County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter - September 2023

Public Health Newsletter - September 2023
Marin County Public Health Newsletter - September 2023
In this Issue: Wildfire Smoke | COVID-19 Vaccine I Buprenophine Training | RSV On the Rise | National Preparedness Month | Rabies Guidance | Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer 
A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officers.

Wildfire Smoke in Marin

Active wildfires to the north recently threatened local air quality.  Last week, Marin County Public Health issued a health advisory when the Air Quality Index increased above 150 for much of Marin. Prolonged smoke exposure increases risk for respiratory and cardiovascular events. The CDC has guidance for clinicians to address air quality concerns with vulnerable populations. Clinicians should ensure asthma plans are up to date, and counsel at-risk patients to remain indoors as much as possible and use N-95 type masks outdoors when AQI is greater than 150.

COVID-19 Fall Vaccine Update

This fall, COVID-19 vaccine has arrived. Marin County Public Health joins the CDC in recommending the 2023 monovalent COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Your highest risk patients should be offered the vaccine as soon as it’s available, following CDC clinical guidance. Dr. Willis explained the fall vaccine for the public in a recent video

Bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines should be removed from inventory. Access to and payment for COVID-19 vaccines has transitioned from government-run to the commercial market. For more information, see the CDPH Commercialization Provider Transition Guide. The COVID-19 Bridge Access Program (BAP) will support vaccines for underinsured and uninsured adults. Providers selected to participate in this program received enrollment instructions this month.

Buprenophine for Beginners Training

California Medical Society Virtual Grand Rounds on October 10, for 12-1 PM  fulfills 1 of the 8 hours of opioid specific training required for DEA license renewal. Buprenorphine is effective for outpatient treatment for Opioid Use Disorder. Learn more about local overdose prevention at OD Free Marin.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

RSV season has begun in some parts of the country. The CDC issued a Health Advisory about RSV activity across some parts of the Southeast. The CDC recommends vaccine for older adults and the newly approved Beyfortus™ for infants to prevent severe RSV disease.

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. The current wildfires provide a reminder of the importance of preparation for disasters and emergencies. Healthcare providers should all sign up to receive emergency notifications at the Public Emergency Portal, for situational awareness when an event occurs. ReadyMarin is a one-stop resource for preparedness in Marin County.

World Rabies Day

1 in 10 bats tested in Marin County carry the rabies virus. Rabies disease is generally fatal, and highly preventable with vaccine and post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Questions on indications and method for rabies vaccine and PEP frequently arise.  Marin County Public Health created a poster to help remind clinicians about how to administer PEP. To download this poster click here.

Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer

Winter respiratory season is here and visits for respiratory infections are increasing.  It is a great time to remind patients of the basics - staying home when sick, handwashing, and “strategic masking.”  People can make their own choices about wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.  Patients should consider wearing a mask if they or a loved one is at high risk for infection.  Staff who work in  health care settings with frequent exposures to respiratory viruses should consider wearing a mask.  Individuals who spend prolonged times in crowded indoor settings should consider wearing a mask, especially when circulating respiratory viruses are very high.  

Another layer of protection is awareness of local viral activity.  The annual winter virus surge typically begins between October and December in Marin. Local wastewater surveillance offers the earliest signal of winter virus circulation. Providers should visit  Marin County Public Health’s wastewater surveillance sites regularly for Flu and RSV, and for COVID-19 to stay informed about local viral activity.  

Stay well,

Lisa Santora, MD, MPH
Deputy Public Health Officer


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Marin County Public Health, a division of the Marin County Health & Human Services Department

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