Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 19 more COVID-19 cases today, making 73 this week, obliterating last week's record for the most cases recorded in since the pandemic began and continuing a sharp caseload spike.
Humboldt County has now confirmed 160 cases so far in November, the most in any single months since the pandemic began and a huge leap from the 59 cases confirmed in the entirety of October.
In a press release, Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich again urged residents to do what they can to slow the spread of the virus.
“If we do not follow the safety guidelines that have been in place for months, especially as we head into Thanksgiving, we will see more illness in our friends and loved ones,” she said. “This is a time when we must take on the responsibility of protecting and caring for one another.”
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Frankovich and her counterparts on the state and national level are urging the residents not to travel, invite out-of-town guests or gather outside their household in an effort to turn the tide on the country's rapid COVID spike, which launched the Humboldt from a "minimal" risk ranking, right over "moderate" and into the state's "substantial" risk category on Monday, when Gov. Gavin Newsom raised the risk tiers of multiple California counties
That will mean a host of new restrictions for many business across the region. (Read more here
.) The continuing surge in cases has also stoked alarm that Humboldt County could find itself in the state's most restrictive "widespread" risk tier when its status is next re-evaluated.
Meanwhile, starting on Saturday, residents of California counties in the state’s purple — or “widespread” COVID-19 risk tier — will be under a limited stay-at-home order issued by Newsom
that prohibits “non-essential work, movement and gatherings” between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a news release. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”
County health officials have been warning residents for weeks that Humboldt held a fragile grasp on the "minimal" tier and now are emphasizing how the recent unprecedented spread is due mainly to folk traveling out of town or hosting guests as well as indoor gatherings of multiple households.
Both the county of Humboldt and the California Department of Public Health, which last week issued a travel advisory strongly discouraging non-essential travel and urging residents to stay close to home when possible.
Those who do travel are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“All travel is risky. That’s been the case for quite some time, but especially now as we see case rates climbing all over the state and country," Frankovich said in a news release this week. "Self-quarantining is an important way to keep infections from spreading, but the safest thing to do for our community’s long-term health is to cancel or postpone travel that’s not essential.”
Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 469 samples with a positivity rate of 4 percent.
To date, 730 Humboldt County residents have been confirmed to have the virus, with 41 having been hospitalized at some point in their care and nine confirmed COVID-related fatalities.
When the state last adjusted its COVID-19 tiers Monday, Humboldt had an adjusted case rate of 4.8 — which the state describes as a seven-day average of daily cases with a seven-day lag time of daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people — and a positivity rate of 2.0 percent. Overall, the state stood at a case rate of 16.5 per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 5.0 percent.
Nationwide, 11.7 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed to date, including 185,095 yesterday, with 251,715 fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control
. Statewide, the California Department of Public Health reports
that 1.1 million cases have been confirmed to date with 18,577 fatalities.
The county is encouraging those who are asymptomatic to sign up for a free COVID test at the OptumServe site in Eureka. Appointments can be made by calling 888-634-1123 or visit lhi.care/covidtesting
The Humboldt County Data Dashboard
includes 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 the county.
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 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 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