SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Police, firefighters, first responders and other high-risk groups in Sonoma County will need to prove they have received a COVID booster, or be tested twice a week under a new public health order.

County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said the order applies to all employers of fire, law enforcement, emergency medical service workers, pharmacies, dental offices and operators of temporary disaster shelters.

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Mase said the order was issued to help mitigate the effects of an expected winter surge in COVID cases spread by the omicron variant.

“With variants circulating locally and COVID-19 cases increasing, it is essential that our frontline workers have all the protection available to them,” Mase said in a prepared statement. “Emergency personnel are in routine contact with the public, so getting them booster shots and requiring twice-weekly testing if not boosted is the best way to protect them and the community.”

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In August, Mase issued a health order requiring emergency personnel to show proof of vaccination or submit to regular COVID testing. The new mandate expands a California Department of Public Health order requiring healthcare workers and correctional facility staffers to receive booster shots.

The first case of the omicron variant in Sonoma County was discovered on Dec. 16. As of Thursday, the county’s new case rate per 100,000 residents was 27.3 among unvaccinated people and 6.7 among those vaccinated, an overall case rate of 12.3.

Visit www.SoCoEmergency.org for Health Order information as well as vaccination and testing locations.

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