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Sonoma County Gazette

Health and Well Being

Staying healthy is a high priority for many. Here in Sonoma County we have plenty of fresh air, opportunities to exercise, and health pracitioners in a broad range of modalities. If you have information you want to share with our readers, please send us your articles.

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2020-07-17Jul 17, 2020

The new guidance provides clarity that distance learning should be the immediate course of action in any county that is on the state watch list and allows other districts to make those decisions in accordance with local health department officials. Safe school reopening, quality distance learning and equity for our communities requires funding. Many local districts don’t have the necessary resources or capacity to maintain even the most basic prevention measures of six feet physical distancing and limiting contacts, personal protective equipment (PPE), or adequate ventilation and cleaning supplies. In addition, studies show that 30 percent of K-12 students still do not have access to the internet or computers. CTA asks Governor Newsom to join them in supporting Proposition 15 to ensure large corporations pay their fair share of taxes to restore $12 billion to our schools and communities.

2020-06-27Jun 27, 2020

Out of an abundance of caution, Friday morning (June 26th) Caution Advisory signs for HABs were posted along the Salmon Creek lagoon in Bodega Bay. As the summer season progresses, advisory signs will be posted in other freshwater recreational areas and remind the community to heed the advisory message if they see these signs.  The Caution Advisory recommendations include staying away from algae and scum in the water, preventing pets and other animals from going into the water, and keeping children away from algae in the water or accumulated along the shore. Read more find out about thd real dangers to people and pets...

2020-06-24Jun 24, 2020

On Nov. 22, 2016, a Citizens’ Petition was presented to the Environmental Protection Abency (EPA) under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Petition requested EPA “to protect the public and susceptible subpopulations from the neurotoxic risks of fluoride by banning the addition of fluoridation chemicals to water". In 2017, after EPA denied the Citizen Petition, a suit was filed in federal court in San Francisco, as allowed under TSCA.  The trial began Monday June 8, 2020, and was scheduled to conclude Friday June 19, 2020. For the first time in its 44-year history citizens reached the trial stage of a lawsuit under TSCA. After final arguments concluded on Thursday June 18th, Judge Edward M. Chen (the Court) made a surprise proposal that he defer judgement, while EPA and the plaintiffs discuss a solution that will satisfy both.

2020-06-22Jun 22, 2020

As the manager of several organic urban farms for a nonprofit organization that feeds our food-insecure neighbors for free, and employs homeless individuals, I can attest to the travesty that can occur when accountability ceases due to closures of the justice system, such as the probation department. For one of our most reliable and hardest-working employees, this situation began the unraveling of her meticulously constructed recovery program and contributed to her spiraling very rapidly into a black hole of despair, relapse, homelessness, arrest and a loss of faith and face.

2020-06-21Jun 21, 2020

As residents head outside, mosquito experts encourage community members to protect themselves from mosquitoes and the diseases they can spread. West Nile virus is the most prevalent mosquitoborne disease in the U.S. according to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no human vaccine for West Nile virus, a disease that can cause debilitating cases of meningitis, encephalitis, and even death. West Nile virus isn’t the only mosquito-borne threat, newly established invasive Aedes mosquitoes can transmit viruses such as chikungunya, dengue, and Zika, all of which are costly to treat and can have long-term health and financial consequences. Check out how you can protect yourself and your home.

2020-06-15Jun 15, 2020

Community-wide testing is a critical step toward re-opening the County and allows our health officials to identify and increase our understanding of COVID-19 community transmission. This includes collecting a broad sample of results from people with or without symptoms. We know that upwards of 40% of people who test positive experience no symptoms (asymptomatic), but are still spreading the disease. Those who are tested will be assessed for the need to quarantine.   Only those individuals with a temperature and flu-like symptoms will be required to quarantine   while they await test results.  The County of Sonoma is offering temporary residence at the Sonoma State University Dormitories for people who need to self-isolate or quarantine, and do not have a way to do that safely at home. Free meals, private room with bathroom and outside area to exercise. 

2020-06-13Jun 13, 2020

The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), in collaboration with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services and a committee of regional superintendents, is releasing a document of guiding principles and planning considerations that schools and districts should consider when making plans for opening the 2020-2021 school year. It is important to note each district is responsible for creating its own reopening plan. Also included is images, a video and link from the World Economic Forum of what other countries are doing in their schools after lockdown.

2020-06-07Jun 7, 2020

On May 8, 2020 the court denied an EPA request to exclude the testimony of 3 international experts, clearing them to testify on the neurotoxic risks of community water fluoridation in a federal court trial in San Francisco beginning 6/8/2020. Those 3 experts on neurotoxicity are Dr. Philippe Grandjean of Harvard and the U. of Southern Denmark, Dr. Howard Hu of the U. of Washington, and Dr. Bruce Lanphear of Simon Fraser U. in British Columbia.  Read more on the background of this case and watch some informative videos.

2020-06-05Jun 5, 2020

Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections. Antibody tests, check your blood by looking for antibodies, which show if you had a previous infection with the virus. Depending on when someone was infected and the timing of the test, the test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection. It’s unclear if those antibodies can provide protection (immunity) against getting infected again. This means that we do not know at this time if antibodies make you immune to the virus. CDC is looking at data from antibody tests to estimate the total number of people who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the United States. CDC is also using antibody testing to learn more about how the body’s immune system responds to the virus and to explore how the virus spreads among people exposed to it. 

2020-06-04Jun 4, 2020

We need to follow the simple rules so we don't force the hand of the County to close the beaches once again.  Because this public health emergency is continuing into the future and the general shelter-in-place order is still in effect, we are asked to continue limiting our activities and our exposure to others. Read on for some specific guidelines for visiting Sonoma Coast beaches – and all of our Regional Parks.

2020-06-02Jun 2, 2020

Due to the incidents of violence and vandalism that occurred over the weekend in Santa Rosa, to keep our community safe, City Manager Sean McGlynn, in consultation with Police Chief Rainer Navarro, has implemented a citywide curfew effective Monday, June 1, 2020, at 8 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. each evening until Thursday, June 4, 2020, at 5:00 a.m.See who is exempt and link the to full order and access the Traffic Closure Map / Mapa de cierre del tráfico .

2020-07-12Jul 12, 2020

The current data reflect that community spread of infection is of increasing concern across the state, and most particularly in those counties on the County Monitoring List, which includes Sonoma County. Therefore the State Public health officer has ordered  Bars, pubs, breweries, brewpubs, dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, and cardrooms will be closed to indoor services. All other Orders, Guidance, and Directives, including but not limited to the State Public health officer's guidance mandating the wearing of face coverings and maintaining social distancing of at least 6 ft, and the guidance prohibiting all gatherings, continue to apply to Sonoma County

2020-06-01Jun 1, 2020

Beaches reopen .New Health Order  Expands Parks Access Coastal Beaches, Parking Areas To Reopen. The order means residents can drive to Sonoma Coast parks and trails beginning Wednesday, June 3, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Please do all you can to follow the rules of social distancing , carrying a mask and being willing to got to another beach if social distancing is a challenge. We do not want the county to close the beaches once again because of the health risk of not being diligent about the advisories. read more and watch a video by dr Anthony Fauchi explain Social distancing and why we do it as well as a video by medical professionals on how to wear a mask correctly and how it is protective.

2020-05-31May 31, 2020

As we start to open up our society again after the long shelter-in-place, let us take a moment to pause. Are we going back to life as we knew it or can we rebuild our schedules with the best outcomes of the shelter in place orders. For example, a picnic basket implies that you are going to go to the beach together (and with the kids!) instead of work or the ball game. There is the expectation of a day in the park, the plaza, or out wine tasting, maybe with friends, a glorious sunset toast, or perhaps a short walk to a quiet hollow by a creek together.

2020-05-31May 31, 2020

The county will convene a Sonoma County Economic Recovery Taskforce (SCERT) focused on shifting our County from a broad, stay-at-home model that is based on essential/non-essential activity, to a risk-based model that weighs all available data. The Board of Supervisors, Department of Health Services and Economic Development Board has begun this work. The Board of Supervisors and the Public Health Officer have been clear that the goal is to align Sonoma County’s Shelter in Place Order with State Guidelines – in content and timeline. Last week, Sonoma County experienced a surge in COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations that delayed that process.  This is a new week, and brings us the renewed opportunity to transition towards a risk-based approach.

2020-05-30May 30, 2020

Because the Sheriff’s position is at odds with other law enforcement agencies and creates unnecessary inconsistent messages throughout the county, I feel compelled to remind the public that ultimately the decision to file criminal charges lies with the office of the District Attorney. I am trained in law not science, and will rely upon the experts to navigate a safe path forward for us through this time. Thus, I will work with other law enforcement and community leaders to educate, and where necessary, enforce the orders issued by our Public Health Officer. 

