Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 12 new COVID-19 cases today and reported the county's 33rd COVID-related death, of a resident in their 80s. The county also reported a new hospitalization.
Today's cases, reported as the county was moved into the state's less restrictive red "substantial" risk tier, came after labs processed 126 samples with a test-positivity rate of 9.5 percent.
According to the county's dashboard
, nine local residents are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Local available intensive care unit capacity, meanwhile, sits at 25 percent.
When the state of California updated its COVID risk tier assignments today, it moved Humboldt County into the state's red tier for the first time since January, as local officials had predicted.
The new designation means some businesses and organizations can reopen indoor operations, including restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and places of worship, at reduced capacity.
The state data shows the county with a seven-day average test-positive rate of 2.7 percent and a daily case rate of 6.3 per 100,000, compared to California overall, which has a 4.8 positivity rate and 15.2 cases per 100,000.
The new tier regulations take effect at midnight.
County Health Officer Ian Hoffman told the board of supervisors this morning that he was optimistic about where the county was headed and that the move to the red tier “is likely to stick.”
“We feel this is a much better position than we were in January when we made it into the red tier,” he said, noting that at the time case counts were very high overall and county just made it into the less restrictive tier by the smallest of margins. Now, Hoffman said, those data sets are trending in a positive direction although hospitalizations rates are high overall, which may be because Humboldt is “still seeing the tail end of the surge.”
The county's Joint Information Center also reported Friday that the state Department of Public Health has released updates guidelines for youth and adult recreational sports, which allow some to resume with safety measures in place in counties with case relates below an average of 14 new cases confirmed daily per 100,000 residents. The measures will take effect next Friday and the county will release additional information before then, according to the release.
Last Thursday, the county announced it had confirmed the presence of a never-before-seen COVID-19 variation in 16 cases associated with the catastrophic outbreak at Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness. Read more about that here
Vaccination efforts, meanwhile, continue to move slowly forward, with residents over the age of 70, healthcare workers, teachers and first responders currently eligible to receive their shots. In a press release yesterday, the Joint Information Center reported that the county is planning three large vaccination clinics this week to administer 2,500 doses — including 1,000 first doses and 1,500 second doses.
The clinics remain by invitation only and residents are urged to complete the county's vaccination interest form
to be notified when they are eligible.
Residents are urged to continue to follow COVID safety guidelines as vaccinations roll out, which could take months.
To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 3,136 cases, with 133 hospitalizations and 33 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.
The county dashboard lists 2,975 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.
The county’s test positivity rate has gone from 3.6 percent in November, to 7.3 percent in December, to 9.9 percent in January. Through the first 23 days of February, the test-positivity rate sits at 6.9 percent.
Nationwide, more than 28 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 498,993 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control
. In California, 3.5 million cases have been confirmed with 49,563 deaths, according to the Department of Public Health
The state has issued a 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 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 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 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's release below:
Feb. 23, 2021 - One Death, 12 New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; firstname.lastname@example.org ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A 33rd Humboldt County resident has died with COVID-19, and 12 new cases of the virus were reported today. The total number of county residents who have tested positive now stands at 3,136.
The person who died was in their 80s. Humboldt County Public Health and Emergency Operations Center staff extend their condolences to the community member’s friends and family.
The California Department of Public Health is releasing updates to its Places of Worship guidance following recent judicial rulings that allow indoor services with limited capacity. Humboldt County was reassigned today to the “Red” or Substantial tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” Indoor capacity at Places of Worship remains at 25%.
The updated guidance focuses on safety measures for singing, chanting, playing wind instruments or engaging in similar indoor activities at Places of Worship. Under the Red tier, those include:
Face coverings are worn at all times.
Physical distance from spectators, congregants and other performers is maintained at all times.
Performers count toward the capacity limit.
A negative PCR test 72 hours prior to the service is strongly encouraged.
Ventilation is improved to the extent possible.
For recorded performances intended for later use at a service or ceremony, performers may sing, chant or play wind instruments without a face covering if the following conditions are met:
Each performer has taken a PCR test and gotten a negative result 72 hours prior to the recording session.
All performers maintain 6 feet of distance.
Anyone else involved in the recording (i.e. videographer) wears face coverings at all times.
Please note this guidance also applies to cultural ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, but does not extend to restaurants or other business sectors.
The CDPH website states the full guidance is “in the process of being updated.” To read current guidance for all tiers, go to covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/#worship and click on “Places of worship and cultural ceremonies.”
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 email@example.com or calling 707-441-5000.
Local COVID-19 vaccine information: humboldtgov.org/vaccineinfo
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/dashboard
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert