MENDOCINO Co., 12/16/22 — Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren described the confluence of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Covid-19 infections as a “tripledemic” Friday afternoon during his agency’s last scheduled press conference of 2022 — advising the use of high quality respiratory masks in indoor public spaces as well as protecting yourself with vaccines.
“My advice for the holidays if ya’ll wanna have fun: get vaccinated. Get vaccinated for both covid and influenza, and they can be done at the same time. Get tested, and if positive or if you’re sick — don’t get others sick by going to parties where other people can get infected. And also if you’re positive for covid or for flu… get treatment,” Coren said.
Coren called this Mendocino County’s “usual winter virus season,” but said it is unusual to see the arrival of three major viruses all at one time. The flu is mainly a threat to the very young and the very old, he explained, but RSV has also stressed local hospitals due to increased demands on pediatric care providers.
Local government has added a useful tool in its pandemic response, however, in the form of wastewater surveillance — which is now online in Ukiah and is forthcoming for Willits and Fort Bragg, according to Coren.
At the outset of Friday’s press conference, Coren also took a moment to thank the broader community for their efforts to keep Mendocino County safe amid ongoing threats to public health: “I want to briefly acknowledge what we’ve gone through in the last year, and thank all those in the health department, the county and city and tribal governments, the clinics, hospitals, health care workers, the schools and staff, the community, religious groups, lodging, restaurants and other store owners, ranchers, farmers and especially all the employees and independent contractors. We have had, and will continue to have, our differences — but oh, how we pulled together to keep our community safe and healthy. We have been in a pandemic that was a once-in-a-hundred-year event that claimed more American lives than every war since 1900. It may not be over quite yet, but I just wanted to thank everyone for your contributions and wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year.”
There have been 136 Covid-19 deaths in Mendocino County since 2020, according to Coren, and local schools continue to suffer a high rate of absenteeism related to illness. The county’s final vaccination clinic of the year, which will provide flu vaccines, Covid-19 vaccines and updated bivalent booster shots, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Ukiah Fairgrounds, 1055 N. State Street in Ukiah. Interested parties can find the full video from Friday’s press conference on Mendocino County’s YouTube channel.