2020-05-27May 27, 2020

From Lynda Hopkins :  "Once again, we are proud to see the strength and resilience of our West County communities as there are so many acts of kindness and creative steps forward taking place. Yesterday, as I was in Guerneville, I saw the Russian River Alliance going to laid off worker homes to deliver food cards purchased from local donations as well as a grant from our TIF Funds. West County Community Services has housed more unsheltered community members at the alternative care site in SSU, we've heard from a nationally renowned artist looking at donating a piece of art to the town, and one of our local youths is working on organizing a drive-in movie night. I am so grateful for these and many other positive lights in our community that uplift us all". And as the Health Order is modified to its 3rd itiration, there is some good news for restaurant owners and us as well!  The County has met the State’s COVID-19 Resilience Roadmap criteria for accelerating the opening of lower-risk businesses and public space, but please read more to be aware of the rules and precautions allmust take for health safety. 

2020-05-23May 23, 2020

Without a Psychiatric Healing Facility (PHF), the County currently cannot meet demand for psychiatric inpatient hospitalization. There simply are not enough beds in the area for the amount of persons needing acute care,” said Department of Heath Services Director Barbie Robinson. The PHF will be operated by Crestwood Behavioral Health, which is an accredited, Sacramento-based healthcare provider, in operation for over 50 years. This program will provide important support as individuals continue their recovery from mental illness.  Recovery is integrated into all of the levels of care. Read more about the recovery oriented services and support.

2020-05-22May 22, 2020

It is an important step that the county is coming to the Graton Day Labor Center to provide testing for its members. Day Laborers and domestic workers are a vulnerable and underserved population in Sonoma County.  Mostly undocumented and Spanish speaking, they do the work that makes all work possible. Throughout the county they clean homes, care for children and elders, maintain rural and urban properties, work in the fields, assist homeowners with moving, and do back breaking construction labor. 

2020-05-22May 22, 2020

Shrubs, also known as “drinking vinegars,” are swiftly gaining in popularity in high-end bars as a base for fancy drinks or just mixed with a club soda or sparkling water. You can also just have them for a healthy and natural pick-me-up which is what I do with a spoonful most afternoons. Shrubs are a mix of vinegar, fruits, sugars and often an herb or some kind of tasty flavor. When they are in balance they carry savory, tart, sweet and complex tones that run across the palette with stronger flavors than the most brilliant local wine, but without the alcohol.

2020-05-20May 20, 2020

All Sonoma County residents are invited to sign up for Sonoma County Library’s 2020 Summer Reading Program for a summer of exploration, learning and fun. Readers can also work together to reach an audacious goal, of reading 2 million minutes, county wide, this summer. The 2020 Summer Reading Challenge runs from June 1 through August 8. “We have set a goal for Sonoma County to read 2 million minutes during the course of the summer reading program, and we are asking each participant to read at least 960 minutes during that time. It only takes 20 minutes a day this summer to surpass your 960-minute goal,” said Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond. The library’s summer reading program will be mostly online, but reading takes place in person, in the real world. “It starts with a book in your lap. Check it out there is no age limit.

2020-05-15May 15, 2020

Sonoma County encourages anyone who suspects exposure to someone with COVID-19 to get a test (in addition to all those with symptoms). If you are working or planning to return to work soon, please come get tested. If you are worried about getting someone in your house sick, come get tested. If you have symptoms that concern you, like cough or fever, come get tested. Even if you don’t have symptoms, it is still possible to spread coronavirus to others. Community-wide testing is a critical step toward re-opening the County and allows us to identify and increase our understanding of COVID-19 community spread. This includes collecting a broad sample of results from people with or without symptoms. We know that upwards of 40% of people who test positive experience no symptoms (asymptomatic), but can still spread the disease.  You do not need health insurance or id. 

2020-07-10Jul 10, 2020

Due to sharp increases in new coronavirus infections since early June, Sonoma County was added to the state monitoring list on friday july 10. Our County will be subject to new restrictions as part of statewide actions designed to slow the spread of coronavirus. The restrictions would start as soon as  Monday, July 13, 2020 and would be in place until the state takes further action, which  would be no earlier than July 22, 2020.


2020-05-15May 15, 2020

At the beginning of the pandemic, we chose to increase communications to bi-weekly emails to ensure everyone stayed up-to-date with available resources. We are now moving back to one email per week, likely on Mondays, so keep a look out. We will, of course, continue to update our website regularly. We add new resources, updates, and we will update the new ongoing Zoom Class Schedule. 
Our COVID-19 information tab on our website is always updated. check out the Zoom video turorial or regisdter for a virtual help class with the center. Or do both!

