As COVID-19 restrictions ease up a bit this week with Yuba County joining Sutter County in the red tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy system, local officials say it is still very important for the community to continue practicing safety tenets.

“This is a cycle we’ve seen for the past year: our case counts improve, people relax on practicing the tenets, then we see those numbers rise again,” said Rachel Rosenbaum, media and community relations specialist for Yuba County. “With vaccine rollout, we are so close to the end so it’s important to continue doing our part to minimize the spread and avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths.”

These tenets – which include wearing a mask, social distancing and staying home when you are feeling sick – will continue into the foreseeable future, or until some level of herd immunity can be reached.

Rosenbaum said the pace at which the Yuba-Sutter community reaches herd immunity hinges on the willingness of more people to get vaccinated.

“We have seen a good number of residents get vaccinated, so far, but far more need to register and receive a vaccine before there are enough people within the bi-county area to tamp down the threat from this virus,” said Rosenbaum.

In an effort to make vaccinations more readily available to the community, eligibility was expanded to Yuba-Sutter residents 50 years of age and older last week.

“We hope this means Yuba-Sutter residents will sign up to get their vaccines and contribute to local herd immunity, which provides protection to the community as a whole,” said Rosenbaum. 

In addition to area residents 50 years and older, those currently eligible to receive a vaccine include health care workers; those working in childcare and education, the food and ag industry, and emergency services; those 18 years and older with underlying medical conditions; and individuals living or working in high-risk congregate settings such as detention facilities, homeless shelters, or behavioral health facilities, along with public transit workers.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were just over 20 slots available for the county-sponsored vaccination clinic at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds on Saturday. 

This will be the first time the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one dose, will be available at a county-sponsored mass vaccination clinic.

“Getting vaccinated is the only safe way through this pandemic,” said Rosenbaum. “Remember, you are not fully protected until two weeks after your second dose if it is Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after your one-dose Johnson & Johnson.”

Individuals can receive the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine 24 days after their first dose, so Rosenbaum encourages those that need a second dose to sign up as soon as possible.

“The clinics are quick and efficient from start to finish, including the 15-minute observation period post-shot,” said Rosenbaum. “You should only be there 30 minutes at the most.” 

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Yuba-Sutter area increased by 23 on Wednesday, and there are currently 118 open cases.

Thirteen people were hospitalized as of Wednesday evening, while 17 virus cases closed. 

To date, 142 Yuba-Sutter deaths have been attributed to COVID-19.

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