Omicron prompts ban on huge gatherings, voluntary stay-at-home order in Sonoma County

3 mins read

The rise in the COVID-19 omicron variant cases triggered gathering restrictions in Sonoma County – the first county in the Bay Area to do so, SFGATE reported.

Indoor crowds that gather over 50 attendees, as well as outdoor events with more than 100 people are banned effective Monday.

Residents in the country are also asked to “stay home as much as possible for the next 30 days and limit interactions with those outside of their immediate household.”

“Our case rates are at their highest level since the pandemic began and our hospitalizations are climbing at an alarming rate as well,” Dr. Sundari Mase, health officer, said in a statement. “We are seeing widespread transmission occurring within unvaccinated groups as well as some transmission among vaccinated individuals.”

Vaccination among qualified residents in the country reached about 78 percent.

According to the new health measure, gathering is defined “as any public or private event or convening that brings people together in a single room or single space at the same time, such as in an auditorium, gymnasium, stadium, arena, large conference room, wedding venue, meeting hall, or any other indoor or outdoor space.”

Exemptions are meanwhile applied to worship places, education facilities, and venues “open to the public as part of regular operations such as shopping malls, stores, restaurants/food facilities and museums.”

Defending the new protocol, Mase said the county does not want the hospitals to be overwhelmed with the cases as the levels of positivity are similar to those recorded in summer during the surge of the delta variant.

The number of “incidental positives” in the hospitalizations is unclear.

With the omicron wave across the states, the range on patients in the hospital “with COVID-19” contrary “for COVID-19” is at around 42 to 70 percent.

Out of the 47 people admitted in intensive care units, seven are COVID-19 patients, the county dashboard said. The availability of ventilators is at 77.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the ICU bed availability is at 24.4 percent. Since the start of November, the number stayed in between 20 to 30 percent and did not surpass 47.4 percent this 2022.

While there is no clear provision yet on the enforcement of the order, it also “specifies that gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 must be limited to no more than 12 people, except for family gatherings.”