Public Health Confirms 9 New COVID-19 Cases, 3 New Hospitalizations

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Humboldt County Public Health confirmed nine new COVID-19 cases today, making 53 so far this week, as well as three new hospitalizations.

According to a state database, 13 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally — up from 11 yesterday — including four receiving intensive care.

Officials have blamed the recent surge in cases, which saw a combined 267 cases confirmed in the past two weeks, on the virus' B.1.1.7 variant, also known as the UK variant, which is up to 50 percent more contagious and said to be widespread locally.

Public Health also reported today that 54 percent of eligible residents — everyone age 16 and older — have received at least one dose of vaccine to date.

Today's cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 326 samples with a test-positivity rate of 2.8 percent, bringing the county's cumulative case total to 3,903.

Public Health reported Friday that it would receive 6,360 doses of vaccine this week — 3,894 of Pfizer, 2,116 of Moderna and 350 of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson. Of those, Public Health plans to administer more than 4,900 doses at second-dose mass vaccination clinics next week. That leaves about 1,100 for first doses, in addition to the 350 Johnson & Johnson doses, with nearly a third of eligible local residents now fully vaccinated.

Monday, Public Health announced it will hold a mass-vaccination clinic in Rio Dell from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department. (People are urged to schedule an appointment at www.myturn.ca.gov.)

The state of California also updated its COVID-19 risk tiers Tuesday and, despite escalating case rates, kept Humboldt County in the "moderate" or orange tier it entered last month, 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 state data showed that Humboldt County has a test positive rate of 6.4 percent (compared to 3.1 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 12.8 per 100,000 compared to the prior week's 5.9. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.3 percent test-positivity rate and 4.2 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 3,903 cases, with 167 hospitalizations and 39 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,720 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. Since then, it has jumped to more than 7 percent.

Nationwide, more than 32.3 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 575,491 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 60,862 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:

May 5, 2021 - Nine New Cases Reported; 54% of Residents 16+ Have Received at Least One Vaccine Dose

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported today, and one previously reported case has been determined through a confirmatory PCR test to be negative and has been removed from the count. The total number of county residents who have tested positive now stands at 3,903.

Humboldt County Public Health and other approved local vaccinators have administered 98,226 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine data on the Humboldt County Data Dashboard has been updated. Some highlights include:

60,462 Humboldt County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, meaning they have some protection against the virus. That represents 45% of the total population and 54% of the county’s population age 16 and older who currently qualify for vaccination.
About 37% of residents 16 and over are fully vaccinated, and 31% of the county’s total population is fully vaccinated.
70% of county residents age 65 and older are fully vaccinated.
Nearly 1 in 5 residents in the 20 to 29 age group — which represents the largest number of local cases — is fully vaccinated.
Public Health will hold a Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic for county residents age 18 and older at the Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department (50 Center St.) tomorrow, Thursday, from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Sign up in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov.

Many local pharmacies are also offering vaccination. To streamline the scheduling process and eliminate the need to check multiple websites, the federal government developed a single website to check vaccine availability at all participating pharmacies. Please note that the website’s search function defaults to a 25-mile radius. To view more local options, expand the search to 50 miles when prompted to enter a ZIP code. Go to vaccines.gov to sign up.

Beginning today, vaccines.gov will replace the list of participating pharmacies in daily news releases.

The Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center will dismantle the Alternate Care Site (ACS) at Redwood Acres. The site was established early in the pandemic to handle a surge in hospitalizations and, if needed, could have treated up to 90 COVID-19-positive patients.

Emergency Services Manager Ryan Derby said the ACS was created out of an abundance of caution in an effort to preserve the local health care system. “We’re grateful it was there during some of the most uncertain times of the pandemic, but we now have a better grip on hospital capacity as it relates to this virus,” Derby said. “Due to the work of local health care providers to increase internal capacity, along with advanced planning, we feel it is safe and responsible to fully demobilize the ACS.”


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.


Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination: MyTurn.ca.gov
Check for vaccine availability at a local pharmacy: Vaccines.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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