CONCORD, CA - Public health officials across the Bay Area, including in Contra Costa County, on Friday, urged Concord and all other eligible Bay Area residents to get vaccinated and, if eligible, get a booster shot right away to protect against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
Evidence of the variant has been detected in several Bay Area counties, including one case in Napa County and one in Sonoma County. While there have been no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant reported to Contra Costa Health Services as of Friday morning, evidence of the variant has been detected in a county wastewater sample, county health officials said.
"Now more than ever, receiving a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible is an urgent, healthy choice to protect yourself and your family," said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County. "Even if you were fully vaccinated earlier this year, two shots are no longer enough. We know protection against infection from the vaccines declines over time, so booster doses are critical for everyone who was vaccinated at least 6 months ago."
Public health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties as well as the City of Berkeley, agreed that everyone should get a booster shot when eligible, but particularly those over 50 or those with significant underlying health conditions.
As of Friday, 31.9 percent of eligible Contra Costa residents had received a booster, and approximately 246,000 residents 50 and older had yet to get their booster shot.
The Bay Area public health agencies said residents should get a booster if they are at least 16 years old and:
6 months have passed since their second dose of Moderna (for 18+)
6 months have passed since their second dose of Pfizer (for 16+)
2 months have passed since their Johnson & Johnson Dose (for 18+)
According to a joint statement from Public health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties. as well as the City of Berkeley:
Bay Area public health officials also said Friday that in addition to vaccinations and boosters, masking, testing, ventilation, and distancing remain an effective multi-layered defense against COVID-19.
"As the holiday season is upon us, people should stay mindful of risks and take steps to decrease them," the health officials said.
According to Bay Area health officials, if people must travel or gather for the holidays:
Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate themselves and get tested as soon as possible.
Get tested before gathering or traveling, upon return, and again 3-5 days later.
Have everyone ages 5+ get their COVID-19 vaccine and booster if eligible.
Take advantage of quick and easy home test kits available in pharmacies and stores.
Wear a mask indoors and in crowded settings.
Keep group gatherings small. Gather with close family units.
Outside gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.
Be particularly cautious around elderly or immunocompromised individuals and consider COVID-19 testing before such interactions.
"Parents of very young children and those who have not been vaccinated should make sure to take all advised precautions," Bay Area public health officials said. "Avoid large gatherings. Always wear a mask in indoor public settings (unless under age 2)."
Concord residents can visit Coronavirus.cchealth.org/get-vaccinated for more information or make an appointment at Contra Costa Health Services' no-cost vaccination clinics online or by calling 1-833-829-2626.
This article originally appeared on the Concord Patch