Public Health Confirms 10 New COVID-19 Cases; FDA Recommends Emergency Authorization Use of J&J Booster Dose

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Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 10 new COVID-19 cases, with no additional deaths or hospitalizations reported.

Public Health also reported that an advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend the FDA authorize emergency use for a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for adults 18 and older and authorize Moderna boosters for certain high-risk groups.

The committee also discussed data on using a booster of a different vaccine type from the one used in the primary series, commonly called “mixing and matching," but did not make a recommendation.

The FDA is expected to make an official decision on boosters for both vaccines soon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is then expected to meet sometime in the next week to discuss who will be recommended to receive them. 

The new cases come after laboratories processed 372 samples with a test-positivity rate of 11.16 percent. 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 and 15.2 percent in September.

A state database shows 15 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with five under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

According to the county's dashboard, 58 percent of the local population is now fully vaccinated, with nearly 72 percent of those 12 and older having received at least one dose. 
Public Health reported today that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 19.9, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, just under 20 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days, adding that the current seven-day average case rate for vaccinated individuals is 8 per 100,000 residents, while the case rate for unvaccinated residents is more than four times higher at 34 per 100,000.
unvaccinated_v_vaccinated_graph_covid_results.jpg

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently published a study indicating unvaccinated individuals are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than their fully vaccinated counterparts.

Last week, the CDC recommended Pfizer booster doses for certain at-risk groups, including people 65 and older, others with certain underlying medical conditions and those at "increased risk for COVID-19 exposure" due to their occupational or instructional settings.

Last month, Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman announced that due to staffing limitations, Public Health will shift its resources away from communitywide contact tracing to places with the most vulnerable populations and with greater ability to control the spread of the virus through vaccination, masking, distancing and ventilation, including schools, long-term care facilities, shelters and other congregate living settings.

National, state and local health officials advise that vaccination remains 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.

Miranda — Saturday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Sunday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
College of the Redwoods (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Monday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
 $25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Weitchpec — Tuesday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Yurok Tribal Office (CA-96)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 19, 3 to 5 p.m.
Public Health Office (77 Walnut Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (727 Cedar St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Orick — Thursday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Orick Elementary School (120918 US-101) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Trinidad — Thursday, Oct. 21, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

     Veterans Hall (1018 H St.)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
     PCR and rapid testing available

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,015 with 410 hospitalizations and 108 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 and 15.2 percent in September.

Nationwide, more than 44.7 million cases have been confirmed with 720,228 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.5 million cases and 70,150 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 JIC's report below.
Oct. 15, 2021 - FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Boosters; Official Decision Expected Next Week

An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted unanimously today to recommend emergency use authorization for a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for adults 18 and older. The committee yesterday recommended that the agency authorize Moderna boosters for certain high-risk groups.

The committee also discussed data on using a booster of a different vaccine type from the one used in the primary series, commonly called “mixing and matching, but did not make a recommendation.

The agency is expected to make an official decision on boosters for both vaccines sometime in the coming days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is then expected to meet sometime in the next week to discuss who will be recommended to receive them. More details will be released as they become available.

10 New Cases Reported; No Hospitalizations or Deaths

Humboldt County Public Health reported 10 additional cases of COVID-19 today, bringing to 9,015 the number of residents who have tested positive for the virus.  No hospitalizations or deaths were reported.

Since the last weekly data update on Oct. 8, the county has recorded 182 new cases. Two deaths were reported during that same period, including a fully vaccinated person over the age of 80 and an unvaccinated person in their 70s.

Five hospitalizations were reported over the last week, including one fully vaccinated person in their 70s. Age ranges of the four unvaccinated individuals who were hospitalized are one person in their 40s, one in their 60s and two in their 70s. 

The seven-day average case rate in Humboldt County is currently 19.9, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, just under 20 residents tested positive daily over the last seven days. The average case rate varies considerably depending on vaccination status, as illustrated by the graph below, depicting average weekly case rates since Dec. 2020 in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated residents. 

The current seven-day average case rate for vaccinated individuals is 8 per 100,000 residents, while the case rate for unvaccinated residents is more than four times higher at 34 per 100,000. Though cases have fallen from their peaks, rates for both groups remain higher than any time prior to the surge in late summer. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph

Health officials continue to urge residents, particularly those who are unvaccinated, to get tested if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Testing is available through OptumServe seven days a week at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka. Mobile testing sites are scheduled throughout the county most weekdays. For more information about testing, go to humboldtgov.org/covidtestregistration.

The county’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. Appointments for Public Health vaccination clinics are not required but are recommended due to an increase in demand for additional doses and boosters.

Residents who receive their first or second dose at a vaccination clinic located at a Public Health facility in Eureka, Willow Creek or Garberville can choose a $25 Renner Petroleum or Coming Attractions Theatres gift card. Incentives are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sign up in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov. For instructions in English and Spanish on how to use My Turn, go to humboldtgov.org/VaccineInfo.

See the schedule below for specific clinic dates, times, locations and available services:

Miranda — Saturday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Sunday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
College of the Redwoods (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Monday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Weitchpec — Tuesday, Oct. 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Yurok Tribal Office (CA-96)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 19, 3 to 5 p.m.
Public Health Office (77 Walnut Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (727 Cedar St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Orick — Thursday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Orick Elementary School (120918 US-101)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Trinidad — Thursday, Oct. 21, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Veterans Hall (1018 H St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Check availability of a specific vaccine at local pharmacies at vaccines.gov, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a nearby pharmacy offering vaccines.

Pfizer is authorized for those 12 and older, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older. County residents age 16 and 17 can receive a vaccination at a Public Health clinic without a parent or guardian physically present as long as they have a signed consent form. Children under 16 still must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.

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