Vaccine Allocations Tick Upward as Public Health Announces Nine New COVID-19 Cases

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Humboldt County Public Health reported today that it expects to receive nearly 7,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses from the state next week, representing a 25-percent increase from this week's allocation.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that California will open up vaccination eligibility to all residents age 50 and older April 1, with those age 16 and older then becoming eligible beginning April 15, based on an expected increase in vaccination supply. County health officials, however, warned that a "significant increase in supply" would be necessary to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 16.

Public Health also reported nine new confirmed COVID-19 cases today after laboratories processed 363 samples with a test-positivity rate of 2.5 percent.

The county reported Tuesday that it and partners are expanding capacity of vaccination clinics this week after receiving 1,655 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Providence health care system. Four large-scale clinics will be held this week, the county reported, estimating that more than 3,500 doses will be administered.

In the latest update of vaccine numbers, the county reported that 49,378 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered. More than 18,800 local residents had been fully vaccinated and 23.4 percent of local residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, while more than 55 percent of residents age 75 and older are fully vaccinated, the county reported.

Vaccination clinics remain by appointment only and residents are urged to fill out a vaccine interest form so they can be notified when they are eligible.

When the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers Tuesday, Humboldt County remained in the red "substantial" tier, meaning restaurants, movie theaters, churches and other organizations are allowed to continue limited indoor operations.

Data shows the county with a seven-day average test-positivity rate of 2.3 percent and a daily case rate of 5.3 per 100,000, both of which decreased from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 2 percent test-positivity rate and 5.5 cases per 100,000.

The state has announced that beginning next week outdoor sports events and live performances will be cleared to reopen with fans and spectators, so long as facial coverings are worn at all times, venues follow tier-based capacity restrictions and provide reserved, assigned seating. (Read more here.)

Currently, local residents over the age of 65, healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, food and agricultural workers, and residents ages 16 to 65 with one of a specific list of high-risk medical conditions or disabilities are eligible to receive their shots, with the first vaccine clinic for the food and ag sector set for next week. 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 3,441 cases, with 136 hospitalizations and 34 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,341 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 and 9.9 percent in January, before dropping to 6.5 percent in February. Through the first 19 days of March, it had dropped to 5.1 percent.

Nationwide, more than 29.8 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 542,584 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 57,091 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 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 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:


Mar. 25, 2021 - County Allocated 6,910 Vaccine Doses for Next Week; 9 New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Humboldt County has been allocated a total of 6,910 doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the State of California for next week.

Of those doses, 3,400 are Moderna and 3,510 are Pfizer. No doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine were allocated to the county for next week. Humboldt County Public Health will use 700 Moderna doses and 834 Pfizer doses for next week’s large-scale vaccination clinics, at which Public Health expects to pilot the state’s MyTurn (myturn.ca.gov/) vaccine notification and scheduling program in anticipation of widescale adoption in April. The remainder of the doses will be allocated to other approved local vaccinators.

The total number of Humboldt County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 now stands at 3,441 after nine new cases were reported today.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced plans to expand vaccination priority groups next month based on “expected supply increases.” The governor said everyone age 50 and over will be eligible starting April 1 and those over the age of 16 will be eligible beginning April 15, though the state acknowledged that “even with expanded vaccine supplies, it is expected to take several months for willing Californians to be vaccinated.”

Humboldt County Public Health officials said local vaccination efforts continue to focus on groups prioritized early on by the state. They pointed out that clinics for workers in agricultural production began last week, and some grocery, restaurant and other food workers are receiving appointment invitations through their employers this week with more expected in the coming weeks. Health officials went on to say that current allocations would not allow for expansion to additional groups without the significant increase in supply forecast by the governor today.

Read more about the state’s announcement at http://www.oesnews.com/state-expands-vaccine-eligibility-to-50-californians-starting-april-1-and-all-individuals-16-on-april-15-based-on-expected-supply-increases/.

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.

Some Safeway and CVS Pharmacy locations are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments. See if there are appointments available for your age group or sector at one of these locations by clicking on the links below.

Safeway: https://www.mhealthappointments.com/covidappt

CVS Pharmacy: https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine?icid=cvs-home-hero1-link2-coronavirus-vaccine.

Local COVID-19 vaccine information: humboldtgov.org/VaccineInfo
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/Dashboard
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert

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