May 23, 2022 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health
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.
The Bay Area Health Officers jointly stressed the importance of these measures, reiterating their continued, strong support for people to mask up indoors, keep tests handy and ensure you are up to date on vaccinations by getting vaccinations when eligible. This now includes booster eligibility for all residents age 5+ who completed their primary series five or more months ago following the federal and state approvals of a booster for the 5-11 year-old group last week. Some residents (those who are 50+ years, immunocompromised, or received J&J) are eligible for a 2nd COVID-19 booster 4 months after their 1st booster. We continue to stress that the single most important step every resident can take is to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.
We also ask that you help us amplify the importance of the key actions to “LIMITT” COVID during this period of increased transmission:
- Limit large gatherings to well-ventilated areas or outdoors.
- Improve ventilation to prevent airborne virus particles from accumulating.
- Mask. Respirator masks (N95s) provide better protection than cloth masks. Wearing a well-fitting mask in indoor public places reduces the risk of infecting others and becoming infected.
- Isolate for COVID. Stay home if you feel sick and get tested right away. Follow the State isolation and quarantine guidance.
- Test for COVID if you have symptoms.
- Treatments are available if you test positive and are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Treatment must be started within days after you first develop symptoms to be effective so talk with your healthcare provider right away if you test positive.
Community transmission of COVID-19 is high and increasing. In the Centers for Disease Control rubric, San Mateo County is categorized as “medium.” As of May 19, that daily case rate is 50/100K during the last seven days, which is an average of 386 new cases per day reported to Public Health during the last week. Test positivity rates are 7.7% countywide and 8.5% in the Health Equity Quartile census tracts. The testing level reported by the State (incorporating a 7-day lag) was 679 tests per day per 100K in the population and remains among the highest in the State. Last Wednesday’s census of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was 39. With increased risk, individuals and organizations should implement more strategies to prevent transmission.
With the recent federal and state approvals, local pharmacies now have appointments available for the youth ages 5-11 booster, and appointments should be available on MyTurn for County Health’s community-based clinics by early next week. We continue to have County-sponsored offerings in: South San Francisco, Daly City, San Mateo, Half Moon Bay, Redwood City and East Palo Alto. These are reflected on My Turn or on the vaccine clinic calendar on our County Health website. In addition to community-based and pharmacy options, healthcare providers across the County have continued to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all eligible residents. Our vaccination dashboards now display the booster reach for the first and additional/second boosters.
We continue to monitor the approval process for the 6 months to age 4 group.
Last week’s grim milestone of the United States surpassing one million deaths due to COVID-19 marks the enormous toll and loss that this virus has wrought and the need for all of us to stay caring and careful. We are grateful for the adaptability that is evident as the virus’s persistence and mutations require our continued attention.
All together better,
Louise F. Rogers