MENDOCINO Co., 4/6/22 — Mendocino County Public Health has implemented a new Covid-19 data dashboard as of this week, which staff outlined during the county’s regular public health press event on April 1. The new dashboard will include more details about certain kinds of data, such as vaccinations and fatalities, as well as changes such as using California’s statewide data for hospitalizations and deaths.
Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren reported that there has been one additional death in Mendocino County, an 82-year-old man from the northern part of the county who was not vaccinated. He explained that a second booster shot has now received emergency authorization from the Federal Drug Administration for residents over fifty years old and/or those who are immune-compromised; Public Health recommends getting that second booster. Vaccine authorizations are pending for young children below the age of six.
Coren noted that the current community case rates in Mendocino County are considered low, but the future of how Covid-19 might develop remains uncertain. Subvarients such as BA.2 are becoming the dominant strain statewide, and BA.2 was detected in Mendocino County in late March. Coren emphasized that indoor masking is still recommended, and masks are still required in specific indoor settings, such as hospitals, congregate living facilities, jails, and public transport.
The OptumServe facility at the Ukiah fairgrounds is now offering both PCR and rapid tests, and the county is also providing ongoing pop-up testing and vaccine events. Coren added that the numbers of people getting tested has dropped significantly, and so “reliability is less than [it was] two to three months ago” in assessing community spread based on the percentage of positive cases. However, the county also factors in hospitalization rates to assess spread. As of March 31, only one Mendocino County resident was hospitalized with Covid-19, in an out-of-county facility. The county is also pursuing participation in the state’s ongoing wastewater analysis to better identify future surges or new variants locally.
Uninsured or on Medi-Cal? Now You Need to Register First
One important change to existing Covid-19 services is that uninsured residents or those covered by Medi-Cal should register with their Medi-Cal provider or at a local community clinic prior to seeking testing or other Covid-19-related care, due to changes in federal funding. The California Department of Public Health will continue to cover Covid-19-related costs for uninsured or Medi-Cal patients, but the process now requires registration in advance to insure the services remain free.
During the Friday press conference, public health staff provided an overview of the changes in the county’s data, and how to locate it on the website, which we recommend watching in full (begins at the 18 minute mark in the video below). One change is that the total number of deaths is now based on the state’s calculations, which do not include seven deaths tabulated by the county stretching back to the beginning of the pandemic. Coren said that this difference is due to the use of different definitions used by the county and the state during a time when fewer PCR tests were available. The new dashboard will only use fatalities counted by the state.
You can watch the full video here: