Public Health: Humboldt Now Has 40 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

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Humboldt County Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich and Sheriff William Honsal talk COVID-19 at last night's virtual town hall meeting. - COURTESY OF DHHS
  • Courtesy of DHHS
  • Humboldt County Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich and Sheriff William Honsal talk COVID-19 at last night's virtual town hall meeting.
Humboldt County Public Health announced four additional local COVID-19 cases today, but also that it mistakenly reported a positive patient from a neighboring county as a local case yesterday, bringing Humboldt's current tally to an even 40.

Thirty-eight of those positive tests have been returned in the last 10 days, with 19 over the past four. Public Health is also now reporting it believes six of the cases are the result of community transmission, meaning the patients had not recently traveled outside Humboldt County and investigators were unable to confirm they had been in contact with a known positive case.

As cases spiked this week, Humboldt County officials have taken increasingly aggressive steps to halt the virus' spread. Monday, officials announced a modified shelter-in-place order and declared a local emergency. Thursday, they followed up with the recommendation that all local schools remain closed for the rest of the year and today Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich recommended all local residents wear face coverings when leaving home on essential outings.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Humboldt County has spiked sharply since the second positive test was reported March 20 in someone who had recently returned from traveling in a "high-risk" country. (The county's first positive test was announced Feb. 20 in someone who'd just returned from China and has since recovered.)

But the biggest spike has come this week, with three positive cases announced Monday, six Tuesday, one Wednesday, eight Thursday and four today. Frankovich said in a video posted this morning Humboldt County's high per-capita rate of positive cases locally is likely due to the fact that Humboldt has been testing patients at a higher rate than other areas of the state and country. While Humboldt has conducted 405 tests per 100,000 residents, she said the statewide rate is 70 per 100,000 and the national rate is 287 tests per 100,000 people.



Two of Humboldt's 37 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized to date but local officials have declined to provide any details on their condition. (In a video answering local media questions earlier today, Frankovich said there is currently only one local COVID-19 patient hospitalized. The Journal clarified with Public Health staff, who said the daily testing reports list the total number of hospitalizations to date, not the number of patients currently hospitalized.)

Statewide, as of April 2, California had recorded 10,701 positive cases, 2,188 hospitalizations and 237 deaths confirmed to be connected to COVID-19.


Basics of COVID-19
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.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has started a rumor-control webpage that can be found here.
For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.

See the full press release copied below:



April 3, 2020 - Four New Cases Confirmed Today

Four additional cases of COVID-19 were confirmed today by the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory (PHL).

One case confirmed April 2 was a sample from a person in a neighboring county whose test was conducted by the PHL. That positive case has been deducted from yesterday’s count, bringing to 40 the total number of Humboldt County residents who have tested positive for the virus.

Humboldt County has a testing rate of 649 per 100,000 residents, exceeding the national rate of 392 tests per 100,000 people. Confirmed cases in Humboldt County total 27 per 100,000 residents, while U.S. rates total 78 per 100,000 people.

The following information is based on the most recent data available for all confirmed cases:

Contact to a Known Case: 18
Travel-Acquired: 13
Community Transmission: 6
Under Investigation: 3

Approximately 84% of cases are located in or around Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville and Fortuna

Males: 43%
Females: 57%

Mean age: 44
Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich recommended all community members wear face coverings when leaving their homes on essential business, reinforcing new guidance from the California Department of Public Health. ““Face masks may help to decrease spread of infection within the community,” she said. “However, they are not a substitute for social distancing, handwashing and other measures.” Read more here: humboldtgov.org/civicalerts.aspx?AID=2662.

For the most recent information on COVID-19, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or during business hours by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 707-441-5000.



And the latest lab report:

April 3, 2020

Total new positive cases confirmed on April 3: 4

Daily COVID-19 case report for April 3

Total number of positive cases: 40*
Total number of hospitalizations: 2
*One case confirmed April 2 was from a neighboring county. That case has been deducted from Humboldt County’s overall count.

Total number of people tested by Public Health Laboratory: 501

Total number of people tested by all other sources: 448
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and commercial labs)

The Public Health Laboratory currently has a capacity of approximately 650 tests and can process about 50 samples a day with an approximate turnaround time of 48 to 72 hours.

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