Sonoma County Health Department outlines new reduced COVID response

Rivera said the coronavirus has entered an “endemic phase.” Although still present, it can be managed without emergency intervention, she said.

Kaplan said the budget available for the county‘s infection control and COVID-19 immunization programs is currently $5 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1. in the prior fiscal year, officials said.

Under the plan, the county will move workers to other departments and cut vaccination services, among other changes.

“Our response will evolve and we need to refine our focus,” Kaplan said. “We can’t keep trying to be everything to everyone.”

Departure of key infantry

No one at DHS, including health officer Dr. Sundari Mase, is claiming the pandemic is over. But for weeks, officials have pointed out that the current COVID-19 surge is very different from previous surges, where spikes in cases were typically followed by a significant increase in COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths.

“It’s no surprise that some jobs aren’t continuing now that we’re in an endemic phase,” Supervisory Board Chairman James Gore said. “If anything changes and we need to increase federal and state funding, then we will.”

Officials said of the 60 temporary health workers, 41 will remain after June 30. We don’t know for how long.

This week, Fox Home Health learned that it will continue to be involved and that the Roseland County-supported clinic will remain operational. This allowed Cheryl Fox to breathe a sigh of relief on behalf of the community she serves.

“Now is the time to reach out to the unserved or underserved within our community,” Fox said. “Curbing because it looks like an endemic, now is not the time to cut back on these services.”

Another nonprofit that has helped the county’s equity campaign, Project CURA, appears more vulnerable.

CURA, which received $10 million through DHS to connect Latino, Indigenous and low-income residents to financial assistance and COVID services, will now work with the Department of Social Services rather than health services. health, and should get “a little less” to work with, Rivera said.

“It’s not the amount to come,” she explained. “And that’s not the request.

Sawicki and Planning Section Chief Timmy Jeng, two key leaders in the county’s COVID-19 campaign, will remain in place for the short term, they learned just days ago. Both are contract workers, and these contracts have been extended for three months.

But many of those in COVID-related roles will leave on July 1. Perhaps most notable is Dr. Urmila Shende, who was hired as the county’s vaccine chief just weeks into the vaccination campaign.

Rivera said she wouldn’t call Shende’s departure “a casualty,” but rather part of the county’s transition to rampant response. Still, she acknowledged the huge role the pediatrician has played in keeping this county safe from the coronavirus.

Some of the temporary relocated workers worked directly with the vaccination clinics and had expertise that will be difficult to replicate, insist people familiar with those roles.

“I joke that it’s like planning a mini wedding,” said Diane Kopes, whose DHS work in pre-planning vaccination clinics will end on June 30.

“You need providers, you need infrastructure for rows and tables and all that,” she said. “You need relationships with community organizations and with medical providers. You also need to build relationships with the people who control the spaces where you set up clinics.

Kaplan acknowledged that “a lot will fall on our healthcare partners” after this transition. Kopes isn’t convinced suppliers are ready for it.

“My doctor’s office is a family practice, so they have kids coming in and they don’t have refrigeration capacity to handle vaccines in their office,” she said.

“They can’t even take possession of the vaccine at this point. All of these steps are much more complex than the average person realizes. You would think that officials in the health services department would have tried to figure this out sooner. »

You can reach Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or [email protected] On Twitter @Skinny_Post. You can reach Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or [email protected] On Twitter @pressreno.

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