October 4, 2022 – Message from the Chief
Louise Rogers, chief, San Mateo County Health
We are glad to see residents getting the updated COVID-19 booster – 43,429, 6% of the eligible population so far – and urge everyone to stay up to date with vaccination to remain protected against the currently circulating Omicron variants.
It is heartening to see the broader health care systems – primary care practices and pharmacies across the county – making COVID-19 vaccines readily available. At many pharmacy locations, you can make an appointment same day or next day, and at some locations flu shots can be obtained during the same visit. The updated COVID-19 boosters are currently available for those ages 12 and older, and we anticipate that these updated boosters will be available later this month for children ages 5 to 11.
County Health will continue to offer weekly standing COVID-19 vaccine clinics in East Palo Alto, North Fair Oaks, San Mateo, Half Moon Bay, South San Francisco, and Daly City through the end of October. Appointments are available for the primary series and the updated booster through the State’s MyTurn system.
While many of our residents are getting vaccinated, we continue to see gaps in vaccination uptake for various reasons beyond access. We are seeing vaccination gaps for the primary series and boosters in specific communities, including our Black, Latinx and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. Over the next month, we are convening community forums to help identify strategies to close these vaccination gaps. These forums will include community-based organizations that serve these target groups across the entire county. With this community guided approach, we plan to focus our resources towards implementing the strategies identified within these community forums. These strategies should further close the gaps in vaccination reach for our communities hardest hit by COVID. Example strategies may include outreach and education sessions, in addition to frequent offerings of targeted equity-focused vaccine clinics.
County Health continues to encourage community partners to request targeted pop-up vaccine events at any time. The event request form is found on our online Vaccine Clinic Calendar. County Health is eager to work with partners on proposed clinics targeting individuals and families who have been historically underserved and are disproportionately impacted by COVID.
The number of reported cases and hospitalizations categorize San Mateo County in the CDC’s “Low” community level. In addition to the CDC community level, we look to wastewater surveillance, cases reported to us, and hospitalization levels in assessing our local COVID-19 situation. We are seeing improvements in these indicators relative to the peak levels over the summer and would love to see this trend continue in advance of the winter months. But there is still substantial community transmission.
The concentration of COVID-19 in wastewater in and around San Mateo County is declining but not yet at the lower levels experienced in March. We also continue to see declining case reports and hospitalizations. The number of patients hospitalized in San Mateo County with COVID-19 was 19 as of yesterday and has fluctuated between 12 and 25 for the last couple of weeks; this is also improved from peak levels though higher than lows of between 4 and 8 in April.
The actions we can all take to support continued improvement of these indicators include staying up to date with vaccinations, getting tested when symptomatic, and wearing a mask to prevent exposure and spread, especially if you have symptoms, a positive test, or a known exposure to someone with COVID-19.
Regarding monkeypox, the risk of transmission to the public remains low. We currently have a total of 77 cases and have seen a slowing in the number of new cases reported to us. Vaccine supply is not a limiting factor right now, and the pathways for vaccination through health care providers have improved. We encourage people who meet current vaccine eligibility criteria to get vaccinated. Information about MPX vaccination, along with other helpful information, is available on our website.
All together better,
Louise F. Rogers