2020-05-13May 13, 2020

A temporary, managed, parking lot site to help individuals experiencing homelessness achieve safe social distancing amid COVID-19, is underway,as directed by State and County health officials’ guidance. Mayor Tom Schwedhelm along with City staff representing Police, Fire, Transportation & Public Works, and Housing & Community Services, as well asa Catholic Charities (the contracted service provider) will all be available during the meeting to provide program information and answer questions about the management of the site. On other news City Park Amenities are to Reopen and The Sonoma County Economic Development Board has partnered with local business sectors and the Sonoma County Department of Health Services to develop SoCo Launch, an online portal featuring all of the resources needed to safely and successfully re-open businesses. 

2020-05-11May 11, 2020

A safe social distancing site behind the Finley Center is now underway for our unshelterd community members. Previous actions have been taken by the City to first place those sheltered and unsheltered individuals at the greatest risk of susceptibility to COVID-19 in hotel rooms. Based on national best practice, strict safety protocols have been implemented in all City-sponsored homeless service operations. In coordination with the County of Sonoma, portable toilets and hand-washing stations were placed at or near known encampments within the City to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The City also placed debris containers near these encampments and provided face masks to individuals living in encampments. This new site is the next phase of addresing the covid-19 crisis and unsheltered individuals. The plan is explored in all its ramifications via FAQs.

2020-05-08May 8, 2020

The Health Officer Amendment allows additional lesser-risk businesses to open based on a risk-assessment approach and implements Governor Newsom’s plan in Sonoma County.  Governor Newsom emphasized in his announcement that “this is not a return to normal and that the virus is still spreading” but that we can gradually reopen as “science, data and public health dictate. As we move into the next stage of reopening, we will do so with updated guidance to help qualifying businesses make modifications needed to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure to customers and workers.” To go further into Stage Two, Newsom set out a set of criteria which a County must meet before allowing additional businesses to reopen.

2020-05-05May 5, 2020

Sonoma County Increases COVID-19 Testing with Two New Community Testing Sites. Two sites established as part of a partnership between California and OptumServe

2020-05-03May 3, 2020

The County has recently received a significant number of swabs critical for testing and is eager to expand its testing capability for COVID-19. To begin, testing will only be available for health care workers with or without symptoms who are encouraged to call and make an appointment at (707) 565-4667.  A health care worker is defined, as any individual employed at a health care facility whose job duties put them in contact with patients regularly. Beginning on Saturday April 25 and continuing for several weeks, the Department of Health Services (DHS) Disease Control Unit will start testing health care workers.

2020-05-01May 1, 2020

Santa Rosa Farmers Market updates for May 2 and May 6! Just a reminder that we are still obligated to have our markets maintain low numbers in the aisles, keep up our best social distancing practices, wear masks and wash our handswhenever we have come into contact with contaminants or touching points, bring small bottle of hand sanitizer with you and use often. Do not wear gloves they only spread contamitants or if you do wear gloves treat them like its your hand and sanitize them. If you find yourself in a line at the market please be aware of the aisle and do your best to move the line away from the aisle whenever possible. Together we can beat COVID-19 and keep our farmers' market open for our community. 

2020-04-30Apr 30, 2020

The pandemic has laid bare the deficiencies in America’s main vehicle for providing health insurance. How will laid off middle-income workers be able to pay for insurance premiums on their own let alone the deductibles, coinsurance, and copays that come with policies these days? Many cannot. Still if you are in this predicament or know someone who is, this column lays out the main options available. A warning: All have drawbacks.

2020-04-27Apr 27, 2020

News Alert: The Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications starting Monday, April 27  from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower.  This will ensure that SBA has properly coded the system to account for changes made by the legislation. The PPP has supported more than 1.66 million small businesses and protected over 30 million jobs for hardworking Americans.  With the additional funds appropriated by Congress, tens of millions of additional workers will benefit from this critical relief. Read more 

2020-04-23Apr 23, 2020

During this challenging time there are many services available for our most vulnerable populations; our Senior Citizens and those with Immune-Compromised Health. Below are resources for: Grocery Stores - Meal Services - Pharmacies - Transporation - Caregivers - Legal Aid & More. This resource list will be updated regularly.  If you have information to share that is not included in this resource, please email 

2020-07-09Jul 9, 2020

The Groundwater Sustainability Workshops being held in July 15– july 29  will provide an opportunity for well owners, farmers and others in Petaluma Valley, Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa Plain to learn about groundwater in these basins and to help define local, sustainable groundwater management. Community workshops help the County get ideas and feedback from those who have wells in the basin and who rely on groundwater for their livelihood. 

