Another COVID-19 Death, 21 New Cases

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Humboldt County Public Health Microbiologist Annayal Yikum prepares patient samples for the COVID-19 testing process. - SUBMITTED
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  • Humboldt County Public Health Microbiologist Annayal Yikum prepares patient samples for the COVID-19 testing process.

Humboldt County Public Health announced this afternoon that another local resident has died of COVID-19, while also confirming 21 new cases of the virus and one new hospitalization.

The resident who died was reportedly in their 50s, while the new hospitalizations were of residents in their 40s and 80s, according to Public Health.

Today's cases come after laboratories processed 141 samples with a test-positivity rate of 14.9 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. In October, it dipped to 12.1 percent but rose to 14.2 percent in November — a concerning upward trend as Humboldt County enters the holiday season with its pressures and pulls to travel and gather.

Last November, Humboldt County confirmed 329 new cases with a test-positivity rate of 3.6 percent, kicking off a holiday case surge that saw those numbers jump to 865 new cases with a 7.3 percent test-positivity rate in December, followed by 995 and 9.9 percent last December.

Public Health is currently reminding residents to practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and plan safer gatherings, especially with the return of colder weather, upcoming holidays and more people traveling and spending time indoors.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated Humboldt County as an area of high community transmission and recommends holding gatherings outdoors when possible, limiting the number of participants in indoor gatherings, adjusting the indoor layout to allow for physical distancing and enhancing the ventilation of indoor spaces.

Public Health Officer Ian Hoffman went on family leave on Nov. 15 and is expected to return in a part-time capacity for the next few weeks before returning to his full-time role. In the meantime, Kate Estlin, a local family physician with a practice in Fortuna who also works as a hospitalist at Redwood Memorial and St. Joseph hospitals, had stepped in to serve as health officer in Hoffman’s absence.

A state database shows 14 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with three under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized boosters for all eligible adults who are at least six months past their second shot of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and two months past their shot of Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The FDA also recently authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5 to 11 years old and local pharmacies and pediatricians have begun making appointments, while Public Health announced it will hold several pediatric and family vaccination clinics. Appointments will be required and can be made on the state’s www.MyTurn.ca.gov vaccination portal. Boosters will not be available at these clinics.

Public Health reported Nov. 19 that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 15.8, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 15.8 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days. But the case rate varies by vaccination status.

The seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals was nine per 100,000 residents per day, while the average daily case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 16 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph here.

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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.

The county's OptumServe’s main testing site at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka and its mobile testing site in Hoopa will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 25, for Thanksgiving. The Wharfinger Building and OptumServe’s mobile testing site in Arcata will be closed Friday, Nov. 26.

The COVID-19 Joint Information Center (441-5000) will also be closed Thursday and Friday for the holiday. English and Spanish speaking call takers will resume regular operations on Monday to answer questions related to COVID-19 vaccination, testing and preventive measures. Questions emailed to covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us over the holiday will also be responded to on Monday.

Public Health’s testing and vaccination clinics will be closed for Thanksgiving and through the weekend and will resume on Monday. Here is the county's vaccine clinic schedule for next week: 

Garberville — Wednesday, Dec. 1, 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 are available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Eureka Family Clinic— Thursday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m
Jefferson Community Center (1000 B St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members. No boosters.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka— Friday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way).
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka Family Clinic – Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eureka High School Cafeteria (1915 J St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members. No boosters.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Fortuna Family Clinic – Sunday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fortuna Resource Center (2089 Newburg Road).
Ages 5-18 and family members. No boosters.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka — Monday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Clinic appointments full.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
Appointment required. No testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose.

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (77 Walnut Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 10,100 with 448 hospitalizations and 119 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 48.1 million cases have been confirmed with 777,703 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.8 million cases and 73,712 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.

Watch the county's COVID-19 update and read the JIC's report below.

Nov. 30, 2021 - 1 Death, 2 Hospitalizations, 21 New Cases Reported
Humboldt County Public Health reported today the death of a resident in their 50s from COVID-19. Staff in the Department Operations Center extend their condolences to the families, friends and caregivers of those who have died and all who have lost a loved one to the virus.

Twenty-one new cases of COVID-19 were reported, bringing to 10,100 the total number of residents who have tested positive. Two hospitalizations were also reported, a resident in their 40s and another aged 80 or older.

Public Health officials in the county are continuing to monitor the new Omicron variant as scientists gather data to determine if the rapidly spreading variant causes more serious illness or is better able to evade current vaccine protections.

While there are no known cases of the variant in the U.S., the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is monitoring for the presence of Omicron in the state through a public-private partnership program to detect variants through genetic sequencing.

The CDPH says residents can protect themselves from COVID-19 and the potential spread of variants like Omicron by getting vaccinated, wearing masks indoors, getting tested immediately regardless of vaccination status if any cold- or flu-like symptoms develop, and staying home when sick.

Public Health is continuing to urge all eligible residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and is offering family clinics this week that give priority to children aged 5 to 11 and provides family members a convenient way to get first or second doses and boosters.

All eligible adults aged 18 and older are encouraged to get a booster. Health officials also stress that those who are partially vaccinated should complete their vaccination series. Someone who is fully vaccinated is half as likely to pass on the infection as someone who is unvaccinated. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an unvaccinated person is nearly six times more likely to get COVID-19 and 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than a vaccinated person.

Vaccines, including boosters, are available at local pharmacies. To check the availability of a specific vaccine, visit the vaccines.gov page, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a nearby pharmacy offering vaccines.

Humboldt County’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. Although walk-ins are allowed at most regular Public Health clinics and many pharmacy vaccination sites, a sharp increase in demand for boosters has caused delays at some locations. As a result, appointments are required for pediatric clinics and for clinics at Public Health’s main office. Appointments are strongly recommended for all other clinics and are the best way to ensure a shot is available during your visit. Appointments can be made at MyTurn.ca.gov.

See the schedule below for specific Public Health vaccination and testing clinic dates, times, locations and available services:

Garberville — Wednesday, Dec. 1, 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 adults receiving a first or second dose.

Eureka Family Clinic— Thursday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m
Jefferson Community Center (1000 B St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members. No boosters.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka— Friday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way).
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka Family Clinic – Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eureka High School Cafeteria (1915 J St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members. No boosters.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Fortuna Family Clinic – Sunday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fortuna Resource Center (2089 Newburg Road).
Ages 5-18 and family members. No boosters.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka — Monday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Clinic appointments full.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
Appointment required. No testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose.
Appointments required.

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (77 Walnut Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose.
Appointments strongly recommended.

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 1-707-441-5000.



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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