Watch CBS News

COVID Stay At Home: Sonoma Health Officer Urges Residents To Stay Home Amid Omicron Surge

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – Citing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant in Sonoma County, health officials announced restrictions on some large gatherings and urged people to travel only when necessary for the next month.

UPDATE: Sonoma County Business Owners Worried About Impact of New Health Order

Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase issued an order prohibiting large gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and more than 100 people outdoors where social distancing can't be maintained. The order is in effect from 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12 and is scheduled to continue through February 11.

ALSO READ: Full text of new Sonoma County Health Order

"Our case rates are at their highest level since the pandemic began and our hospitalizations are climbing at an alarming rate as well," Mase said in a statement to residents on Monday. "We are seeing widespread transmission occurring within unvaccinated groups as well as some transmission among vaccinated individuals."

Mase claimed that among cases where the source of transmission is known, more than half emerged from large gatherings.

According to Mase, the case rate in Sonoma County has increased from 24.4 per 100,000 per day to more than 121 new cases per 100,000 per day. The county's test positivity rate also reached 16.5%, a pandemic high. Officials anticipate cases to continue rising through January.

Gatherings covered by the order include private or public events "that bring people together in a single room or single place at the same time" such as in auditoriums, stadiums, arenas, wedding venues or meeting halls.

Several exceptions were also listed.

"Large gatherings do not include those that occur as a part of regular school instructional events or outdoor recess, workplace settings, courthouse activities, places of worship, cafeterias, or any venue that is open to the public as part of regular operations such as shopping malls, stores, restaurants/food facilities and museums," county officials said in a statement.

Along with the gathering restrictions, Mase voluntarily urged residents to stay home as much as possible for the next 30 days, recommending travel only to work and school and for necessary trips such as to the grocery store or to the doctor.

Mase also recommended vaccinations and booster shots to those who have yet to receive them, along with the wearing of surgical masks or higher-quality face coverings such as N95, KF94 or KN95 masks.

"The next 30 days will be key to helping us stop this rapid spread of this highly contagious variant in our community. We need to get vaccinated and boosted, wear high-quality masks, avoid large gatherings and stay home as much as possible," Mase said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.