2020-04-23Apr 23, 2020

Fill a bag with non-perishable food (no glass containers please). Drive your donations to the front horseshoe of Sonoma City Hall in the Sonoma Plaza. Stay in your car, and drive-thru to drop off your donation. The most needed items include tuna and canned meat, peanut butt er, canned soups & stews, rice and dry beans, cereal, canned fruits & veggies and Protein Bars. If you are unable to make a drive-thru donation, REFB is also holding a Virtual Food Drive and requesting donations. For every $1 donated, REFB distributes $4 of healthy food.

2020-04-22Apr 22, 2020

County of Sonoma Launches Warm Line for Emotional and Mental Health Support. Beginning on Thursday April 23, a local warm line will be available to support community experiencing emotional stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.The warm line is available to any County resident experiencing emotional side effects of the pandemic and/or the shelter in place order, or knows somebody who is. Service in Spanish is also available as well as telephone interpretation for other languages.

2020-04-21Apr 21, 2020

Sonoma County Community Health Centers are dedicated to providing outstanding health care to everyone – whoever they are, whatever is going on with them, including their ability to pay. Right now, we are waiving our sliding scale fees for those who are uninsured, knowing the financial challenge so many people are facing. It’s also important to remind the community that we don’t ask about immigration status and don’t report any info like that. Our mission is to get people the care they need so they can be healthy. At the national level they have also issued exceptions to the current public-charge rule to support people getting care and it not being a barrier to any public-charge determination.

2020-04-20Apr 20, 2020

Sonoma County Library invites community members to document history. Once the crisis is resolved and it is safe to bring items to the library, residents will be invited to bring in journals, photos, drawings, letters, scrapbooks and other two-dimensional physical documents that tell the story of life in Sonoma County during this time.

2020-04-20Apr 20, 2020

Our work is important. We are competing to serve, and advocate for, a population that doesn’t always receive the respect it has earned. We do need help during time as our usual events for funds are posponed. There are many ways to give. We provide Meals on wheels, see our PU locations and Menus and learn about our social support services.

2020-04-17Apr 17, 2020

Santa Rosa Community Farmers' Market, now has online or email ordering and curb side pick up. If you visit the Market please remember face masks are now required. Keep everyone safe wear your mask, and do not touch any produce or other items.Both Santa Rosa Markets will be located at Farmers Lane Plaza until further notice. Each week in this new normal we seem to get a little better at adapting to our social distancing protocols. Market staff will be widening the aisles (again) and moving some popular vendors to new locations in order to keep lines away from the aisles. 

2020-04-15Apr 15, 2020

Modeling data shows that sheltering in place, social and physical distancing, and other measures are flattening the curve in Sonoma County. Even though we’ve been at this for some time now, we ask that you don’t let up yet. Continue to stay home, practice physical distancing and wear a face covering when you leave your house to run essential errands (get in and get out!), and wash your hands frequently. Stay home. Slow the spread. Save lives.  Donations are needed for masks, gloves, face shields and other protective equipment for healthcare workers.  


2020-04-14Apr 14, 2020

Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis there has been a significant increase in the need for bread to feed our community.  The demand continues to rise. The bakery is committing to make 15,000 loaves of bread per month to support the work of the Redwood Empire Food Bank and Sonoma Family Meals. The bakery has committed to the first 2,500 loaves of bread and is now seeking others to help.   For each loaf purchased, Costeaux will match that with another loaf of bread.  You can support this initiative with a $5 dollar contribution for a loaf which will be matched by Costeaux.  There’s opportunity in volume as well.  A $20 contribution buys five loaves and $100 contribution buys 30 loaves all of which will be matched by Costeaux. To support the Knead Program or direct donations can be sent to Redwood Empire Food Bank ( ) or Sonoma Family Meal ( ). 


2020-04-13Apr 13, 2020

The County Health Officer issued a new health order requiring everyone to wear face coverings starting on April 17 at 12:01 AM.  Generally, the Health Order requires people to wear face coverings in public. COVID-19 can easily spread between persons who are in close contact with one another. This Order is based on scientific evidence and best practices as currently known from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of California, and the Sonoma County Health Officer. This Order is intended to protect vulnerable members of the public from avoidable risk of serious illness or death resulting from exposure to COVID-19. 

2020-04-13Apr 13, 2020

Due to the current health order to Shelter in Place, the City of Santa Rosa is initiating a number of new ways for members of our community to participate in upcoming City Council Meetings while still honoring the Shelter in Place order and social distancing.

