Public Health Confirms Six New COVID-19 Cases on Eve of Holiday Weekend

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PUBLIC HEALTH
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Humboldt County Public Health has confirmed six new COVID-19 cases, continuing a recent spike and making 30 new cases locally over the past two weeks.

The county's Joint Information Center announced the tally this morning heading into the holiday weekend after telling media yesterday they would not be announcing test results. The six new cases bring the county's tally to 144.

The new cases put Humboldt County perilously close to crossing one of the indicators the governor's office has set that counties may need to pull back and reinstitute stronger shelter-in-place restrictions. That threshold is that counties should not record more than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period, which equates to 34 cases for Humboldt's population. But that's only one indicator, as officials will also look at other factors, including the number of unique clusters of infection, available intensive care unit beds, whether healthcare workers have been infected and availability of personal protective equipment for hospital staff. Nonetheless, it's definitely an indicator the virus is circulating in Humboldt County, and a far cry from the local stretch of just three new cases over a 14-day period in April.

Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich noted in a press release that roughly a quarter of the county's total cases have come in the past two weeks.

"This has been driven largely by residents gathering and visiting between households both locally and while traveling, as well as by illness occurring in the cannabis industry workforce,” Frankovich said. “In order to avoid having Humboldt County become yet one more COVID-19 hotspot in this state, prevention is key. It is still within our power to change the course of this pandemic.”

Entering the July Fourth holiday weekend, Frankovich said the county still has a chance to get it right and control the spread of the illness so Humboldt's limited healthcare system does not become overwhelmed.

“During a pandemic, people die not only from the disease itself but from the inability to get the care they need for COVID-19 or any other serious illness or injury,” she said. “Please do your part to make sure that your family members, friends and neighbors have access to the care they need, when they need it.”

 To date, 16 local residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19 at some point in their care, including four people who died of the disease, all residents of Alder bay Assisted Living.

Areas across the nation and in California are seeing rapid increases in not only the number of cases but hospitalizations and many are stepping back on reopenings, with the governor having recently ordered bars, beaches and dine-in restaurants closed in swaths of the state.

Nationally, 54,357 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed Thursday, while another 725 deaths were recording, making 2.7 million people who have been infected in the U.S. with the disease and 128,024 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 4,056 new cases were confirmed Thursday, bringing the statewide tally to 240,195, with 6,163 fatalities, according to California Department of Public Health.


Humboldt County Public Health is urging residents who aren't experiencing symptoms to get tested free of charge at the mobile testing site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. (People experiencing symptoms should contact a healthcare provider, officials say.) Asymptomatic individuals can make an appointment to be tested by visiting https://Lhi.care/covidtesting or calling (888) 634-1123. Tests will be administered free of charge, whether or not people have health insurance.

Basics of COVID-19


The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell.

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.

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 here.

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.

Read the county's release below and view its case dashboard here:
July 3, 2020 - Six New Cases Reported Today, Data Dashboard to be Updated Monday
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 7pm Opens in new window
Six additional cases of COVID-19 were reported today, bringing to 144 the total number of Humboldt County residents who have tested positive for the virus. The number of hospitalizations and deaths in the county remains unchanged.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said it is important to note that roughly one quarter of the county’s total cases have been reported in the past two weeks alone. “This has been driven largely by residents gathering and visiting between households both locally and while traveling, as well as by illness occurring in the cannabis industry workforce,” Frankovich said. “In order to avoid having Humboldt County become yet one more COVID-19 hotspot in this state, prevention is key. It is still within our power to change the course of this pandemic.”

Dr. Frankovich added that this Fourth of July holiday weekend is a chance for the community to get it right, control the spread of illness so that our healthcare system does not get overwhelmed. “During a pandemic, people die not only from the disease itself but from the inability to get the care they need for COVID-19 or any other serious illness or injury,” she said. “Please do your part to make sure that your family members, friends and neighbors have access to the care they need, when they need it.”

Full lab results will not be updated on the humboldtgov.org homepage or the Humboldt County COVID-19 data dashboard until Monday, July 6. The Call Center will reopen Monday at 8 a.m. The Joint Information Center staff wishes everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July.

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



Editor's note: This story was updated from a previous version to correct the total number of cases confirmed in Humboldt County to date. The Journal regrets the error.

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