STATE BOOSTS 'TEST AND TREAT' CAPACITY, URGES BOOSTER VACCINES: COVID-19 testing capacity will expand across the state in the coming weeks as public health officials aim to make it easier to access both testing and prescription treatments, state health officials said Wednesday. Read more below.
HEALTH OFFICERS URGE RETURN TO COVID PRECAUTIONS: Health officials in 11 counties urged residents across the greater Bay Area Friday to once again take COVID-19 precautions like masking as cases and hospitalizations rise across the region. Read more below.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY COVID CASES SURPASS HEIGHT OF DELTA SURGE: COVID-19 cases are rising again to higher levels than last summer's surge, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said May 10. Read the full story.
COVID CASES ARE UP AGAIN AT LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS: The Sequoia Union High School District is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in the last week. Officials are chalking up the rise to a combination of exposure over spring break and a general rise in cases throughout San Mateo County. Read the full story.
MOUNTAIN VIEW'S COVID VACCINATION SITE IS SHUTTING DOWN: For more than a year, the Mountain View Community Center has been a crucial outpost for providing COVID-19 vaccines in the north county. Now the plan is to shut it down later this month. Read the full story.
YOUR COVID-19 VACCINE QUESTIONS — ANSWERED: We've compiled a list of who can currently get vaccinated in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, plus answers to common questions and links to resources. Read the full Q&A.
COVID-19 TESTS AVAILABLE BY APPOINTMENT: Santa Clara County is operating appointment-only COVID-19 test sites on a rotating basis. View the full list.
COVID-19 testing capacity will expand across the state in the coming weeks as public health officials aimt to make it easier to access both testing and prescription treatments, state health officials said Wednesday.
The California Department of Public Health and OptumServe Federal Health Services plan to launch 146 "test and treat" sites that will allow those who test positive to consult with a health care expert and receive a prescription for antiviral medication like Paxlovid or molnupiravir, if necessary.
State officials said the test and treat sites will improve health care access for the state's uninsured residents and for those who live in areas that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
"Our goal is to help Californians recover if they get COVID-19 and ensure high-risk patients have access to treatments that can keep them out of the hospital," CDPH Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said.
State officials have urged residents in recent weeks to test more often for the virus as COVID-19 cases have increased statewide, largely due to the omicron subvariant BA.2, which health experts have said is even more contagious than the original omicron variant that pushed cases to record highs during the state's winter surge.
Officials have also urged residents who completed their initial vaccination series at least five months ago to get a booster vaccine dose to bolster their immune response to the virus.
Those who are 50 and older, immunocompromised or who initially received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are also eligible for a second booster dose.
"Vaccines have saved tens of thousands of lives in California, and with COVID-19 still prevalent, we can't afford to let our guard down," said Gov. Gavin Newsom, who received his second booster Wednesday at a clinic in Bakersfield. "The best protection against serious illness and hospitalization is getting vaccinated and boosted."
According to a study published last month in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, COVID-19 vaccinations prevented an estimated 1.5 million cases, 72,000 hospitalizations and 19,000 deaths through mid-October 2021.
According to state data, unvaccinated residents have been nearly five times more likely to contract the virus than those who are vaccinated and boosted, six-and-a-half times more likely to be hospitalized and nearly eight times more likely to die.
Californians are encouraged to visit the state's vaccination appointment scheduling tool, myturn.ca.gov, or call 833-422-4255 to determine where to get vaccinated.
Vaccination and testing information can also be obtained via a person's local health department.
Health officials in 11 counties urged residents across the greater Bay Area Friday to once again take COVID-19 precautions like masking as cases and hospitalizations rise across the region.
Officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties said in a joint statement that the Bay Area now has one of the state's highest infection rates.
The current surge has been spurred by an extremely contagious subvariant, known as BA.2, of the already highly contagious omicron variant.
"If you've chosen not to wear a mask in indoor public places recently, now is a good time to start again," said Santa Clara County Deputy Health Officer Dr. George Han said in a statement.
The health officials also called on those who have not yet gotten vaccinated to do so and urged people who test positive for the virus to seek over-the-counter medications like Paxlovid that reduce the risk of developing serious complications from the infection.
Even with one of the highest case rates in the state, the pure number of COVID-positive residents across the Bay Area is likely much higher than currently measured, according to the health officials, since rapid at-home tests are widely available and their results are generally not reported to local health departments and the state.
"There's a lot of COVID out there right now, so it's time to take more precautionary measures to protect yourself and your loved ones," Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli said.
Bay Area residents are encouraged to contact their health care provider or visit the website for their local public health department for information about the virus.
For coverage by subject — how the virus is affecting public health, residents, schools, cities, businesses, nonprofits, arts groups, etc. — please go to our Wakelet page.
View an archive of previous updates here.