2020-07-08Jul 8, 2020

The California Coastal Commission will consider whether or not the Farallones Poison Drop is consistent with California’s federally-approved Coastal Plan, at the upcoming November 2020 virtual online meeting.  The Coastal Commission has a unique and decisive role to play in protecting our coastal wildlife, and Commissioners listen carefully to the public. We need Public input: This free webinar, on July 14 at 1 pm Pacific, 4 pm Eastern, will fill in the details about this controversial proposal, the pending decision, the harmless alternatives, and the precedent-setting implications for marine protected areas everywhere.

2020-04-10Apr 10, 2020

The new Blanket Orders replace the prior individual orders and apply to all persons with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 in Sonoma County and their close contacts. With the Blanket Orders in place, healthcare providers and testifying facilities are requested to issue Blanket Isolation Orders to anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19. Individuals who become subject to an isolation order are required to tell their close contacts that they need to quarantine themselves, subject to the Blanket Quarantine Order.

2020-04-10Apr 10, 2020

While the Human Services Department 's (HSD)doors are temporarily closed and some of our services are reduced,  we are still here to help you and your family. The COVID-19 crisis presents new and unprecedented challenges, and we know a lot of community members have questions about how COVID-19 may impact public benefits such as CalFresh, General Assistance, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Medi-Cal, and SonomaWORKS. 

2020-04-08Apr 8, 2020

The County has been working with health care providers and partners to identify the types of patients and facilities needed to support specific populations that otherwise would seek care at their facilities. SSU was selected after County staff evaluated a number of sites.Additionally, Gov. Gavin Newsom has allowed jurisdictions to use State-owned properties as an ACS, which meant SSU could be used for this purpose.

2020-04-08Apr 8, 2020
2020-04-05Apr 5, 2020

SoCo United In Crisis Members: 

North Bay Jobs with Justice , North Bay Organizing Project , North Bay Labor Council,National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW),  Graton Day Labor Center, Alianza Laboral de Mujeres Activas y Solidarias (ALMAS) ,Sonoma County Tenants Union ,Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1021, Comité VIDA and the Sunrise Movement have formed a coalitions and are meeting with elected officials to ask for paid sick leave, job protections for laid off workers, protective gear for essential and healthcare workers, and covered medical costs for farm workers exposed to illness. 

2020-04-05Apr 5, 2020

We have put together some tips to help everyone in the community shop smart, stay healthy, save money, and reduce waste. With the current COVID-19 public health crisis, many people are panic-buying food and other items in bulk. Try to resist this urge, and instead, grocery shop once a week at most and only buy what you and your family can eat in that time. Not only will this minimize your exposure to others who may be sick, but it also leaves enough food for everyone, minimizes food loss, and allows stores to keep up with demand.  

2020-04-01Apr 1, 2020

The Federal government is working now on the next stimulus bill. This is a good time to be telling your Federal representatives what you want to see in that bill. Congressman Mike Thompson will be holding a FB Live Town Hall on April 2 from 7-8pm. Information here. My next scheduled live FB fireplace chat will be Thursday at 8:30 and then Sunday at the same time on my public facebook page here. I'm answering some Frequently Asked Questions in thsi briefing.

2020-03-31Mar 31, 2020

We must recognize that while we are all taking difficult steps to protect our community members who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, a prolonged shelter-in-place order creates NEW vulnerabilities in other members of our community. For those workers and businesses who are classified as non-essential, this news is especially difficult. Those of us who are still able to work must do our best to support others. Can you donate to a local non-profit? or volunteer to deliver essentials?

2020-03-27Mar 27, 2020

The federal relief package recently approved to address the pandemic does provide 10 paid sick days. But, the federal legislation includes gigantic loopholes. Companies with more than 500 workers (McDonald’s, Marriott, Exon, Chase Manhattan, and Wal-Mart) are exempted — and firms with less than 50 employees can apply for a hardship exemption. Only 20 percent of the entire workforce is covered by the new federal paid sick leave policy. Governor Newsom and the legislature should now enact legislation comparable to New York, providing emergency 14 paid sick days (for Californians affected by the coronavirus — but our state and local elected officials should go much further and make paid sick leave permanent. 

2020-03-26Mar 26, 2020

Protocols outlined by the Community Market applies to all Food markets. The number one priority is to keep customers, the community and workers safe.  Hourly changes  are being closely monitored in the coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols through the CDC and the County Health Departments. The goal is to continue to provide groceries, nutritional supplements and natural remedies to customers in the midst of the current challenges to our health and well-being. 

