Madera County COVID numbers falling

With more eligible people allowed to get COVID-19 vaccines, numbers in Madera County are falling and could see the Red Tier sometime soon, according to Sara Bosse, Madera County Department of Public Health Director in a presentation to the Madera City Council.


Bosse said Wednesday evening that the data is trending down and more of the population is getting eligible to receive vaccinations.


“We continue to see data continue in this trend of case rate coming down and good positivity rates as we now have an adjustment in the tier structure,” she said. “When the state reached two million vaccines given out in the healthy places index, it adjusted the tiers to where movement from purple to red, the case rate is 10 instead of seven. It makes it easier for us to move forward with the population getting vaccinated. It’s moving in the right direction. We encourage people to test when they’re out and about. We are increasing testing through regular testing, contracted outreach with schools, governmental facilities and those engaging in organized sports.”


Bosse encourages Madera County to do one of two things to help in decreasing the COVID-19 numbers which will allow more things to open up — get tested and get vaccinated.


“There are two actions that will help Madera County to open up and help manage any outbreaks,” she said. “The first is testing. We encourage testing, whether you are feeling good or not. If only people who are feeling bad get tested, it doesn’t give us an accurate percentage of the whole population. It doesn’t give us an active positivity rate. You can find out where you can get tested at maderacounty.com/covid19testing.


“We want people to take advantage of getting vaccinated. the best way to see if you can get vaccinated and the link to find out where you can get vaccinated is our vaccine page. They will find eligibility and how they can get registered at maderacounty.com/covid19vaccine.”


Bosse also said that vaccination allocation has been pretty steady, but also it increased two times over the past month.


“We look forward to increased allocation because there are a lot more people who are eligible,” she said. “In the last week, eligibility was expanded to congregated residential setting so that expanded to our county jail populations. We started vaccinating those folks as allocation is available starting yesterday working through those who are at-risk first.”


In addition, public transit workers and janitors are eligible for vaccination and talks have begun to vaccinate City of Madera staff.


“I’ve already talked to (Madera City Manager) Arnoldo (Rodriguez) about staff in the city who are providing sanitation for parks, restaurants and other things,” she said.


Another group eligible to receive vaccinations are the homeless.


“I know the police are eager to help us outreach to our homeless population,” Bosse said. “We have already vaccinated individuals who are at Madera Rescue Mission. We prioritized those individuals based on outbreaks that have occurred. We would like to prioritize Johnson & Johnson vaccinations for our homeless population so we can easily ensure they are fully vaccinated. We won’t have Johnson & Johnson vaccines for about two weeks. We are anticipating increased manufacturing of the Johnson & Johnson and would prioritize homeless when it becomes available.”


Individuals with chronic conditions and those with mental and physical disabilities are also eligible to receive vaccinations.


“Others who are eligible are those who have chronic conditions,” Bosse said. “There is a list on the website

(maderacounty.com/covid19vaccines). Those indviduals won’t have to provide paperwork for demonstrating their illness due to privacy and HIPAA concerns. They will be required do a self-attestation when they register. They have to acknowledge that they are being truthful and have a chronic condition.


“Others that are eligible are people who have mental and physical disabilities that make them high risk to poor outcomes with the COVID-19 infection due to access with care. I met with the ADA advisory council for the city of Madera and we’re in conversation and reaching out to our health plans how to strategically get those who are physically disabled vaccinated. We are going to be scheduling drive-thru vaccinations for that population, as well as working with Anthem Blue Cross and CalVIVA to help us with other outreach strategies.”


Bosse says that guidance changes everyday and urges to public to continue to check the Madera County Public Health Department’s website for updates.


“There are ongoing updates to guidances. We encourage people to use our community feedback form to get answers quickly,” she said.