steve and dr maseSonoma County has issued the following press release Friday afternoon, March 13

SANTA ROSA, CA – The Sonoma County Health Officer, out of an abundance of caution, has issued an Order canceling mass gatherings of 250 individuals or more to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the County.

This Order is based on evidence of increasing community transmission of COVID-19 worldwide, scientific evidence regarding the most effective approaches to slow COVID-19 specifically, as well as best practices to protect at-risk populations from COVID-19. This Order is in accordance with the Governor’s guidance issued on March 12, 2020.

[Image: Dr. Sundari Mase, the Interim Sonoma County Health Office appears on Northern California Public Media's March 11 broadcast: Coronavirus: What You Need to Know]

The Order also specifies that gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 must be limited to no more than 10 people, except for family gatherings. This includes gatherings such as those at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes, and support groups for people with health conditions.

Additionally, the Order specifies smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled. This includes gatherings in crowded auditoriums, rooms or other venues. This Order will be effective until it is rescinded by the County Health Officer or the State Health Officer.

This Order does not apply to activities such as attendance at regular school classes, work, courthouses, detention facilities, or essential services.

“Implementing these strategies that create social distance and reduce the close contact of people not regularly together, including limiting gatherings, has proven effective in prior pandemics at delaying rates of transmission and reducing illness from communicable disease,” said County Interim Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase.

What is a Gathering?

A “gathering” is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.

What this Means to You

·      Large gatherings that include 250 people or more must be postponed or canceled.

·      Gatherings for at-risk groups over 10 people must be cancelled or postponed, except for family gatherings.

·      Smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled.

·      This includes gatherings such as concerts, conferences, and professional, college, and school sporting events.

·      Smaller gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled.

·      This includes gatherings in crowded auditoriums, rooms or other venues.

·      In accordance with this Health Order, the Sonoma County Veterans Halls will be closed during this time for public meetings.

·      Activities such as attendance at regular school classes, work, courthouses, detention facilities, or essential services are exempt from this Order.

Health Order for Long Term Care Facilities Effective March 14, 2020

Effective at 12 a.m. on Saturday March 14, 2020, another Health Officer Order will be issued requiring long term care facilities to exclude unauthorized visitors and non-essential personnel from entry or access to their premises.

Unauthorized and non-essential personnel are employees, contractors and members of the public who do not perform treatment or other tasks essential to the health care mission of the facility. This includes family members, but does not include the Ombudsperson or first responders.

This Order will provide an opportunity for a resident or a visitor of the resident to seek clarification or object to the restriction to the facility followed by an opportunity to file a written objection to the Health Officer.

It also restricts non-essential movement of residents off the premises.

This Order will also require facilities to have a COVID-19 Plan to comply with federal and state guidance to prevent the spread of the disease within the facility.

State Resources

Guidance for Large Gatherings –

Guidance for at Risk Groups -

For the latest information about the coronavirus in Sonoma County and advice from health experts on prevention and care, call 2-1-1, text your zip code to 898-211 or visit www.socoemergency.orgUpdates and videos are also on the County of Sonoma Facebook page and twitter feed @countyofsonoma.

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