2020-07-07Jul 7, 2020

Recent natural disasters including the fires of October 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic have served to underscore the disproportionate challenges communities of color face on a daily basis. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors committed to making “Racial Equity and Social Justice” one of the pillars for its revised Strategic Plan.

2020-03-25Mar 25, 2020

Sonoma County and all of Northern California is facing an urgent situation as hundreds of blood drives across the state have been canceled due to the coronavirus.

More than 50 percent of mobile donations generated from blood drives have canceled in the month of March across the Bay Area and that challenging trend will likely continue into April and May. It is completely safe to donate blood at this time. Blood bank staff follow rigorous safety and disinfection protocols at blood drives – and they will be taking temperatures before donors give blood. Blood drives are considered an essential service. Donating blood is a truly meaningful way to make a difference.

2020-03-25Mar 25, 2020

While we all know the value of parks to our mental and emotional well-being, especially during this difficult time of sheltering in place, we are convinced this order of closer of our parks is the right move. We want to help make a real difference in the outcome of this crisis. The closure order is in effect until further notice. To explain what the closures mean, we’ve prepared answers to some frequently asked questions. Cierran Todos Los Parquesdentro del Condado de Sonoma, Actualizar 25/03/2020 - Respuestas a Preguntas Frecuentes. Read more to get some answers.  

2020-03-23Mar 23, 2020

California State Parks today announced the launch of a campaign titled “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” to remind the public to practice social distancing of 6 ft. or more when visiting state parks or any outdoor area. The parks may close if the public does not practice social distancing. During these difficult times, protecting park staff, volunteers, partners and visitors from the exposure to coronavirus is critical.

2020-03-22Mar 22, 2020

UndocuFund is Re-activated to Help our Undocumented Community Members Through COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis. An estimated 38,500 undocumented immigrants live in Sonoma County. Unlike other victims, undocumented immigrants, even though they pay taxes, do not qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Even when they do qualify for services, many undocumented immigrants are unlikely to pursue those benefits due to fear of immigration enforcement, lack of familiarity with official institutions, and limited English proficiency. At every turn, our undocumented neighbors face barriers and challenges to recovering from disasters.

2020-03-22Mar 22, 2020

Sonoma County is encouraging the public, businesses and organizations to donate new, unused personal protective equipment to assist first responders, health care providers, and health care facilities responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

2020-03-21Mar 21, 2020

Expect to see a marked increase in the number of tests in Sonoma County. While the Public Health Lab has been turning around tests same-day, there has been a substantial delay and backlog of tests in the private health labs. As these private labs ramp up and get caught up on this backlog, we can expect to see many more test results here in Sonoma County.

2020-03-20Mar 20, 2020

On Thursday, Governor Newsom issued a Stay at Home order to protect the health and well being of all Californians. The State has also launched a website with information on California's response. The County of Sonoma Shelter in Place order is consistent with the State order and no major changes are expected due to this addition. In keeping with my pledge to keep answering your questions and keep you informed, we've now held two live facebook chats. You can view the video for last night's session (March 19)here. Our schedule for these fireplace live chats is every Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday at 8:30 pm on my public facebook page here. Please join us with your questions in english or in spanish.

2020-03-20Mar 20, 2020
2020-03-20Mar 20, 2020

With the COVID-19 outbreak spreading and shelter-in-place orders coming down across the state, we at CAFF are working hard to keep our local food system running strong, our family farmers in business and our communities safe and healthy. While confusion abounds during this ever-developing COVID-19 crisis, one thing is clear: a strong, healthy, local food system is absolutely essential during times like these. So what can consumers do right now to help assure that our family farms stay in business and the many people who comprise of our shared food system can weather this storm? From  joining a CSA  to ordering direct from farms online to making sure our most vulnerable have food CAFF has compiled a few tips.

2020-03-18Mar 18, 2020

As our community responds to the evolving coronavirus emergency,  the Regional Parks remain open as a public resource under Sonoma County's latest health order. Although we are directed to stay home as much as possible, we can go outdoors to exercise. With the support of Sonoma County's leadership, the parks, trails and beaches will remain open and  parking fees will be waved. Being able to stay active and benefit from the calming effects of nature is crucial at a time like this, and the parks are open to you for walking, running, hiking and biking.

2020-07-05Jul 5, 2020

What he has learned from reading the medical literature for nearly six months and speaking from medical experience as a physician, Jon Jackson shares some important information. The take away is simple: Wear the Mask, Wash your Hands, Practice Social Distancing. The unique nature of the virus are in the details. Find out more...

