Humboldt Marks 25th COVID Death


Public Health reports a 25th Humboldt resident has died and 36 new cases were confirmed, bringing the county's total to 2,427.

Two cases reported previously were removed from the county's case tally, as one was a duplication and the other the result of a lab error, according to Public Health.

Today's tally makes 167 cases reported so far this week. Last week saw 232 positive tests on the heels of a record 269 a week earlier.

Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman said in a press release that his family had a strong connection with the person who died, making it hit particularly close to home for him.

"We should all do our part to limit additional infections from COVID-19 and hopefully prevent further loss of life from the virus until the vaccine is more widely available," he said.

Under state data released Tuesday, Humboldt County remains in the most restrictive purple "widespread" tier this week after a short stint in the less restrictive substantial risk zone.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 2,427 cases, with 82 hospitalizations and 25 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths. Eleven Humboldt County residents are currently hospitalized, according to the county's dashboard, including four under intensive care. Humboldt County's ICU capacity is listed at 25 percent.

The county dashboard lists 1,924 people as having "recovered" from the virus locally, though that just means they are no longer contagious and does not account for long-term health impacts, which local healthcare workers have told the Journal can be substantial, even in previously health patients.

Earlier this month, the state issued a health order that halted all elective surgeries to make more room for intensive care unit capacity in regions where hospital ICU capacity is at 0 percent. Those hospitals also now have the ability to transfer patients in and out of other regions, including the Northern California region.

The order doesn't currently affect Humboldt County but could very soon.

The state also issued an updated travel advisory strongly discouraging all non-essential travel and urging anyone returning from non essential, out-of-state travel needs to self-quarantine for a minimum of 10 days upon their return.

Meanwhile, the state’s stay home order, which divides California into five regions, is triggered throughout the region when its commutative available hospital intensive care unit capacity drops below 15 percent, as has already occurred in the rest of the state.

The data updated Tuesday reported the Northern California region had a combined 30.5 percent capacity, an increase from last week. If implemented locally, the stay home order will temporarily close bars, wineries, personal service salons, hair salons and barbershops, while retail stores will be limited to 20 percent capacity and restaurants will be limited to take-out and delivery only. Schools that have a waiver will be allowed to remain open to in-person instruction and critical infrastructure will remain open. The order also temporarily prohibits all non-essential travel.

In Humboldt County, healthcare workers have already said there are emergency room patients who have been waiting for days for transfers out of the area for specialized care because hospitals throughout the state don't have available beds.

Today's Humboldt County cases were confirmed after 230  samples were processed with a test-positivity rate of 15.7 percent.

The United States officially surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 deaths yesterday and has confirmed 24.1 million cases to date, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. California, meanwhile, has recorded 3 million COVID-19 cases with 34,433 deaths, including 694 reported today, according to the Department of Public Health.

While California has a case rate of 105.4 daily cases confirmed per 100,000 residents with a test positivity rate of 15.2 percent in data released today, Humboldt has a case rate of 18.3 cases per 100,000 (down from 25.2 in last week's report) and a 4.9 percent positivity rate, also a decrease.

Meanwhile, the county's Joint Information Center is urging locals to get tested, calling it "one of the most helpful things county residents can do for the community at large," because it allows Public Health to catch cases early and limit spread. The state-run OptumServe testing site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka is open seven days a week and no-cost appointments can be made by clicking here or calling (888) 634-1123.

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 [email protected] or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at [email protected] or at (707) 445-6200.

St. Joseph Health has also set up a virtual assessment tool as an aid to assessing risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found 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 release below:

Jan. 20, 2021 - One Death, 36 New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; [email protected] ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A Humboldt County resident has died with COVID-19, and 36 new cases of COVID-19 were reported today. One previously recorded case was incorrectly reported as positive due to a lab error and another was determined to be a duplicate, so the total number of county residents who have tested positive is 2,427.

The individual who died was in their 50s. Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman extends his sympathies to all families who have been impacted by the virus, and he noted that this loss hit particularly close to home because of the strong connection his family had with the person who died. “We should all do our part to limit additional infections from COVID-19 and hopefully prevent further loss of life from this virus until the vaccine is more widely available,” he said.

Dr. Hoffman added that the batch of Moderna vaccine that was paused for distribution by the state is still under investigation by the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the manufacturer.

Dr. Hoffman said that while this pause has delayed administration of a significant number of doses allocated to Humboldt County, efforts to build local capacity for vaccinations continue. On Tuesday, 19 additional Disaster Service Workers were sworn in as volunteer vaccinators, for a total of 40 over the last week. “This pandemic has impacted all of us, and it will take all of us to get out of it,” Dr. Hoffman said. “I’d like to give my heartfelt thanks to all these volunteers who have stepped up to respond to the community’s need.”

Volunteers are still needed. Those interested in volunteering can call the Community Information Line at 707-441-5000 or email [email protected] for more information.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit or Local information is available at or during business hours by contacting [email protected] or calling 707-441-5000.

Local COVID-19 vaccine information:
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard:
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