One More Positive COVID Test Brings County Total to 52

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Testing supplies in the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory. - COURTESY OF HUMBOLDT COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
  • Courtesy of Humboldt County Department of Health and Human services
  • Testing supplies in the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory.

For the second day in a row — and just the second time in a week — Humboldt County Public Health has announced a new local COVID-19 case.

Today's results come after the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory processed 34 additional tests and outside laboratories processed another 15.

The county has reported 52 COVID-19 cases to date, with the majority — 28 — coming in a six-day period from March 30 to April 6. But the rate of positive tests has tapered sharply over the past week, with a combined five announced for April 5 and April 6, one April 7 and no others until sole positive tests yesterday and today. Yesterday, a Journal analysis of the limited testing data available found that the stretch of six consecutive days without a positive test coincided with a significant drop-off in samples tested at corporate laboratories.

“We have fully expected additional cases,” Humboldt County Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a press release yesterday. “It is important for everyone to follow the shelter-in-place order as well as the other measures recommended, including social distancing, masking, frequent hand washing and sanitizing, as well as good cleaning practices.”

Frankovich and Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal have repeatedly stressed the importance of local residents respecting the letter and spirit of the county's shelter-in-place order, staying in their homes and limiting essential outings, practicing social distancing measures and wearing facial coverings when they do have to leave home. The hope, Frankovich explains, is that these measures will slow Humboldt County's infection rate to the point that the number of active cases at any time — and the number of critically ill patients — does not overrun the local healthcare system, which has very limited capacity.











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, runny nose 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 the testing report copied below:

April 15, 2020

Total new positive cases confirmed on April 15: 1

Daily COVID-19 case report for April 15

Total number of positive cases: 52
Total number of hospitalizations: 3
Total number of people tested by Public Health Laboratory: 901

Total number of people tested by all other sources: 603
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and commercial labs)

The Public Health Laboratory currently has a capacity of approximately 600 tests and can process about 55 samples a day with an approximate turnaround time of 48 to 72 hours.

For the most recent information about COVID-19, visit CDC.gov or CDPH.ca.gov. For local information, visit humboldtgov.org, call 707-441-5000 or email covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us.

What do these numbers mean?

New positive cases—the number of test-confirmed positive cases since the previous report.
Total positive cases to date—the number of test-confirmed positive cases since the pandemic began, including people who have recovered from the illness.
Total hospitalizations to date—total number of COVID-positive people hospitalized since the pandemic began, including people who have been released.
Total Public Health Lab tests to date—number of people whose sample was tested by the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory.
Total commercial lab tests to date—total number of tests performed by LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics. These non-local labs have a slower turnaround time than our local lab, primarily due to the time it takes local samples to be shipped elsewhere for testing.
Public Health Lab test capacity—the approximate number of testing kits that are complete and ready to be administered. This number is decreased by testing and increased as additional supplies are acquired.
Public Health Lab turnaround time—the estimated amount of time it takes per testing run. Each run can include up to 20 samples; multiple batches can be run each day.
Transmission data
travel-acquired—nationally, internationally or regionally
contact to known case—an individual found to have been in direct contact with someone who tested positive for the virus
community transmission—spread without travel or known contact to any other positive case
under investigation—positive cases whose means of transmission has not yet been determined.
Notes on patient and demographic data

To protect the identity of people with COVID-19, their specific location of residence will not be disclosed. The Humboldt County Public Health Branch is legally responsible for protecting personal health information, including residence address, specific age, recent travel, the identities and locations of any contacts, the provider of medical treatment, the course of illness and any other information that might identify an individual with or exposed to the virus unless it serves the interests of public health to do so.

Although we understand it is of interest to residents, providing location and other demographic information to the general public does nothing to slow the spread of illness. Humboldt County is experiencing untraceable person-to-person transmission, also known as “community spread,” and there is no place that can be considered safe. To reduce your chances of acquiring or spreading COVID-19, avoid travel, wash your hands, keep yourself and your environment clean, follow the shelter-in-place order, and do not leave home for any reason unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.

The following case information is provided daily Monday through Saturday:

New positive cases
Total positive cases to date
Total hospitalizations to date
Total Public Health Lab tests to date
Total commercial lab tests to date
Public Health Lab test capacity, total and daily, and estimated turnaround time
Transmission data
travel-acquired
contact to known case
community transmission
under investigation
Additional information is provided each Friday:

Regional data
currently measured by percentage in densely populated area
soon to be represented instead by region after minimum thresholds of positive cases per region have been reached
Gender
Mean age
Test rates and positive test rates relative to the State of California.

Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19,
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19,
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19, and
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert


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