2020-03-18Mar 18, 2020

Day 1 ending with the Shelter in Place Order. The most common questions we are receiving are around what businesses are open. The below list is the overall type of businesses that remain open. In the next section, we are starting a series listing regional restaurants that are offering delivery or take-out options. What businesses can remain open? Grocery stores, restaurants (take-out only), pharmacies, doctor’s offices, hospitals, gas stations, banks, public transit, childcare, and senior care.

2020-03-18Mar 18, 2020

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week.

2020-03-14Mar 14, 2020

In a precautionary effort to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, in Sonoma County and the state, Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) and Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), are recommending that Sonoma County school districts temporarily suspend in-person classes through at least March 27.  Most school districts are on spring break March 17-21, 2020, so these recommendations would be enacted the following week, beginning March 23, 2020.

2020-03-12Mar 12, 2020

Local Virtual Town Hall on The Coronavirus Emergency by Supervisor Lynda Hopkins on theCounty of Sonoma Youtube channel:

2020-03-06Mar 6, 2020

Sonoma County finally received a COVID-19 test kit which will enable us to test for novel coronavirus locally. I want to give a huge shout-out to Senator Mike McGuire and Congressman Mike Thompson for leaning in and fighting hard for Sonoma County to be able to stand up our local lab testing. In the meantime, continue to wash your hands and face; avoid touching your face; cough/sneeze into your elbow; and stay home if you’re sick. Bust out that thermometer and check your temperature. "Try to avoid anxiety or panic if you do fall ill, because you may well just have a common cold! Also 80 percent of corona illnesses are mild. If everyone with a cold floods their local emergency rooms, it will be harder for health-care workers to treat patients who are critically ill. Plus, you could pick up the virus in the hospital if you don’t already have it."



2020-02-27Feb 27, 2020

The Department of Health Services (DHS) is working closely with other Bay Area health departments, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to closely monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).Currently, the risk for being infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in the U.S. remains low.The CDC has closely monitored an outbreak of coronavirus from China since early January and has declared a public health emergency for the US. we shouldn’t be panicking, but some preparation is never a bad idea.


2020-02-06Feb 6, 2020

Our historic record of grassroots activism is what gives us the quality of life we all treasure. We have established a spider web of protected areas, greenbelts and parks that serve as community separators. When I’ve gone to public hearings and meetings where people are working to further preserve these areas from development and degradation, I’m both impressed and alarmed that often it’s the same people who fought to establish the initial protections for these areas who are still the ones fighting to protect them. At forty-six years old, I can look around the room and ask, where is the rest of my generation? Do we take these lands that our predecessors saved for granted? Are we willing to stand up for our open spaces? 

2020-02-05Feb 5, 2020

So now Gazette readers know I sold the Gazette to Sonoma Media Investments and very little has changed. I’m still working way-too long hours, but over time that will change. My most compassionate reader-friends wish me well and understand. Others are afraid of the change and other changes that will come in the future. Nothing stays the same. But I’m old and tired and I need to get a life. I love what I do. Don’t get me wrong. I really do. But there has to be a way for the Gazette to continue without me so I don’t die at this desk!

2020-02-04Feb 4, 2020

This is the decade of hope. Hope that we will finally stop the war against people and a plant by legalizing cannabis in the USA and around the globe. Hope that globally we are increasingly focused on real-time solutions to help sink carbon and restore climate stability. Interestingly, Industrial Hemp, and its use as a fiber, fuel, food, and much more is available to support this transition and both frees the plant and gets us off the carbon-economy.


2020-07-01Jul 1, 2020

As Independence Day approaches, the County of Sonoma Fire Prevention division would like to remind residents and visitors that all fireworks are illegal in unincorporated Sonoma County. “Our dry summer landscape creates a greater potential for fires caused by fireworks,” said Sonoma County Fire Marshal, Chief James Williams. “It is essential that the Sonoma County community celebrate the Fourth of July safely this year without fireworks as entertainment,” stated Chair Gorin. Ongoing Health Safety Measures are in place fro busineses to follow guidelines and individuals to social distance and wear facial masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. see which areas and cities totally ban and which allow some.

2020-07-01Jul 1, 2020

From Supervisor Hopkins' office: We are dealing, on an ongoing basis, with the reality that cases are rising and too many people come in that do not respect the health orders. We will have enforcement agencies out all weekend but they have a lot of territory to cover and can’t be everywhere at one time. We encourage you to practice safe-celebrations this weekend. Stay close to home and away from crowds, maintain social distancing, wear masks and sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. And remember fireworks are banned in unincorporated Sonoma County please don’t put your neighbors at risk during wildfire season.

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