Public Health Confirms County's 40th COVID Death, 45 New Cases

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Humboldt County Public Health reported a 40th local resident — a person in their 60s — has died with COVID-19, while also reporting it has confirmed 45 new cases of the virus since Friday.

One new hospitalization was also reported today. According to a state database, nine people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including four receiving intensive care.

Public Health confirmed 86 new cases of the virus last week amid a surge that had seen 267 cases confirmed in the previous two weeks. Officials are pointing to the local presence of the B.1.1.7 variant as a reason for the recentsurge in cases, with Public Health reporting Friday that genomic sequencing has identified more than 40 local cases of the variant, which is associated with a 50 percent increase in transmission and more severe illness.

Today's cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 601 samples with a test-positivity rate of 7.5 percent, bringing the county's cumulative case count to 3,980.
Health officials continue to urge Humboldt residents to get tested, with more screening sites opened throughout the region.

Public Health also reported last week that it has requested 6,600 vaccine doses next week through Blue Shield, the state's third-party administrator, though there is no guarantee it will receive all of them. Residents needing to schedule a first or second dose appointment are encouraged to sign up through www.vaccines.gov.

The state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers last week 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 3,980 cases, with 165 hospitalizations and 40 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,773 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, it then jumped to 7 percent.

Nationwide, more than 32.5 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 578,945 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 61,027 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 and other newly opened screening site information can be found here

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 10, 2021 - 1 Death, 45 New Cases Reported Since Friday; Vaccine Clinic Planned Friday in Samoa

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A Humboldt County resident has died with COVID-19, and 45 new cases of the virus have been reported since Friday. A total of 3,980 county residents have tested positive for the virus.

The person who died was in their 60s, marking the county’s 40th death related to COVID-19. Humboldt County Public Health and the Emergency Operations Center staff share their sympathies with all community members who have lost friends and loved ones to the virus.

One previously reported hospitalization of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was determined to be unrelated to the virus and has been removed from the county’s count. Public Health is reporting one new hospitalization today for a cumulative total of 165.

Humboldt County Public Health will hold a Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic on Friday, May 14, at the Samoa Women’s Club located at 115 Rideout Ave. in Samoa. Clinic hours are scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. This clinic is for county residents age 18 and older. Walk-ins are welcome, but registration is strongly encouraged. Sign up in advance at myturn.ca.gov.

The daily and weekly datasets on the Humboldt County Data Dashboard have been updated. Some highlights include:

The county’s confirmed case rate remains lower than the state and nation at 2,910 per 100,000 residents. California’s rate is 9,249 per 100,000 and the nationwide rate is 9,915 per 100,000 residents.
The 80+ age group represents 2.5% of total cases, 26.5% of hospitalizations and 22.5% of deaths locally.
The 20-29 age group continues to represent the highest number of local cases at about 23%.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently released updated guidance for the use of facial coverings, public health recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals and a handout with information about reducing COVID-19 transmission at gatherings. Follow the links below to view the updates.

Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings: cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx
Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals: cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID-19-Public-Health-Recommendations-for-Fully-Vaccinated-People.aspx
Guidance for the Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission for Gatherings: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Guidance-for-the-Prevention-of-COVID-19-Transmission-for-Gatherings—en.pdf
CDPH has also released fact sheets in multiple languages with basic information about the three vaccines currently authorized for emergency use. Follow the links below to learn more.

English: cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Which-Vaccine-is-Right-for-Me-Fact-Sheet.pdf
Spanish: cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Which-Vaccine-is-Right-for-Me-Fact-Sheet-es.pdf
Hmong: cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Which-Vaccine-is-Right-for-Me-Fact-Sheet—hmn.pdf.

For more information or to find materials in more languages, go to cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Get-the-Facts-on-Vaccines.aspx#Downloadable.


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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