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May 26, 2021 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health

Health Officer Updates Messages from the Chief

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. 

While these numbers trend down, each day the right numbers go up. It is so exciting to see the enthusiasm of our young, newly eligible residents. Our 12-15 year old residents are already 34.1% vaccinated (13,701 of 40,152 in the county). We also see that our 16-24 year old residents are 67.5% vaccinated and our 25-34 year old residents are 101.6% vaccinated (cause for celebration, but 83,209 of 81,877 shows the limits of population estimates that we rely on). Overall, we have vaccinated 82.8% of our 16+ population, compared to 68.7% of residents in our lowest quartile Healthy Places Index census tracts, and we know that in the communities in San Mateo County where uptake has been lowest we are closer to 50%. We also see that those vaccinated are 57% people of color, 37% white, and 6% unknown, but there is great variation in the take-up by race.

While we celebrate our continued momentum, we also know that continuing to extend the reach of the vaccine in San Mateo County among those who have not yet been vaccinated is going to require sustained effort, information or answers to questions from trusted messengers, and a regular cadence of local vaccination clinics across the county at accessible times and locations. We have seen declines in activity at the large mass vaccination clinics, which we have ended at the SMC Event Center due to the fair but are continuing at SFO Long Term Parking. We will be ending the large events after June 15, 2021 and instead focusing on all the local efforts. 

We are also pleased to share that 20 new pharmacies are providing vaccinations now throughout the county for a total of 60, and we are glad to see many schools across the county mobilizing vaccination partnerships for their students and families. The California My Turn system remains the best place to learn about the publicly available opportunities and schedule appointments (though all the County-sponsored opportunities provide for walk-ups). We will continue to post all the County-sponsored vaccination events, times and locations on our online calendar.

Thank you for all you have done to support each milestone. All Together Better!