As of Friday, Sacramento County COVID-19 cases have dropped to a 105-weekly average, down from nearly 1,000 earlier this year. These trends follow a steady increase in vaccine administration, with 483,781 (8,011-weekly average) county residents fully or partially inoculated against the virus.
This is a promising path for life to return to normal in Galt, but case numbers, while low, have plateaued over the past two weeks and I.C.U. capacity remains low. Case averages in neighboring San Joaquin County are relatively higher than that of Sacramento. However, it is unclear how those numbers measure the situation in Galt.
“Unfortunately, that information has not been provided to us from the county,” said Galt Economic Development Manager Amie Mendes. Instead, the city has relied on public data available through the county website, which only reports countywide trends that may not accurately reflect that of Galt.
The opportunity to receive one of the three FDA approved vaccines also eludes many Galt residents. So far, the city has coordinated with other local agencies on one vaccination event in early March where nearly 1,200 residents received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Those who attended then received their second dose at a similar event on Friday. Whether future vaccination efforts will occur in Galt is a question the city hopes to answer soon.
“We expressed our concerns to our County Supervisor Don Nottoli, and we are hoping to be able to offer vaccination clinics in Galt for the south county residents, but we have not heard back from the Department of Public Health at Sacramento County pertaining to this issue” Mendes said. Nevertheless, Galt residents can receive a vaccine from other providers in the county – usually by appointment only.
According to Brenda Bongiorno from the county Public Information Office, “any additional vaccination clinics will likely be small community pop-ups as counties get set up with the state’s third-party administrator, Blue Shield.”
More information about these future clinics has yet to be determined. For now, Bongiorno said that the CSD does not anticipate any more vaccination appointments in the near future. In the event appointments become available, please go to myturn.ca.gov for more information.
Currently, California limits vaccine allocation to individuals in the phase 1A and 1B categories of the state’s distribution plan. That includes those in the food, education, healthcare and emergency services sectors, as well as individuals over the age of 65. Ages 16-64 can also receive the vaccine if they have a severe health condition.
Nevertheless, the State of California will open vaccine eligibility to all residents ages 16 and older (regardless of occupation or health condition) on April 15.
Vaccinated residents in Galt report having felt a combination of joy, relief, gratitude and, at times, a dutiful sense of community when receiving their inoculation.
Greg Davidson, a Galt local who received his first dose last week, said, “I’ve done my part in returning our city to normal, and I hope everyone joins me. We’re all in this together.”
For Andres Barajas, a local food deliverer, getting the vaccine was an expression of gratitude for the minds behind its development.
“It feels like a miracle,” he said. “To have a solution to this devastating pandemic in just a year proves that there’s nothing we can’t do. I wish I could thank all the thousands of scientists and doctors who made this thing.”
In schools, Galt teachers hope that each shot is another step toward reopening classrooms safely. Gayle Alvarado, a mathematics teacher at Galt High School, said she would have continued to teach virtually to safeguard her parents.
“My dad is 81 years old and has several health conditions. My mother is a caregiver for my father and cannot afford to get sick,” Alvarado said.
When vaccines finally became available to Alvarado’s family, the pressure lifted.
“I finally started seeing a ray of hope,” she said. “Last week, I welcomed my students to our classroom and my heart was finally whole again.”
For questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine, email Sacramento County at Covid19vaccine@saccounty.net or call the county COVID-19 hotline at 916-875-2400.
For San Joaquin County residents, email 211SJ@frrcsj.org or call 800-436-9997.