County Remains in Orange Tier, Confirms Four New Cases

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Humboldt County Public Health confirmed four new COVID-19 cases today, as well as two new hospitalizations.

The four cases — the lowest daily total in more than a month — were confirmed after laboratories processed 84 samples with a test positivity rate of 4.8 percent. Yesterday, the county reported its 40th COVID-related death, along with 45 new cases confirmed since Friday.

According to a state database, six people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally.

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.

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. (More information about local vaccine clinics can be found in the press release at the bottom of this post.)

The state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers today 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 4.2 percent (down from 7.4 percent last week) and a daily case rate of eight per 100,000 compared to the prior week's 12.8. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.2 percent test-positivity rate and 3.7 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 3,984 cases, with 167 hospitalizations and 40 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,809 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 579,366 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 61,246 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 11, 2021 - Only 4 New Cases Reported Today; Humboldt Remains in ‘Orange’ Tier

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Only four new cases of COVID-19 were reported today in Humboldt County, bringing to 3,984 the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus.

Humboldt County Public Health officials say low case numbers are always good news but point out that only 84 tests were resulted in this reporting period. They went on to urge community residents, especially those who are unvaccinated, to continue to wear a face covering and avoid large gatherings, adding that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect oneself and the community from the virus.

A Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic is scheduled for Friday, May 14, at the Samoa Women’s Club. The club is located at 115 Rideout Ave. in Samoa, and hours are scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. This one-dose vaccine is authorized for county residents age 18 and older. Walk-ins are welcome, but registration is strongly encouraged and helps to prevent wasted doses. Sign up in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov. Read more about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/JnJ_factsheet.pdf.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet Wednesday to review the data, and health officials expect ACIP to authorize Pfizer for this age group by the end of this week or early next week. If authorized, this will be the only vaccine available for people ages 12 to 18.

In preparation for this expansion, Public Health is planning to hold a Pfizer vaccine clinic in the coming weeks, which will be posted to My Turn when details are finalized. Community residents who would prefer to get vaccinated sooner can schedule with their health care provider or go to vaccines.gov to check availability at local pharmacies.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that Humboldt County will remain in the “Orange” or Moderate tier under the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with an adjusted case rate of 7.9 and a positivity rate of 4.2%.

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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