COVID outbreak: 59 residents infected at Sonoma County homeless shelter

Bay Area

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) – Sonoma County has reopened an alternative care center in order to isolate an increase of new positive COVID-19 cases.

Many of those being quarantined are coming from an outbreak at a Santa Rosa homeless shelter.

The first positive cases were detected at the Samuel L. Jones homeless shelter back on July 2 but it quickly has turned into a large-scale outbreak.

According to the county, as of this week, there are now 59 people who have tested positive for COVID-19, out of 153 residents.  

There are 26 other possible positive cases that are being reviewed — 28 of the confirmed cases, or 48%, were fully vaccinated, and 31 people were unvaccinated. 

“The fact is the virus is more likely to spread in congregate settings like homeless shelters. Vaccinated individuals are more likely to experience a breakthrough case of COVID if they are gathered with unvaccinated individuals,” Dr. Sundari Mase said.

In total, nine went to the hospital, one was in the ICU but has since recovered and been discharged.

Those include six fully vaccinated people but they had underlying health conditions. As of Wednesday, five patients remained hospitalized.

“This also is a very vulnerable population, they’re older and they have underlying medical conditions putting them at greater risk to be a case even a fully vaccinated,” Dr. Mase said.

On Wednesday, the county reopened an alternative care site at the Best Western Dry Creek Inn in Healdsburg to help isolate positive patients.

At this point, they do not know if the more contagious Delta variant is behind this outbreak. 

The public health officer says most of those vaccinated residents at the shelter received the Johnson and Johnson shot but it’s unclear if that played a role in the breakthrough infections.

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