Health officer strongly recommends face masks as COVID cases rise in Davis – Davis Enterprise

Yolo County’s health officer is strongly recommending that everyone wear masks in indoor public settings as COVID-19 transmission increases in Davis and throughout the county.

Masks are recommended but not required, including indoors on K-12 school campuses in Davis as well as on the UC Davis campus.

The rise in cases is being attributed not just to the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron but also to its own sub-variant, BA.2.12.1, which is estimated to be 30 percent more infectious. The latter was first detected in Yolo County on the UC Davis Campus in late March and now accounts for nearly half of campus cases, according to the county.

Thanks to the UC Davis Genome Center, which types all positive COVID-19 samples collected on campus and by Healthy Davis Together, Yolo County has a better sense of what variants are circulating than many other counties.

Additionally, testing wastewater for COVID-19, as UC Davis does, provides an indication of viral levels in the city and on campus as overall PCR testing declines. Wastewater levels have been increasing along with cases and test positivity.

Dr. Aimee Sisson. Courtesy photo

That data, according to Dr. Aimee Sisson, “show that COVID-19 is spreading in Yolo County, especially in Davis.”

“Yolo residents are encouraged to take additional precautions to guard against infection,” Sisson said. “I strongly recommend masking indoors with a high-quality mask and getting tested if you have symptoms, have a known exposure or recently participated in a large gathering like Picnic Day.”

“If you are eligible for a booster, now is a good time to get that booster — do not wait,” Sisson added.

Everyone ages five years and up is eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, with persons 12 and older eligible for boosters. Additionally, second boosters are now available to anyone over 50 years old or immunocompromised, and those who are over 65 years old or have underlying conditions are encouraged to get boosted as soon as possible.

The county’s Door Vax program will deliver free mobile vaccinations and booster doses to any individual in Yolo County by calling 530-902-3230.

Meanwhile, those who test positive and are at higher risk of serious infection should contact their healthcare providers quickly to access treatments like the oral antiviral Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of infection from COVID-19, according to the county.

Individuals who have symptoms and test negative using a rapid antigen test should stay home and test again in one to two days because Omicron subvariants may not be detected until later in the infection period.

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The percentage of isolation and quarantine beds in use on the UC Davis campus increased this week to nearly 20 percent after being well below that in recent weeks.

Over the last seven days, 175 people on the campus have tested positive for COVID-19, more than 40 percent of all positive cases detected in the last month.

Countywide, 106 new cases were reported since Friday and the case rate remains double what it was just a week ago at 7 cases per 100,000 residents.

Of California’s 58 counties, 16 have higher case rates than Yolo, including all of the Bay Area as well as Solano County.

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Cases among students and staff in the Davis Joint Unified School District continue to grow, with 15 staff members and 81 students testing positive so far in April.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy.

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