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Monday, October 3, 2022

Progress needed on COVID-19 vaccination as new variants emerge

progress needs to be made in vaccination against COVID-19
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SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission remains high in San Mateo County, reflecting the continued dominance of the BA.5 variant, so advancing vaccination against COVID-19 is necessary to protect against severe disease and death.

This was stated by Louise Rogers, chief health officer of San Mateo County, who through a message stressed that as many families begin to think about children returning to the classroom while there is high transmission and fewer requirements or restrictions, it is necessary to strengthen inoculation.

In this regard, the local official thanked the educational partners for their work to update policies and prevention protocols to enable safe face-to-face learning. 

"We value the focus of education professionals and families on staying up to date with vaccination and promoting ventilation, masking, testing and staying home when sick," he noted.

It is worth noting that San Mateo County remains in the "high" level of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, as well as most of the Bay Area region and the state. 

"This is a longer phase of high transmission than we have experienced in previous periods," Rogers said.

As of Tuesday, the number of patients hospitalized in San Mateo County with COVID-19 was 58 and has fluctuated between 30 and 60 for most of the past two and a half months, he noted in the release.

This number of hospitalized patients is comparable to the peak of the Delta surge a year ago, but lower than the peak of the Omicron winter surge, which reached 160 patients. 

Meanwhile, the level of intensive care unit hospitalization has been in the single digits. "Our local hospitals continue to be able to manage these hospitalization levels."

In this regard, he stressed that it is still "strongly" recommended to wear a high quality mask in indoor environments and to increase ventilation, for example, by opening windows and doors when possible, to help prevent infections. 

"We urge residents to get tested if they have symptoms and to contact their physician. If positive, a physician can evaluate whether COVID treatments are right for you," Rogers stressed.

On the vaccination front, he emphasized that this is a time of "high transmission," so if eligible for a booster, now is the time to upgrade, as existing COVID-19 vaccines remain the most important tool to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. 

For those over 50 or immunocompromised who received a first booster more than four months ago, it is recommended to get their second booster as soon as possible. "There are many avenues throughout the county through health care providers and pharmacies."

The federal government conveyed on Friday that eligibility for a second booster will remain unchanged, and a specific booster for the Omicron variant, which will be available for ages 12 and older, is expected to be released in the fall.

You may be interested in: Increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. sparks discussion on possible return of mandates

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