East Bay Getting to Zero
SARS-CoV-2 scanning electron microscope image from NIAID

This page includes East Bay COVID viral levels, testing, vaccine, masking, prevention, treatment and other resources, updated monthly. Please click here to share feedback.


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East Bay COVID updates

November 2022

Virus levels:

East Bay’s EBMUD wastewater surveillance data shows that viral levels increased rapidly at the beginning of November into high levels. As of November 16, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties are in the substantial transmission risk level. To reduce the risk of COVID during a time of substantial and high transmission risk, we recommend:

  • Gather outdoors instead of indoors when possible.
  • When indoors, we strongly recommend wearing masks and/or testing to prevent transmissions.

More details on COVID, RSV and Influenza trends as of November 16:

  • EBMUD COVID wastewater levels show a stabilization at a high level (46% of last winter’s peak) following a rapid rise in early November. California COVID predictions show that levels are expected to rise rapidly over the next month. 
  • RSV is at very high levels, above last year’s highest levels, which is 5 months before our usual peak in January.
  • Influenza is at high levels, above the peak of the past two years, and at a level usually seen in late December in pre-pandemic years. There was a rapid rise in Alameda County during the first two weeks of November. Influenza levels are expected to rise further over the next month. 

Click here to read our Wastewater FAQs and 💩 Feces Facts.

Variants:

  • New Omicron subvariants: CDC Variant Proportions in the Western states as of November 1 show that the immune-evading second and third-generation Omicron subvariants (BQ.1, BQ.1.1, BF.7) are increasing in proportion relative to the BA.5 variant that dominated the East Bay throughout the summer. These newer variants can evade prior immunity and are estimated to spread twice as fast as BA.5.
  • Boosters increase protection against new variants: Recent data show us how boosters are crucial to protect us from waning immunity and new variants. Vaccine boosters are effective in reducing the risk of long Covid, severe disease and death, especially for people over 50 and those at higher risk. 
  • Prepare for a winter wave by getting the updated booster and having N95/KN95/KF94 masks and rapid tests ready.

Vaccines:

  • Updated bivalent boosters for children ages 5-11 were authorized and approved on October 12, 2022 and are available in the East Bay. The Moderna bivalent booster (25 mcg of mRNA) is authorized for ages 6-11. The Pfizer bivalent booster (10 mcg of mRNA) is authorized for ages 5-11.
  • Updated bivalent boosters for people ages 12+ with protection against the Omicron BA.5 variant currently in circulation have available and recommended since September.
  • Get a free updated booster at local pharmacies, your medical provider, MyTurn.ca.gov, Vaccines.gov, or county sites.
    • When should I get the booster? If it’s been…
      • <2-3 months since infection/vaccination: Wait and plan to get the booster 3-6 months out.
      • 3-6 months since infection/vaccination: Get the booster soon. If you have an event or trip, get it 2-4 weeks before to optimize protection.
      • 6+ months since infection/vaccination: Get the booster ASAP.

Prevention:

  • Masks: ACPHD and CDPH have aligned masking guidance with the CDC community levels.
    • Masks remain required in California in certain settings: in health care settings, long-term care facilities, correctional facilitaties, shelters and indoor transit hubs. They are also required when exposed to or infected with COVID-19.
    • ACPHD also states, “Anyone, 2 years of age and older, may want to continue masking, regardless of vaccination status and even when the County COVID-19 Community Level is Low, in indoor public settings and businesses.”
  • Check circulating variants before prescribing Evusheld and bebtelovimab: The NIH issued a statement on October 19 on the new variants’ resistance to these monoclonal antibodies.

Test-and-treat:

  • COVID-19 test-and-treat: more access points are available now! Community members at risk can get treatment at the same location and on the same day that you test positive and regardless of insurance or immigration status. Please encourage anyone who tests positive to contact their provider or a free test-and-treat center ASAP, as they may be able to get treatment. There’s plenty of medication supply now. 
  • Viral rebound is common for both treated and untreated people with COVID-19. Treatment still helps reduce viral load and severity. Just make sure to re-isolate. 
    • In one pre-omicron study, the rebound rate was 12% among untreated people.
    • Anecdotal reports from East Bay clinics estimate that 10-20% people during the Omicron era have rebound. Rebound seems to be a bit more common among people treated with Paxlovid.
    • A BA.2 and BA.5 rebound study found no resistance mutations and a robust immunologic response. Most people do not have severe disease or high viral loads during the rebound.
    • Please counsel clients to recognize rebound and isolate again to prevent transmission.

Click here for more East Bay COVID guidance and resources on how to protect ourselves and our communities.


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