UPDATED: County to Issue Shelter in Place Order, Effective at Midnight

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Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich has scheduled a press conference this afternoon at which time she will announce an order directing local residents to shelter in place beginning at midnight tonight in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The news conference will be live streamed here.

Counties from the Bay Area north through Mendocino have already issued similar orders.

The Mendocino order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most basic and essential needs, and prohibits transient lodging for non-essential purposes. Read Mendocino's order here.

As of March 19, Humboldt County had not seen any new confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a total of 61 individuals tested by public agencies — six by the Centers for Disease Control and the rest by the Public Health Lab.

(Read more about how the county is prioritizing who gets tested here.)

One person who tested positive last month after traveling to China has since been cleared and another indeterminate case was also cleared. The numbers do not reflect testing done by commercial laboratories and it is unclear when data from those labs will be publicly available.

The county is updating testing numbers and results daily Monday through Saturday and that information can be found here. Public Health is not reporting out the results of tests conducted at commercial laboratories and it remains unclear how or when those would be released to the public.

California, as of 6 p.m. March 18, has a total of 675 positive cases and 16 deaths (including one non-California resident). As of the same time, officials also reported that 16,900 tests had been conducted statewide, with results still pending on about 10,000 of them. According to the California Department of Public Health, that total does not include passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship currently docked in Oakland.

What to watch for:

The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Emergency warning signs needing immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to awaken and bluish lips or face.

In an emergency situation:

Call ahead to the emergency room or inform the 911 operator of the possibility of a COVID-19 infection and, if possible, put on a face mask. St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals have opened tents on their campuses to begin screening patients who have “significant” symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus. The general hours of operation for the tents is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but that is subject to change.

Symptoms or possible exposure:

In the case of a possible exposure with symptoms — fever and cough or shortness of breath — contact your doctor’s office or the county Department of Health and Human Services, which has a hotline that can be reached during business hours at covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at hhsphb@co.humbldt.ca.us or at (707) 445-6200.

St. Joseph Health has also set up a virtual assessment tool as an aid to assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at www.providence.org/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus-advisory.

For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.

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