Sonoma County struggles to get out of California's purple tier

Sonoma County is still struggling to get its COVID-19 infection rates down as it remains the last Bay Area county where the risk of infection remains widespread.

“The reasons are multifactorial. There's a lot of factors that go into why we’re seeing what we’re seeing in terms of COVID-19,” said Sonoma County health officer Dr. Sundari Mase to the board of supervisors Wednesday.

The county is reporting 65 cases per day or an average of 13 in 100,000 infections, nearly double the number needed to emerge into the better, Red Tier.

Some of the reasons behind the high number of cases, reported the county health officer, are outbreaks in health care, long term care facilities, agriculture, and the workplaces.

“We’ve also had a lot of cases of as I’ve been presenting all along in the last months associated with gatherings of non-household members, Dr. Mase said.

The Latinx community is also being hit-hard with up 54 percent of the county's COVID cases and for community organizer Jocelyn Boreta, the reason is clear.

“Our community, our families, are adversely impacted because the choice of going to work or not going to work is not one that we have,” Boreta told KTVU.

Boreta is the founder of Botanical Bus, a community organization that will be part of the health department's so-called "Enhanced COVID-19 Response Strategy" announced Wednesday.

Her group will take part in COVID-19 outreach to farmworkers, local laborers, and other indigenous language-speaking communities.

“We're in intensive training with doctors and nurses for curbing the infection,” Boreta said Wednesday.

Other parts of the much broader plan include adding 12 additional pop-up testing sites, some of which will be focused on the highly impacted areas of Santa Rosa and Healdsburg.

Health officials also expanding efforts for people who've tested positive for COVID19 to isolate away from members of their household.

To encourage more people to get COVID19 testing, the health department’s enhanced COVID-19 response strategy also includes offering incentives, such as gift cards to individuals in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods

The new strategy is expected to cost the county about $15 million.