Supervisors Approve Suite of Measures, Up to $15.9 Million to Stem COVID-19 Community Spread

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Sonoma County supervisors gave their blessing on Tuesday to a $16 million suite of new actions that local health officials hope will interrupt the spread of COVID-19 across Sonoma County.  The first $4 million in federal CARES Act funding will be spent by the end of the year, with about $12 million more expected to be allocated to continue the programs through June of 2021.

The measures announced earlier this week draw from successful programs underway elsewhere across the Bay Area.   They include more pop-up testing locations that draw residents from heavily impacted communities, financial help for those who test positive but cannot afford to safely isolate, incentives like gift cards offered at testing sites, and expanded programs of education and marketing outreach to encourage individuals in impacted communities to test and isolate, if needed.

Based on similar programs in other California counties, local officials expect the number of those tested to increase by 50-75%.

One key aspect of the new approach includes working with an existing program already active in the Latinx and indigenous called On the Move to reach out more aggressively to provide information, testing, and financial assistance where necessary.  The county will also launch an expanded education campaign through social media, radio and other platforms to reach more people in the Latinx and indigenous communities and encourage them to come in for testing.

This includes providing incentive gift cards to encourage testing, and financial support of up to 1200 dollars to replace lost wages for those in low income areas who need to isolate for a two week period.  The county is planning to rent additional hotel space for those who want to isolate close to home, and offer gift cards for those who will isolate at the existing Alternate Care Site.

Other actions will include partnering with businesses to offer more on-site testing of employees.

All of this comes as Sonoma County struggles to move from the state’s most restrictive Purple Tier, to the less restrictive Red Tier.  County data shows that although the overall coronavirus positivity rate in the county stands at 5.1%, the rate in economically disadvantaged communities is currently 7.5%.

According to the county, issues among workers in these areas typically include an inability to take time off work for financial reasons, shared transportation, shared housing, and lack of job security.  Health officials say all of these issues contribute to the higher rate of testing positivity and coronavirus impacts within these communities.

Here are the new pop-up testing locations provided by Sonoma County.  Although opened this week, these sites will operate on the same schedule in the coming weeks.

  • Tuesday October 20th, Andy’s Unity Park, 3399 Moorland Ave., Santa Rosa, from 1:30PM to 4PM
  • Wednesday October 21st, Healdsburg Day Labor Center, 405 Grove St., Healdsburg, from 9AM to 11:30AM
  • Thursday October 22nd, Roseland Library, 779 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, from 1:30PM to 4PM
  • Friday October 23rd, Rohnert Park Library, 6250 Lynne Conde Way, Rohnert Park, from 9AM to 11:30AM


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