MedicalWe put the call out for your questions related to the coronavirus pandemic, and you’ve had plenty. We've received questions about how many people are currently hospitalized, what moving into Stage Two of reopening means for seniors, going to the dentist, and more. 

Here are a few answers to some of those recent submissions. We answer more each Tuesday night during our virtual coronavirus Town Hall with Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase. If you have a question, please submit it using the form at the right.

How many people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19? — Vicki, Michael and Bob

You can find updated data on COVID-19 hospitalizations by county on this California Department of Public Health dashboard.

The dashboard shows the number of hospitalizations reported each day in connection with the virus. Patients are listed in four categories: hospitalized patients who have tested positive for the virus, hospitalized patients suspected of having the virus due to exhibiting symptoms typically found in COVID-19, patients in intensive care who tested positive for the virus, and patients in intensive care suspected of having the virus.

In Sonoma County as of May 20, it shows four patients in the hospital positive with COVID-19 and 24 patients suspected of having COVID-19. Two positive patients are in the ICU, and two suspected COVID-19 patients are in the ICU.

We are now entering stage 2 but what does this mean for seniors? Are they still to be going out only for essential needs? —Anonymous

People aged 65 and older are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Therefore, they are strongly encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. 

In Sonoma County, there is nothing in the health order that prohibits seniors from leaving home to perform allowed activities. But the order says people at high risk “should make a reasonable effort to avoid leaving home by utilizing delivery services, telecommunications, or other means available.”

"I would advise anybody who's at higher risk to still comply and remain at home," Mase said during our Tuesday Town Hall.

When will it be safe to go to the dentist for non-emergency dental work? —Anonymous

Permitted dental care in Sonoma County has recently been expanded to include more non-emergency services, including things like cleanings and other preventative care.

On May 7, the California Department of Public Health sent new guidelines to dental offices as the state moved into Stage 2 of the state's reopening plan, including criteria for dental offices to reopen. These include local infection rates, personal protective equipment requirements, and COVID-19 screenings for patients, according to the California Dental Association.

Some dentists throughout California, therefore, have started reopening for preventative care with extra precautions. 

Keep an eye out at SoCoEmergency.org for additional changes to the local health order.

Do you have a coronavirus-related question? Submit it using the form at the right or at norcalpublicmedia.org/coronavirus. We answer questions weekly on our virtual Town Hall each Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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