Public Health Confirms 18 New Cases, Two New Hospitalizations as HumCo Stays in Orange Tier


Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 18 new COVID-19 cases today, making 81 so far this week, as well as two new hospitalizations, while California announced Humboldt remains in its orange COVID-19 risk tier.

The new cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 204 samples with a test-positivity rate of 8.8 percent and come after the county confirmed 138 cases last week as a part of a recent surge.

Officials are pointing to the local presence of the B.1.1.7 variant as a reason for the recent spike in cases, with Public Health reporting last week 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.

According to a state database, nine people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including three receiving intensive care.

Public Health reported last week that the county had administered more than 107,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 55 percent of residents ages 16 and older having received at least one dose and 44 percent of those eligible fully vaccinated.

Health officials continue to urge Humboldt residents to get tested, with more screening sites opened throughout the region.

Public Health also reported Friday that it has requested 1,170 additional doses  of the Pfizer next week through Blue Shield, the state's third-party administrator, though there is no guarantee it will receive all of them. The county specifically requested the Pfizer doses in preparation of the expansion of vaccination to 12 to 15 year olds, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently authorized. Residents needing to schedule a first or second dose appointment are encouraged to sign up through

The county announced it will hold three Pfizer clinics in the coming weeks at College of the Redwoods on May 20, May 27 and June 2, all from 2 to 6 p.m.

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 and a daily case rate of nine per 100,000 compared to the prior week's eight. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.1 percent test-positivity rate and 3.2 cases per 100,000.

"Only three California counties fared worse than Humboldt in terms of case rate, and only two had a higher positivity rate," reads the county's press release today.

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.) Friday, the county announced it will no longer be certifying event plans, but urged organizers to follow safety measures and contact local jurisdictions with questions.

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 4,152 cases, with 177 hospitalizations and 42 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,878 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 32.7 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 583,596 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 61,513 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 [email protected] or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at [email protected] 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 18, 2021 - 18 New Cases Reported Today; Humboldt Remains in ‘Orange’ Tier
707-441-5000 ; [email protected] ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Humboldt County saw 18 additional cases of COVID-19 reported today, and one previously reported case was removed after it was determined to be a false positive. The total number of county residents who have tested positive now stands at 4,152.

The California Department of Public Health today announced that Humboldt County will remain in the “Orange” or Moderate tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with an adjusted case rate of 9 and a seven-day average positivity rate of 4.2%. Only three California counties fared worse than Humboldt in terms of case rate, and only two had a higher positivity rate.

Humboldt County Public Health will hold three Pfizer first-dose vaccination clinics, starting this Thursday, May 20, with additional clinics planned for Thursday, May 27, and Wednesday, June 2. Clinics are held from 2 to 6 p.m. at College of the Redwoods located at 7351 Tompkins Hill Road in Eureka.

All county residents age 12 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine. A parent or guardian must accompany minor children and provide written consent for vaccination at the clinic.

Appointments are encouraged but not required. Sign up in advance at

Public health officials urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and emphasize that the vaccine offers the best protection against COVID-19. Vaccines work with the body’s immune system to generate antibodies that fight off the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that while contracting the virus may offer some natural protection, the “risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.”

Health officials encourage anyone with questions about vaccination to speak with a trusted medical provider. County residents can also speak confidentially with a Public Health nurse by calling the Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000.

View the Humboldt County Data Dashboard online at, or go to to download today’s data.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit or Local information is available at or by contacting [email protected] or calling 707-441-5000.

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