients is comparable to the height of the Delta surge a year ago, but lower than the high of the winter Omicron surge, which reached as high as 160 patients. The level of intensive care unit hospitalization has been in the single digits. Our local hospitals continue to be able to manage these levels of hospitalization. 

We continue to strongly recommend wearing a high-quality mask in indoor settings and increasing ventilation — such as by opening windows and doors where possible — to help prevent infection. We urge residents to test if symptomatic and to be in contact with their physician. If you are positive, a physician can assess if COVID treatments are right for you. 

On the vaccination front, we want to reinforce that this is a time of high transmission, and if you are eligible for a booster, get up to date, as the existing COVID-19 vaccines remain the single most important tool in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. For those age 50+ or immunocompromised who received a first booster more than four months ago, we urge you to get your second booster as soon as possible. There are many pathways throughout the county through health care providers and pharmacies.

The federal government relayed on Friday that eligibility for a second booster will remain unchanged. They expect a fall rollout of an Omicron-specific booster that will be available to those age 12 and older.

All together better, 

Louise F. Rogers