COVID-19 Status Update – Mask Mandate, Boosters, Testing & More

Posted on October 15, 2021

Covid Status Update

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Case rates and hospitalizations continued to decline this week in Sonoma County. The County reported a case rate this week of 8.2 new daily cases per 100,000 (down slightly from 8.5) – the case rate among the unvaccinated individuals is 16.9 per 100,000 compared with 4.6 for vaccinated residents. The county reported a test positivity rate of 2 percent  (down from 2.1), an equity metric positivity rate of 2.1 percent (down from 2.3) and as of Tuesday, 27 COVID patients were in Sonoma County hospitals. This included 12 COVID patients in ICU beds, down from 84 on Aug. 15 and 65 a month ago. The unvaccinated account for most COVID patients in local ICUs. See the County’s updated Metrics and Trends page for the most up-to-date data.

Find more information about testing opportunities, vaccine clinics,

Bay Area health officers issue criteria for lifting mask mandate

Sonoma County on Thursday joined most other Bay Area counties in establishing criteria that must be met before the indoor masking requirements are lifted. Health officials estimate that it could be early January before those benchmarks are met in Sonoma County. The benchmarks require:

  • The county to reach the moderate (yellow) COVID-19 transmission tier, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and remain there for at least three weeks. That would be fewer than 50
    cases each week per 100,000 population. The county is now averaging about 75 new weekly cases per 100,000 population.
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations are low and stable, in the judgment of the county health officer. The county is currently discussing this benchmark with local hospitals and health partners.
  • 80 percent of the county’s total population be fully vaccinated or eight weeks have passed since a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for emergency use for 5- to 11-year-olds.

Reaching the 80 percent threshold will be challenging, health officials say, even after children ages 5 to 11 are eligible to be vaccinated. Emergency authorization for the use of a COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 5 to 11 is expected in three to four weeks. Even if every child age 5 to 11 was vaccinated, that would still leave Sonoma County about 20,000 residents short of 80 percent of the entire population being fully vaccinated.

Vaccine Updates and Clinics

As of this week, nearly 77.9 percent of the County’s 12 and older population is now fully vaccinated, while 85.2 percent have received at least one dose. Vaccine appointments are plentiful, and anyone 12 years or older who wants one can get an appointment at one of the many clinics, pharmacies or health centers in the County — often the same day. Many are also accepting walk-in patients. Just go to to find an appointment that works for you and find a list of local clinics on the Sonoma Valley Health Partner Website.

Vaccine for ages 5-11 expected to be authorized soon

Pfizer and BioNTech on Thursday asked federal regulators to authorize emergency use of their vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The Food and Drug Administration has promised to move quickly on the request and has scheduled a meeting on Oct. 26 to consider it. An FDA ruling is expected as early as Halloween. A meeting of expert advisers to the Centers for Disease Control has been scheduled for Nov. 2 and 3. The CDC’s recommendations are typically the federal government’s last word on vaccine policy.

The County of Sonoma’s community briefings this week included health and education officials addressing the issue of how pediatric vaccines will be administered once the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for ages 5 to 11. Recordings of the briefings will be available for viewing on the county’s YouTube channel in English and Spanish.

Boosters Shots

The Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for some people who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago. Regulators have not made recommendations about boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines but are expected to make a determination soon.

On Thursday, the FDA’s advisory panel of vaccine experts unanimously recommended giving booster shots of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine to people ages 65 and older and other vulnerable Americans.  On Friday, the group will discuss Johnson & Johnson boosters. The agency typically issues decisions within a few days of advisory committee meetings.

This Week’s Vaccine Clinics in Sonoma Valley:

  • Saturday, October 16th, 12 – 3 pm Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, 19270 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma CA 95476. Walk-ins welcome. For questions call (707) 939-6070
  • Wednesday, October 20th, 3:30 – 6:30 pm at Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, 19270 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma CA 95476. Walk-ins welcome. For questions call (707) 939-6070
  • Thursday, September, 21st 4 – 7 pm at La Luz Center, 17560 Greger St., Sonoma CA 95476. Walk-ins welcome. For questions call (707) 939-6070
  • Saturday, October 23rd, 12 – 3 pm Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, 19270 Sonoma Hwy, Sonoma CA 95476. Walk-ins welcome. For questions call (707) 939-6070

Testing Opportunities

Testing in the county has nearly doubled in the past month. Find testing locations and make an appointment on the County’s testing page or call the hotline at 707-565-4667. The hotline is available to help residents sort through their many testing options in Spanish and English.

This Week’s Pop-Up Testing in Sonoma Valley:

  • Sundays, Boyes Hot Springs Park and Ride at Hwy.12 & Thompson Ave., Boyes Hot Springs, Walk-ins are limited due to high demandTo make an appointment: Visit the Curative website or call (888) 702-9042.
  • Tuesday – Friday, 8 am – 2 pm at the Fiesta Plaza 18615 Sonoma Hwy., Sonoma, Walk-ins are limited due to high demandTo make an appointment: Visit the Curative website or call (888) 702-9042.
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