Public Health Reports Another COVID-19 Death, 26 New Cases

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Humboldt County has recorded another COVID-19 related death, Public Health announced this afternoon in a grim report that also included a new hospitalization and 26 additional cases confirmed since Friday, which seems to push the county past a state threshold and into another tier of restrictions.

The death — which the Joint Information Center said was of someone in their 70s who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms — comes on the heels of another announced Friday of a local resident in their 70s who'd died in an out-of-area medical facility earlier this month. They are the first two local deaths related to COVID-19 since four residents of Alder Bay Assisted Living in a two-week span in late May.

Today's cases make 473 to date and 85 so far this month. The county recorded 32 COVID-19 cases in June, followed by 100 in July and 155 last month. Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said the increase in case numbers is "very concerning."

"If we continue at this pace, we are at risk of moving to the 'substantial' or Red Tier in the new state framework," Frankovich said in a press release. "This increase not only has implications for the health of our community, it can also impact our local businesses, many of whom would need to downsize their operations or, in some instances, close operations.

Frankovich emphasized the importance of prevention measures.

"There are tools available to all of us to limit spread of the virus," she said in the release. "Wearing facial coverings, practicing frequent and thorough handwashing and avoiding gatherings with those outside of your household continue to be the best ways to protect yourself and your family."

Public Health announced last week that at least 22 recent cases have been tied to a gathering of about 50 people in Southern Humboldt about two and a half weeks ago, taking the opportunity to warn local residents against hosting or attending social gatherings outside their households, saying such gatherings are responsible for a high percentage of local cases. Read more here.

The current countywide case total stands at 473 and Humboldt remains in the “moderate” category under the state's new four-tiered system, with local numbers at about 3 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 1.1 percent, putting it between the “substantial” and “minimal” risk tiers. It should be noted, however, that those numbers are for the week ending Aug. 29, when Humboldt County confirmed 23 new cases and it has now confirmed an average of six cases a day — or 4.4 per 100,000 residents — over the past 14 days. The state's website says data will be reviewed weekly and tiers updated on Tuesdays, though it does not appear either was updated Sept. 8.
The state's "substantial" risk tier — which includes counties averaging between 4 and seven new cases a day per 100,000 residents or test positivity rates of 5 to 8 percent — brings tighter restrictions, including further limiting indoor restaurant and gym capacities and closing some "non-essential indoor business operations," like office. If the county were to move into the "substantial risk" tier, it would then need to record numbers in the "moderate" tier for 21 consecutive days before the state would loosen the added restrictions.

Statewide, the testing positivity rate sits at about 5.3 percent — slightly below the national rate of 5.5 percent — with an average of 9.1 new COVID-19 cases confirmed daily per 100,000 residents.

The 26 new cases reported today were confirmed after laboratories processed 605 samples, for a positivity rate of 4.3 percent.

To date, Humboldt County has seen 26 COVID-19 hospitalizations and six deaths. Nationally, more than 6.5 million cases have been confirmed with 193,705 fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control, including 757,778 cases and 14,385 deaths in California.


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.
Sept. 14, 2020 - Sixth COVID-Related Death, 26 New Cases Reported Since Friday

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A sixth Humboldt County resident diagnosed with COVID-19 has died.

This individual, in their 70s, had been hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms. Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich expressed her sympathies, saying her heart goes out to this person’s loved ones and everyone who is mourning this loss.

Twenty-six new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since Friday, bringing to 473 the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus.

“The recent increase in case counts is very concerning,” Dr. Frankovich said. “If we continue at this pace, we are at risk of moving to the ‘Substantial’ or Red Tier in the new state framework. This increase not only has implications for the health of our community, it can also impact our local businesses, many of whom would need to downsize their operations or, in some instances, close operations.”

Dr. Frankovich emphasized the importance of adhering to prevention measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. “There are tools available to all of us to limit spread of this virus. Wearing facial coverings, practicing frequent and thorough handwashing and avoiding gatherings with those outside of your household continue to be the best ways to protect yourself and your family,” she said.

Today’s alert level stands at two or level yellow. Visit humboldtgov.org/dashboard to view the county’s Alert Level Assessment tool.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, 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.


Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/dashboard,
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19,
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19,
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19, and
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert

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