WASHINGTON, D.C — Today, President Joe Biden signed bipartisan legislation into law expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to veterans and their families under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), following efforts from House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs leaders Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). The Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans … Continue reading Vaccine Access Opened to Veterans’ Families, Spouses
Did you know that the last full week of the month of March is LGBT+ Health Awareness Week? Since 2003, LGBT+ Health Awareness Week has sought to highlight the importance of LGBT+ health and wellness and bring awareness of the unique care needs of the LGBT+ community. Additionally, LGBT+ Health Awareness Week seeks to bring to light the reasons members of the LGBT+ community are … Continue reading It’s National LGBT+ Health Awareness Week!
Today, the State announced that Sacramento County is allowed to move from the most restrictive Purple/Widespread Tier 1 to the less restrictive tier of Red/Substantial Tier 2 per the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Sacramento County Public Health has issued the March 16, 2021, Health Order to reflect the move to the Red Tier. The summary of changes are:
- In alignment with Red Tier 2, the following sectors are permitted for OUTDOOR operations only. These sectors must still maintain mitigation measures (social distancing, face covering, and sanitization):
- Cardrooms, satellite wagering
- Family Entertainment Centers (e.g. bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages, kart racing, skating rinks, and arcades)
- Playgrounds, dog parks, skate parks, and recreational facilities
- Wineries, breweries, and distilleries (with reservations, 90-minute time limit, table seating, onsite consumption closed by 8 p.m.)
*Bars and pubs may operate indoors (maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer) if they are offering sit-down meals, otherwise they remain closed.
- In alignment with Red Tier 2, the following sectors are open for INDOOR operations. These sectors must still maintain mitigation measures (social distancing, face covering, and sanitization) and specific modifications in parenthesis below:
- All retail (maximum 50% capacity; grocery stores 100% capacity)
- Critical infrastructure
- Entertainment production, studios, broadcast
- Gyms and fitness centers (maximum 10% capacity + climbing walls)
- Hair salons and barbershops
- Hotels and lodging (fitness centers maximum 10% capacity)
- Libraries (maximum 50% capacity)
- Movie theaters (maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
- Museums, zoos, aquariums (indoor activities maximum 25% capacity)
- Nail salons and electrolysis operations
- Personal care services (e.g. body waxing, estheticians, tattoo, massage)
- Places of worship (maximum 25% capacity)
- Professional sports (without live audiences)
- Restaurants (maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
- Shopping centers (e.g. malls, destination centers, swap meets) (maximum 50% capacity; closed common areas; food courts maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
UPDATE (01/25/2021): California health officials ended the state’s regional stay-at-home order after reviewing the latest projections for ICU capacity. The latest news affects the Southern California, San Joaquin, and Bay Area regions that have been under the stay-at-home order for several weeks. The Northern California region has never gone under the order and the Greater Sacramento region exited the order earlier this month.
Most counties now fall under Purple Tier 1 which allows for more businesses and services to open. It should be noted that individual counties have the authority to set their own restrictions and can choose to keep more stringent restrictions in place.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the order lift effective immediately.
UPDATE (01/12/2021): The following was posted on Sacramento County’s COVID-19 page. According to the state, the Greater Sacramento Region is allowed to leave the stay-at-home order implemented in early-December 2020. The change is based on a four-week projection of the region’s ICU capacity.
On Jan. 12, the State of California announced that the Greater Sacramento region is permitted to exit the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order with a four week ICU availability projection of 19 percent. Counties in the Greater Sacramento region can resume operating under the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier structure. Based on the State’s tier criteria, Sacramento County will be in Tier 1/Purple. Sacramento County Public Health will be issuing an updated Health Order to align with Tier 1/Purple that will be effective Wed. Jan. 13, 2021, that reopens some indoor and outdoor operations under reduced operational capacity. Sacramento County will continue to provide details regarding the updated Health Order. Review the differences between the Regional Order and Purple Tier 1.
UPDATE (12/31/2020): The ICU capacity for the Greater Sacramento Region dropped overnight from over 17% to 14.4%, the first time it’s fallen below the 15% threshold in several days. The news comes one week after the Christmas holiday where record amounts of people traveled despite CDC and health officials’ recommendations not to do so and whilst the nation grapples with a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.
As a result, state officials said that the stay-at-home order would likely be extended. A release from the Department of Public Health stated, “While the Greater Sacramento region’s daily current ICU capacity numbers have been relatively consistent at approximately 14%, early projections over the next four weeks show ICU capacity is likely to drop. Therefore, the order will likely be extended for that region. Official ICU projections for the Greater Sacramento region will be posted on January 2 based on January 1 data.”
The current order went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on December 10th for three weeks. The regional order could’ve ended but the news that the ICU capacity dropped below the threshold will put that possibility in doubt.
As it stands, the Greater Sacramento Region remains under the stay-at-home order.
Lastly, as of December 31st, 2020, California has become the third state to pass 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic and has confirmed the 2nd reported U.S. case of a mutant variant of the virus that appears to be more contagious.
UPDATE (12/09/2020): It was expected that the Greater Sacramento region’s ICU capacity would fall below 15% based on projections related to the current, ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases. Today, the California Department of Health Services reported that the Sacramento region ICU capacity number slipped to 14.3% after hovering between 19% and 22% over the past week.
As a result, it was announced that the region would implement the regional stay-at-home order effective 11:59 p.m. Thursday night.
Under the order, several business industries will be closed & storefronts will be reduced to 20% capacity. Additionally, restaurants would be allowed only for takeout or delivery.
The order will initially be in effect for three weeks. After that, the order will be lifted when the region’s ICU capacity reaches or exceeds 15%.
Affected counties are: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba.
