County Confirms Two New COVID-19 Cases

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Humboldt County Public Health reported two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today and also that a previously reported case has been reassigned to another county, bringing Humboldt's total case count to 561.

The county also announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has updated its definition of "close contact" to a COVID-19 case, now defining it as someone who was with 6 feet of known case for a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period starting from two days before the onset of symptoms or a positive test for asymptomatic cases.

Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a press release that the change illustrates one of the reasons the state of California is still not allowing large events, festivals or live performances of any kind.

“This change really highlights how the science is constantly evolving as we learn about this virus.” she said. “One of the things we do know is that the surest way to keep our businesses open and children in school is to follow state and local orders and refrain from hosting or attending live events, get-togethers or any other gathering that brings more than three households together.”

Under California Department of Public Health data released Tuesday, Humboldt County remains in the yellow or minimal tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with a positivity rate of 0.5 percent and an adjusted case rate of 1.

But health officials warn a spike in cases would be enough to push Humboldt back into a more restrictive tier.

Right now, under the lower risk category, most indoor businesses — including bars — can reopen but the county can put further restrictions in place, according to the state. Only seven other counties in California are currently in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.

Today's results came after 250 test samples were processed with a positivity rate of 0.8 percent. To date, Humboldt County has seen 36 hospitalizations and nine COVID-related deaths, the most recent a 38-year-old man.

According to Johns Hopkins University, nearly 8.4 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed nationally, including 222,940 deaths. Those include 877,784 cases in California, with 17,027 fatalities, according to California Department of Public Health.
The Humboldt County Data Dashboard was updated last week to include hospitalization rates by age group, death rates by age group and case totals by ZIP code, the latter of which are reported in "a range of 0 to 5 for case count until the area surpasses 5 total cases," according to a county news release.

After that threshold has been reached in a ZIP code, the exact number will be included.


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 news release below:


Oct. 22, 2020 - Two New Cases Reported Today; Previous Case Reassigned to County of Residence
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported today. A previous case was reassigned to the person’s county of residence. With that, Humboldt County’s total confirmed case count now stands at 561.

In related news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday updated its definition of a “close contact.” CDC now defines close contact as “Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.” Previous criteria defined close contact as 15 minutes of continuous rather than cumulative contact within 6 feet.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said that Public Health’s contact tracing teams have always considered the totality of someone’s interactions with an infected person to determine if they should be quarantined because of a suspected exposure. “This refined CDC definition is helpful as it provides clear language reflecting new COVID-19 transmission research findings,” she said.

Dr. Frankovich pointed out that this new language illustrates one of the reasons why the state has not yet allowed live performances, events and festivals that bring people into contact for short interactions over long periods.

“This change really highlights how the science is constantly evolving as we learn about this virus.” Dr. Frankovich said. “One of the things we do know is that the surest way to keep our businesses open and children in school is to follow state and local orders and refrain from hosting or attending live events, get-togethers or any other gathering that brings more than three households together.”

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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