RohishLal

We put the call out for your questions related to the coronavirus pandemic, and you’ve asked about where you can find ongoing information, how the recent protests will affect COVID-19 case counts, access to testing and more.

Here’s what we learned from the experts during our June 2 Town Hall. Even though this was our last scheduled live Town Hall program, we will continue to cover the pandemic. Find more information below. 

Last week you announced this would be the last town hall meeting. It's been very informative. Why are you stopping? Where can we get info?  

Although Tuesday’s Town Hall was our last scheduled program, we will still be covering the coronavirus pandemic in our radio and TV news reports and online at NorCalPublicMedia.org. (Currently, we do daily coronavirus updates at 9:00 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. )

After 13 weeks, we felt that our weekly live TV program had run its course and we will be reassessing how we can best share information, including in smaller bites on social media. 

This particular moment has reinforced the idea that the November, 2020 elections will be critical as we move collectively to choose our leaders both locally and nationally. We are going to be expending our resources to follow the issues that are important to our community, beginning with a “just recovery” from the pandemic. We’ll be paying special attention to the fact that COVID-19 cases are far more prevalent in the Latinx community than in other local groups.

Let us know how you want us to communicate ongoing coronavirus news by using the submission form to the right and marking "Future coronavirus coverage" for the question category. 

Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase also provides updates daily at 3:30 p.m. on Facebook live on the county’s page.

You can continue to submit questions at norcalpublicmedia.org/coronavirus, and we will keep using them to inform the direction of our reporting. When possible, we will answer them directly, and we even have hopes of involving some of you in our reporting. 

How will public health trace contacts for those at a protest?

Sonoma County Public Information Officer Rohish Lal says the public health department acknowledges people’s right to protest, and if a protester does end up testing positive for COVID-19, they will conduct contact tracing as they would in any other case, to the best of their abilities.

He advises protesters to wear facial coverings, maintain physical distancing of six feet when possible, keep their hands clean and avoid touching their face.

What advice is there for testing for someone 65 and older, asymptomatic, with underlying conditions? And why are there no tests available outside the 101 corridor? 

The county says that testing is a critical step in reopening which allows public health officials to identify and increase their understanding of community transmission. They want a broad sample of results from people with or without symptoms. 

Dr. Mase has said you don’t typically need to get retested after an initial COVID-19 test.

“I think people need baseline testing, and then if they become symptomatic or if they’ve had an exposure to someone with COVID, then they should be retested,” she said.

If you go out to get tested, follow the same social distancing and hygiene protocols as you would at any other time. 

Tests for asymptomatic members of the general public are available only in Petaluma and Santa Rosa, where most cases are concentrated. You can register to be tested here: https://lhi.care/covidtesting

By design, testing is most available in population centers in the county, but community health clinics throughout the county are taking the lead in making sure that everyone who needs a test gets one.

Watch Tuesday's Town Hall program here:

Do you have a coronavirus-related question? Submit it using the form at the right or at norcalpublicmedia.org/coronavirus.

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