Humboldt Confirms 20 New COVID-19 Cases, Youth Sports Cleared to Resume


Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 20 new COVID-19 cases, making 114 for the week.

The week's tally is an uptick from last week's 85 cases but still a far cry from the record 269 confirmed in the first week of January. Today's cases were confirmed after labs processed 357 samples with a test-positivity rate of 5.6 percent.

According to the county's dashboard, eight local residents are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Local available intensive care unit capacity, meanwhile, has risen to 21.4 percent.

The county's Joint Information Center also today reported that the state's updated guidance for youth and recreational adult sports take effect today, allowing the resumption of competitions in high- and low-contact sports in county's with case rates lower than an average of 14 new daily cases per 100,000 residents. (See more on the guidance in the county's press release below.)

Public Health also announced yesterday that Humboldt County has been allocated 4,740 additional COVID-19 vaccination doses for next week. To date, the county has administered 26,789 vaccine doses, with 7,374 local residents having been fully vaccinated and another 12,041 having received the first of the required two doses.

The county issued a press release this morning advising that while vaccine side effects are more frequently seen after individuals receive their second dose, the vaccines are safe and effective.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that safety monitoring for the two vaccines approved for emergency use has been 'the most intense and comprehensive in U.S. history,'" the press release states.

While mild side effects are relatively common, adverse reactions are not.

“It is not uncommon for people to experience a sore arm and swelling where the shot was given, or symptoms such as fever, body aches and fatigue as part of the process of building immunity,” said Humboldt County Public Health Nurse Have Phillips in the release. “This is especially true after the second dose, when the body's immune response is stronger. Severe reactions to the vaccine, requiring medical care, are rare and usually happen within the first 24 hours after getting the shot.”

When the state of California updated its COVID risk tier assignments Tuesday, 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.

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.

As is the case throughout the state and the nation, vaccination efforts continue to move slowly forward locally, with residents over the age of 70, healthcare workers, teachers and first responders currently eligible to receive their shots. The clinics remain by invitation only to control exposure risks and ensure vaccinations are administered according to the county's priority tiers, with residents urged to complete the county's vaccination interest form to be notified when they are eligible.

Residents are also urged to continue to follow COVID safety guidelines as vaccinations roll out, which could take months.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 3,180 cases, with 133 hospitalizations and 33 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,021 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 healthy 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 26 days of February, the test-positivity rate sits at 6.5 percent.

Nationwide, more than 28.2 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 506,834 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.5 million cases have been confirmed with 51,382 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 [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's release below:
Feb. 26, 2021 - 20 New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; [email protected] ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A total of 3,180 Humboldt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 after 20 additional cases were reported today.

Updated Youth and Adult Sports Guidance Takes Effect Today
The California Department of Public Health has released updated guidance to allow youth and recreational adult sports to resume practice and competition in all tiers of the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” when certain conditions are met.

Beginning today, the state will allow competitions of high- and low-contact sports to resume regardless of indoor or outdoor setting if a county’s case rate is 14 or lower. Spectators are not allowed for any sport, but the state does allow age-appropriate supervision of youth sports by immediate family members. All school- and community-based teams and organizations are expected to follow the state’s guidance.

General guidance for all sports includes the following:

All coaches and players are strongly encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.
Players must wear face coverings when not actively participating in the sport.
Coaches, support staff and observers must wear face coverings at all times.
Drinks and other personal items or equipment should not be shared.
Mixing between households prior to or after any practice or competition must follow the state’s gathering guidance.
Capacity limits for indoor sports activities should follow Gyms and Fitness Centers, which is currently 10% under the Red tier.
Indoor activities such as team dinners or film study sessions are prohibited.
Out-of-state games and tournaments are not allowed.
Hygiene and sanitation should be encouraged at all times.
Physical distance during play should be implemented to the greatest extent possible.
When a county’s case rate is 7-14 per 100,000 residents, the state additionally requires all coaches and players age 13 and over in the high-contact sports of football, rugby and water polo to be tested weekly. When competing in these sports, testing should be performed with results made available within 24 hours of play. For a list of no-cost testing options, go to

Read the guidance in full at

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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Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert:


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