Public Health Confirms 58 New COVID-19 Cases, Seven New Hospitalizations

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A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test. - PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Public health
  • A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test.

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 58 new COVID-19 cases — making 295 so far this week — and seven new hospitalizations today.

Today's cases — which were confirmed after laboratories processed 531 samples with a test-positivity rate of 10.9 percent — came after a brutal August, which saw more than 2,000 new cases locally, eclipsing the combined totals for the post-holiday surge months of December and January. August also saw records of 98 new hospitalizations and 22 deaths, accounting for 30 percent of the total hospitalizations and 29 percent of the total deaths recorded locally through the duration of the 18-month pandemic.

With cases continuing to surge, officials quoted in today's press release from the county urged residents to reconsider any potential travel plans or gatherings over the upcoming Labor Day weekend, especially if they involve unvaccinated people.

“In light of record hospitalizations in our county and the urgent need to help reduce exposures to COVID-19 in our schools, we ask all who are unvaccinated, including unvaccinated children, to stay home this holiday weekend," Health Officer Ian Hoffman said in the release. "The last thing we want to see in our community is another spike in cases like we saw following the winter holidays.”

Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools Christ Hartley urged the same, as local schools just opened to in-person instruction.

"We are walking a fragile line and need to to do our collective best to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community," he said in the release.

A state database shows 37 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally with nine under intensive care, as hospital capacity remains an acute concern among health officials.

After recording a test-positivity rate of 10.1 percent in July — the highest for any month since the pandemic began — the rate in Humboldt County jumped to 15.9 percent in August, far outpacing state (4.7 percent) and national (10.6 percent) rates.

With an unprecedented rate of hospitalizations locally, Hoffman and other officials have repeatedly urged residents to get vaccinated, saying they remain very effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death. Hoffman noted that's reflected in the county's current hospitalization census.

"The vast majority are the unvaccinated," he said.

According to the county's dashboard, 52.4 percent of local residents are now fully vaccinated, with another 6.85 percent having received one dose. While the average daily case rates among fully vaccinated residents have dropped sharply since the county reimplemented a mandatory masking order Aug. 7 — falling from 28 cases per 100,000 residents to 16 — rates among unvaccinated residents remain critically high at 83 per 100,000 residents.

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Last month, the county also reported that due to the record-high case volume, it will be making some changes to its dashboard and data collection practices moving forward. Specifically, the county will drop the "cases cleared" section of its dashboard because it's become too time consuming to track all patients through their illnesses, while also discontinuing updates to its "transmission type" section because "data show the virus is widespread in our communities to the extent that it is frequently impossible" to determine how someone was infected.


The recent spike in cases and a corresponding threat to local hospital capacity prompted Health Officer Ian Hoffman to announce a new countywide masking mandate that went into effect Aug. 7.

National, state and local health officials advise that vaccination remains an incredibly safe and effective protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COIVD-19, and the county has a host of no-cost clinics scheduled over the next week. (See the full schedule below.)

The case surge is also impacting local testing capacity, public health reports, with the county's OptumServe site and local pharmacies struggling to meet demand. The county announced today that it is expanding testing capacity locally and will open a new Eureka location to offer no-cost testing "most weekdays." Additionally, OptumServe, which provides no-cost testing seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka, also holds testing clinics fonce a week in McKinleyville, Fortuna, Hoopa and Arcata. Due to high demand, appointments are encouraged and can be made here.

According to a data tracker run by the nonprofit news organization CalMatters, Humboldt's COVID-19 hospitalization rate is 27.1 patients per 100,000 residents.

Del Norte County, meanwhile, once had the worst hospitalization rate in California and still remains among the counties with the highest rates in the state, with 15 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including four under intensive care, out of a population of around 29,000, which is equivalent to 46.7 hospitalized COVID-19 patients per 100,000 residents.

Last month, Del Norte County's only hospital, Sutter Coast Hospital, announced it was opening two surge tents to treat patients while canceling all non-emergent procedures in the hospital, and issued a plea to local residents to follow public health recommendations and get vaccinated. (Read more here.)

Public Health is urging residents who have yet to do so to get their COVID-19 vaccines, as it is the only protection against severe illness and death from the virus. This week's Public Health vaccine clinics include Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson doses. The full schedule includes:

Eureka – Thursday, Sept. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
College of the Redwoods (7351 Tompkins Hill Road) Moderna/Pfizer

McKinleyville – Friday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Six Rivers Brewery (1300 Central Ave.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Samoa – Friday, Sept. 3, from 3:30 to 6 p.m.
Humboldt Bay Social Club (900 New Navy Base Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

To make an appointment in advance or view additional vaccination opportunities and to request help with transportation, visit www.vaccines.gov or www.myturn.ca.gov.

As of today, Humboldt County had confirmed 7,169 cases, with 338 hospitalizations and 75 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

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 before inching back up to 5.9 percent in April. In May, it jumped to 8.3 percent but fell back to 5.9 percent in June. In July, it rose to 10.1 percent before jumping to 15.9 percent in August.

Nationwide, more than 39.2 million cases have been confirmed with 638,689 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.2 million cases and 65,430 related deaths have been confirmed in California, according to the Department of Public Health.

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's Joint Information Center release below:

Sept. 1, 2021 - Health and School Officials Caution Against Holiday Travel, Gatherings
Fifty-eight new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Humboldt County today. The total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus now stands at 7,169.

Seven new hospitalizations were also reported today. The age ranges of those hospitalized are as follows:

One person in their 30s
One person in their 50s
One person in their 60s
Three people in their 70s
One person over the age of 80.
Local health and school officials urge the community to stay safe over the upcoming Labor Day weekend and to reconsider travel plans and avoid large gatherings, especially if they or their family members are unvaccinated.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman said, “In light of record hospitalizations in our county and the urgent need to help reduce exposures to COVID-19 in our schools, we ask all who are unvaccinated, including unvaccinated children, to stay home this holiday weekend. The last thing we want to see in our community is another spike in cases like we saw following the winter holidays.”

Dr. Roberta Luskin-Hawk, Chief Executive for Providence in Humboldt County, appealed to the community on behalf of local hospitals. “Due to the high transmissibility of the Delta variant in our county, the safest way to enjoy the Labor Day weekend this year is for those who remain unvaccinated to avoid travel and large group settings,” she said. “Our caregivers ask you to be safe and want to remind you that vaccination is the safest way to protect against the spread of the virus.”

Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools Chris Hartley urged the community to do its part to ensure schools remain safely open. “Humboldt County schools are open and have started the school year with in-person instruction. However, we are walking a fragile line and need to do our collective best to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We join Public Health in encouraging unvaccinated people to limit travel over the upcoming Labor Day weekend as this may help reduce further increase of COVID-19 cases in our county.”

While some people who are fully vaccinated do become infected with the virus, health officials widely agree getting vaccinated is the most effective way to prevent severe outcomes from COVID-19. Immunocompromised individuals who received mRNA vaccine Moderna or Pfizer are advised to get a third dose of the same vaccine to build a strong response to the virus.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be offered on Thursday, Sept. 2, at the Public Health vaccination clinic at College of the Redwoods. Public Health has additional clinics planned this week, and walk-ins are welcome. For those who would like to make an appointment in advance, go to MyTurn.ca.gov.

See the schedule of upcoming Public Health clinics below:

Eureka – Thursday, Sept. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
College of the Redwoods – Main Parking Lot (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Moderna/Pfizer

McKinleyville – Friday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Six Rivers Brewery (1300 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Samoa – Friday, Sept. 3, from 3:30 to 6 p.m.
Humboldt Bay Social Club (900 New Navy Base Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

To check availability of particular vaccines at local pharmacies, visit vaccines.gov, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a pharmacy offering vaccines nearby. Most pharmacies allow walk-ins.

Pfizer is authorized for those 12 and older, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Full protection from vaccination is achieved two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose series or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

The COVID-19 testing site in Hoopa will be closed tomorrow due to the Knob Fire. Testing is unaffected at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka and is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. To save time, register in advance at lhi.care/covidtesting or call 888-634-1123. Test results are usually available two to four days later. See mobile testing schedule at humboldtgov.org/2787/Test-Registration.

View the Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download data from a previous time.



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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