Special to the Vanguard
Woodland, CA – COVID-19 wastewater levels in Yolo County indicate high community spread of COVID-19, yet many Yolo County residents remain unaware of the current high COVID-19 risk. To reach residents despite COVID news fatigue, the Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) is launching a voluntary sign campaign to communicate current risks and the importance of wearing high-quality masks like N95, KN95, and KF94s in indoor public spaces.
Many residents may opt to mask when presented with a clear risk indicator when entering an indoor public space. All businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, places of worship, and other indoor venues are invited to participate in the awareness campaign. Yolo County is providing color-coded signs based on COVID-19 risk level – red/high, yellow/medium, and green/low – that recommend who should mask at each risk level.
Yolo County HHSA will print and distribute the appropriate color-coded signs to operators of public spaces to ensure residents have the most current information. Signs will also be available for download at www.yolocounty.org/masks. The signs are intended for locations where CDPH does not require masking and should not be posted in healthcare settings, shelters, or correctional settings.
“When COVID activity is high, like it is now, I strongly recommend that everybody in indoor public spaces wears a mask that fits and filters well. Cloth masks and surgical masks don’t work nearly as well as N95, KN95, or KF94 masks against the highly infectious variants like BA.5 that are circulating now,” said Yolo County Health Officer, Dr. Aimee Sisson. “The signs that will be posted will let people know what the risk level is so they can make an informed choice about masking when they enter a building.”
High-quality masks can be more expensive than cloth or surgical masks. To ensure mask costs aren’t a barrier to opting for the best-available COVID protection, Yolo County is working with partners to distribute 20,000 free, high-quality masks throughout Yolo County, including at all library locations. Wearing a properly fitted, high-quality mask without any leaks around the eyes, nose, and mouth offers excellent protection to the wearer even when others are not masked. High-quality masks can be worn repeatedly, often for weeks at a time, until they are visibly soiled, wet, or no longer provide a good seal against the face.
Yolo County’s case rate has decreased significantly since Healthy Yolo Together’s widespread PCR testing ended on June 30. The dropping case rate is misleading and does not accurately reflect the high burden of COVID-19 in Yolo County. Wastewater levels in some parts of Yolo County are as high now as they were in January at the height of the large original Omicron wave. Moving forward, wastewater levels of the virus that causes COVID-19 are the most reliable measure of community spread. Healthy Davis Together has continued and expanded its monitoring of wastewater in Davis, Yolo County, and central California.