Susan Gorin on COVID 19 county updates

As some of you may have read in  Friday’s PD article, Sonoma County recently shared the key findings of our first local modeling study conducted by Imperial College of London. A modeling study takes what we know about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), such as rates of infection and mortality, and combines it with our local demographics in order to project what we might face as a county in the weeks and months ahead.

Key findings from the modeling for Sonoma County include:

  1. Shelter In Place (SIP) is working. We are flattening the curve.
  2. In Sonoma County, we currently expect to hit our peak for hospitalizations in the first or second week of June.
  3. We expect to need about 1,500 total hospital beds for residents aged 18-64 to accommodate that peak in June.
  4. For our seniors age 65+, and minors age 0-17, we do not currently anticipate a significant increase in the number of hospital beds required. While the virus impacts seniors at a higher percentage relative to other ages, the modeling indicates earlier sheltering recommendations to our seniors have helped slow the spread within this age group.
The current modeling makes it clear that our Shelter In Place order is making a difference. Without it, the modeling estimates 10,000 or more local residents would have required hospitalization, and that this number of severe cases would have overwhelmed our local healthcare system. Thank you for doing what you’re doing.
Now is not the time to relax, however. With our local peak caseload still ahead of us, we must all remain vigilant with Shelter In Place (SIP) and social distancing. 
At the County, we are planning for our local surge in cases with Alternate Care Sites (ACS) for patients with less severe health issues. These additional beds will free up ICU beds for our most severe COVID-19 patients. More news on this in the days ahead.
We are also tracking the possibility of a second wave of infection after the SIP order is lifted. Our early modeling has shown a graph like this:
Note the peak of nearly 10,000 cases shown in solid orange was for “no intervention” and has likely already been avoided. We now anticipate the dotted orange line for residents age 18-64, with the potential for a secondary wave still ahead.
The modeling shows if we lift the SIP order without additional mitigation measures, we could see a secondary wave within a few months. Our takeaway is that we must start planning such mitigation measures now, in case a vaccine is not readily available in time.
Looking ahead, we are now making future plans for how and when we come out of our Shelter In Place order. As I read the signals from this early modeling, and hearing from our local public health experts, I anticipate a transition period of new mitigation measures for our broader public. These could include:
  • Increased testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantining
  • Guidance on more mask-wearing, with differentiation between medical grade masks / PPE for healthcare workers and first responders, and everyday msks for the broader public.
    • Leading to a gradual, phased lifting of SIP, beginning with some workplaces and likely ending with schools (children are currently observed as more likely to be asymptomatic carriers)
    More modeling data is upcoming to help guide our decisions on all of this. We will keep you informed as we learn more about our forecast and other possibilities.
    If you’d like to watch the virtual press conference regarding this modeling data, please visit
    To monitor daily local COVID-19 cases, as well as see demographic information for those affected, please visit
    Sheltering in place is saving lives — Thank You! Let’s keep up the good work. Together, we will get through this.