A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee examines a COVID-19 test result.
Humboldt County Public Health announced no new positive tests today, leaving the county's tally at 52.
The announcement comes after the county recorded one positive case each Tuesday and Wednesday, the sole local positive cases over a week's span.
But testing remains limited. Today's results come after the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory processed 30 additional tests and outside laboratories processed another 19, for a total of 49.
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.
Humboldt County Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said she continues to expect to see more positive cases locally and that testing capacity remains an issue.
“We are continuing to focus on getting all of the pieces in place as identified by the governor’s recent address
, such as testing capacity and all aspects of preparedness," she said in the press release.
To date, Humboldt County has tested a little more than 1 percent of the local population, a bit ahead of the national rate and about twice the testing rate statewide. Nationwide, more than 670,000 cases have been confirmed with more than 34,000 deaths, including 24,400 cases in California and 821 deaths.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at email@example.com 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 16, 2020
Total new positive cases confirmed on April 16: 0
Daily COVID-19 case report for April 16
Total number of positive cases: 52
Total number of hospitalizations: 3
Total number of people tested by Public Health Laboratory: 931
Total number of people tested by all other sources: 622
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and commercial labs)
The Public Health Laboratory currently has a capacity of approximately 550 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.