New Report Reviews Inequality In Sonoma County

Feb 8, 2022 | SVHCD Board Chair Report

February Board Chair Report, 2022

A new report released last month depicts Sonoma County as two very different counties in many respects. While the report, A Portrait of Sonoma County 2021 Update, confirms that people generally live longer, earn more money and are better educated here than in other counties in California and the U.S., it also identifies widely varying conditions of health and well-being among many neighborhoods and communities within the county.

Oscar Chavez, assistant director of the Sonoma County Human Services Department, reviewed highlights of the report at the board meeting last week. It is a follow-up to the groundbreaking 2014 Portrait of Sonoma County, which illustrated why certain racial groups and neighborhoods in our county continue to be much more vulnerable to suffering and experience loss of opportunity.

While it shows that progress has been made in some areas in the past eight years, it also points out we have a long way to go in addressing preventable disparities in our county.

I have to say it hit home for me because we see many of the same disparities here in Sonoma Valley with affluence and poverty existing side by side. The report provides some examples of progress made to address inequities in certain communities using a variety of responses. It emphasizes that attention and targeted investments can help improve lives. I recommend all of us here in the Valley look at the implications of A Portrait of Sonoma County 2021 Update and think about how some of the successful approaches to addressing inequity might be deployed in our own backyard.  

Covid Update

The upswing in Covid cases experienced by the hospital in late December continued into January and case numbers, emergency visits and hospitalizations hit record highs, according to an update provided by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sabrina Kidd at last week’s board meeting.

Dr. Kidd reported that Covid numbers have started to come down in early February and testing positivity rates have also dropped. This is in line with countywide trends. She reminds everyone to get vaccinated and boosted, if you haven’t, and keep wearing a mask until Covid recommendations change.

CEO John Hennelly reported that while the surge in patients puts a strain on the hospital, which experienced staff shortages due to the pandemic, the physicians and staff showed dedication and teamwork in keeping services at a high level during what was a stressful time, and he acknowledged how staff went above and beyond to serve our community.

We’ve all been reading about the incredible stress that healthcare workers across the country have been under. Our community is extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented set of professionals at our hospital. I am very grateful for the work that our staff and physicians do and the risks that they take to keep us all safe and healthy. 

For general Covid-related information, you can visit the Covid Resources Section on the hospital website which provides information in both English and Spanish.

Next Board Meeting

The next regular District Board meeting will be held on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at 6 pm. For safety reasons, board meetings will continue to be held via video conferencing. The public is encouraged to participate, and video conferencing details are available on the Hospital website. Public comment is always welcome.



Joshua Rymer
Chair of the SVHCD Board of Directors