MENDOCINO Co., 12/20/21 — More than two-thirds of Mendocino County’s eligible residents are fully vaccinated, including more than half of minors ages 12 to 17, Public Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren said Friday during a press conference. New daily case rates remain persistently high, however, and the hospitals are nearly full. With the Omicron variant confirmed in California, Coren expects a holiday surge, potentially worse than last year’s, and described this moment as a “calm before the storm.”
“The outlook for the new year looks ominous,” Coren said. “The presence of Covid is expected to increase tremendously.”
Our daily new positive case rate in Mendocino County has varied “erratically” over the last month, Coren said, ranging from 11 confirmed cases per day to 22. Vaccination rates have improved dramatically since the Covid-19 vaccine was approved for minors 5-years-old and above, however, with 69% of eligible residents fully vaccinated and about 54% of children ages 12 to 17. Coren said there have been three outbreaks confirmed so far in schools, but all of them were resolved by Friday. Mendocino County’s hardest-hit demographic continues to be the Native American community, due in part to low vaccination rates.
“I’m begging you to vaccinate,” Coren said. “Use your masks. Stay home if you’re sick.” On a personal note, however, he advised against verbal confrontations over vaccination with loved ones over the holidays. “I really warn against arguments, because in an argument people dig their heels in.”
As of December 15, the California Department of Public Health has mandated masks be work indoors regardless of vaccination status until January 15; see the announcement here.
It had been five weeks since the county’s last public health update on the state of the pandemic before the Dec. 17 press conference. The first part of that hiatus was planned for just two weeks over the Thanksgiving holiday, but dragged on inexplicably into mid-December. When asked to explain, Coren stated his absence was prolonged due to a respiratory illness — but not Covid-19. He did, however, have an audible cough. The next public health update is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2022, more than two weeks from today.
As of Monday, Mendocino County had logged 8,475 confirmed cases of Covid-19 — the vast majority of which infected residents ages 19 to 49. There were two Covid-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and five more hospitalized but not in ICU. We have suffered 103 deaths so far, including several late last week. There have been 670 “breakthrough” infections documented among fully vaccinated individuals.
You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqSnM73RwI8