Public Health Confirms 37th Local COVID Death, Walk-in Vaccine Clinics Available Tomorrow and Sunday

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A 37th Humboldt County resident has died with COVID-19, Public Health reported today.

The resident who died was in their 70s, Public Health announced in a press release, while also confirming seven new cases of the virus. The new cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 240 samples, bringing the county's cumulative count to 3,579.

Public Health also announced that walk-in vaccination clinics for the Pfizer vaccine will be available tomorrow, April 16, and Sunday, April 18, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center (321 Dr. M.L.K., Jr. Parkway), adding that the clinics are on a first-come, first-served basis and supply could run out. The clinics are also accepting minors 16 years and older — the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine that has been approved for use in those 16 and older — but must provide proof of age and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Appointments for other Pfizer clinics are available this weekend through MyTurn.ca.gov, and all county residents age 16 and over can register. 

Last week, the county opened vaccine eligibility to all local residents age 16 and over almost a week in advance of the state's planned expansion and announced that the county was slated to receive 11,000 vaccine doses this week, a record to date. Anyone wanting to get vaccinated is encouraged to sign up on the state's My Turn vaccine registry.

On Tuesday, Public Health announced it was following federal guidance and "pausing" administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after six women in other areas of the country reported getting blood clots within weeks of receiving the vaccine.

The county's pause of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will continue for the next week while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reviews additional information about the six cases.

Humboldt County still sits the state's moderate or "orange" tier it entered last week, which allowed businesses such as restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to increase indoor operations while allowing others — including bowling alleys and family fun centers — to open.

The change came after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state had met its goal of administering 4 million doses to socio-economically challenged areas, a trigger for increasing the epidemiological tier thresholds.

The state data released on Tuesday showed that Humboldt County has a test positive rate of 1.1 percent (compared to 2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 2 per 100,000 compared to the prior week's 4.6. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.8 percent test-positivity rate and 4.8 cases per 100,000.

On April 1, the state cleared outdoor sports events and live performances 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.)

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 3,579 cases, with 137 hospitalizations and 37 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,458 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. In March, it dropped to 4.5 percent. Through the first seven days of April, it sat at 1.9 percent.

Nationwide, more than 31 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 561,356 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 59,508 deaths, according to the Department of Public Health.

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:
April 15, 2021 - One Death, 7 New Cases Reported; Walk-In Vaccination Available Friday and Sunday

One Death, 7 New Cases Reported Today

A Humboldt County resident has died after testing positive for COVID-19, and seven new cases of the virus were reported today. A total of 3,579 county residents have tested positive for the virus.

The individual who died was in their 70s. Humboldt County Public Health and emergency response staff offer their condolences to the person’s friends, loved ones and care providers and to all who have lost loved ones to the virus.

Walk-In Vaccination Available Friday and Sunday

Humboldt County Public Health and its health care partners are announcing walk-in vaccination clinic hours from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 16, and Sunday, April 18 at the Arcata Community Center located at 321 Dr. M.L.K., Jr. Pkwy. in Arcata. Those interested can register onsite to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Please note that openings are first-come, first-served, and vaccine supply could run out. Minors can receive only the Pfizer vaccine and must have proof of age and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Appointments for other Pfizer clinics are available this weekend through MyTurn.ca.gov, and all county residents age 16 and over can register.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Still on Hold

The pause in administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is set to continue for a week while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reviews additional information about six cases of a rare but serious blood clot that developed within six to 13 days after receiving the one-dose vaccine.

View the Humboldt County Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download today’s data.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 707-441-5000.

Some Safeway, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s and Walmart locations are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Learn who is eligible for vaccination and see if there are appointments available at one of these locations by clicking on the links below.

Safeway: mhealthappointments.com/covidappt
CVS Pharmacy: cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine?icid=cvs-home-hero1-link2-coronavirus-vaccine
Rite Aid: https://www.riteaid.com/covid-19
Walgreen’s: walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19
Walmart: walmart.com/cp/1228302

Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination: MyTurn.ca.gov
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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