May 6, 2022 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health
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:
- Get vaccinated or boosted to ensure you’re up to date.
- Improve ventilation throughout indoor spaces as much as possible.
- Wear a well-fitting mask in crowded indoor public places to reduce the risk of infecting others and becoming infected.
- Continue to follow the State isolation and quarantine guidance.
This is a time for increased awareness and vigilance. Within the Centers for Disease Control rubric, San Mateo County is categorized as “medium.” As of yesterday, that daily rate is 36/100K during the last seven days, which is an average of 276 new cases per day reported to public health during the last week. Test positivity rates are 5.4% countywide and 4.8% in the Health Equity Quartile census tracts. The testing level reported by the State (incorporating a 7-day lag) was 584 tests per day per 100K in the population and remains among the highest in the State. Wednesday’s census of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was 19.
We encourage residents who are immunocompromised or at high-risk for severe disease to talk to your healthcare provider and consider additional precautions, which may include wearing a higher-quality mask or respirator (e.g., N95) in crowded places indoors, having a plan for rapid testing, and consulting with your doctor about whether you are a candidate for available treatments. For those who live with or care for someone at high-risk, considering self-testing to detect infection before being in contact as well as wearing a mask when indoors around those who are more vulnerable.
The State is adapting some of the COVID-19 testing sites it supports in partnership with local health departments, such as the one located at the College of San Mateo, to serve as Test to Treat sites. This compliments test to treat offerings the federal government has already made available through many local pharmacies. Residents who test positive can be assessed for oral medications, and if they qualify, can learn how to begin treatment as quickly as possible. These options are best accessed through one’s primary care provider or through local Test to Treat pharmacies and select State testing sites.
We remain focused on overcoming gaps in primary vaccination series reach and see that reach remains lower among the Black, Pacific Islander and Hispanic populations, as well as the age 5-11 group. We also are striving to reduce gaps in booster take-up among older adults.
We 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 at or on the vaccine clinic calendar on our County Health website. Healthcare providers and pharmacies across the County have continued to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to all eligible residents.
As was reported last week, Moderna has applied for authorization of a vaccine for the 6 months to age 5 group. Federal reviews for Emergency Use Authorizations for both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for these younger populations is scheduled for early and late June. We appreciate the early education partners that are in dialogue with us to plan for equitable reach of this group. In addition, Pfizer has requested FDA approval for a booster dose for the 5 to 11 year old age group.
The increase in COVID transmission reinforces the importance of vaccination, including boosters, as the greatest protection from the risks of severe disease or death from COVID-19.
All together better,
Louise F. Rogers