The Greater Sacramento region is the third region to fall under the stay-at-home order. The San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions fell under the order last week. Today, it was announced that the valley ICU capacity hit 4.2% and SoCal’s is now at about 9%.
Statewide, the ICU capacity is 11.6% with 1,420,558 cases and 20,243 deaths.
Below is the public order posted to the Sacramento County site:
Upon Statewide Order by the California Department of Public Health and announced by Governor Gavin Newsom, the Sacramento County Public Health Officer has amended the Public Health Order to limit operations of certain sectors and supports the new tier system for county monitoring and re-opening of business sectors. The Order goes into effect December 10, at 11:59 p.m., and will be in effect until it is rescinded or amended by the Health Officer.
More details to be posted as made available.
UPDATE (12/03/2020): California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’s “pulling the emergency break” and asking residents to not gather with people outside of their household. A Regional Stay Home Order was announced for regions where ICU capacity falls below 15%, the order would last at least three weeks. In those regions, the following would be implemented:
- The following places will need to close: indoor/outdoor playgrounds, indoor recreational facilities, hair salons, barbershops, personal care services, museums, zoos, aquarium, movie theaters, wineries, bars, breweries, distilleries, family entertainment center, cardrooms and satellite wagering, casinos, limited services, live audience sports, and amusement parks.
- Schools that have received a waiver and all “critical infrastructure” can stay open.
- Restaurants can stay open for takeout and delivery only, indoor and outdoor dining will shut down.
- Retail stores and shopping centers can stay open at 20% capacity.
- Outdoor recreation facilities can remain open with modifications.
- Entertainment production, including professional sports, can operate without a live audience.
- Residents in affected regions can still go to the doctor, buy groceries, go on a hike or worship outdoors.
Additionally, all non-essential travel is now banned statewide regardless of what zone you live in. Travel orders issued previously remain in effect as well.
Regions that fall below the 15% threshold will have 48 hours to implement the restrictions.
On Monday, state health officials reported that 75% of ICU beds throughout the state were occupied and that it could reach 112% by Christmas Eve. In Northern California, it was reported that 85% of ICU beds were full with state projections estimating all regions reaching their capacities by early January.
Unfortunately, current projections show all regions except the Bay Area will likely meet the 15% threshold in the next few days. Below is a break down of the five regions:
- Northern California: Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity
- Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma
- Greater Sacramento: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba
- San Joaquin Valley: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne
- Southern California: Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura
UPDATE (11/19/2020): A limited stay-at-home order has been ordered to go into effect at 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 21st. The order will remain in effect for one month. Non-essential work and gatherings will be ordered to stop from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in all counties in Purple Tier 1. This comes as the nation and state have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.
This Limited Stay at Home Order will reduce opportunities for disease transmission with the goal of decreasing the number of hours individuals are in the community and mixing with individuals outside of their household. Every intervention to decrease mixing of households is critical during this unparalleled increase in case rate rise of about 50 percent during the first week in November. In particular, activities conducted during 10:00pm to 5:00am are often non-essential and more likely related to social activities and gatherings that have a higher likelihood of leading to reduced inhibition and reduced likelihood to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures (e.g., wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance).
This order shall take effect on November 21, 2020, at 10:00pm PST.
For counties that move into Tier One (Purple) after the effective date of this Order, the terms of this Order shall apply at 10:00pm PST on day two after the county is assigned to Tier One (Purple). For the purpose of counting days, day one shall be the first full day following the date of the tier assignment.
This order remains in effect until 5:00am PST on December 21, 2020, and may be extended or revised as needed.Limited Stay At Home Order, Issued 11/19/2020
UPDATE (11/13/2020): A travel advisory has been issued urging against non-essential out-of-state travel, asking people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country and encouraging residents to stay local.
- Read the Statement from the Governor’s Office
- Read the Official Advisory from the CA State Department of Public Health
This update comes after the state called for several counties throughout California to move back to Purple Tier 1, the most restrictive tier. Sacramento County moved to the tier as of noon on Friday, November 13, 2020.Continue reading “Sacramento County Allowed to Move to Less Restrictive Tier”
Every year on March 10 — and throughout the month of March — local, state, federal, and national organizations come together to shed light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls and show support for those at risk of and living with HIV. This year marks the 16th annual observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). The HIV/AIDS … Continue reading March 10th is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day #NWGHAAD
March 1st is Zero Discrimination Day. First celebrated by the United Nations on March 1, 2014, the UN’s HIV/AIDS program UNAIDS launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013. The aim of Zero Discrimination Day is to promote equality before the law and in practice throughout all the member countries of the UN. UNAIDS has this to say about Zero Discrimination … Continue reading Today is #ZeroDiscriminationDay: Take Action to #EndInequalities
Do you ever wonder how organizations, businesses, and individuals know when a certain observance or awareness month, week, or day is? If so, below is a tailored list of observances for the month of March 2021 specifically for military, Veterans, and LGBTQ+ folx. We may issue graphics for some of the events listed below. For those that are not illustrated, there are links below to … Continue reading March 2021 Observances
Today, newly-confirmed Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Denis McDonough issued a message laying out the department’s stance on being a welcoming place for all Veterans, families, caregivers and survivor beneficiaries and employees. Read below: Continue reading VA Secretary McDonough: The VA Welcomes ALL
In late-2020, the VA went live with a new online portal for Veterans to submit claims for travel reimbursement. The Beneficiary Travel Self-Service System (BTSSS; one could probably pronounce it as “Bitsssssss…”) was reportedly implemented to simplify the claim submission process for Veterans, caregivers, and beneficiaries. As with any new federal process, BTSSS both improves and complicates. In hopes of providing some clarity, see below … Continue reading How to Navigate the VA’s Online Portal for Travel Reimbursement (BTSSS)