Public Health Confirms Another COVID-19 Death, One Hospitalization and 35 Cases

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PUBLIC HEALTH
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Humboldt County Public Health reported another COVID-19 death today, while also confirming 35 new cases of the virus and one new hospitalization locally.

The county also reported today that 35 previously reported cases of the virus were removed from the county's cumulative count, leaving it at 18,192 cases confirmed through the duration of the pandemic.

Today's cases come on the heels of 1,055 confirmed last week, which were down from 1,779 the week before, as the recent local surge fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant appears to be on the back end of its peak, which saw 6,438 new cases of the virus — more than 37 percent of the county's cumulative case count through 23 months — confirmed in January.

Earlier today, Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman told the county board of supervisors he will lift the county's mask mandate for vaccinated people in all indoor public spaces Feb. 15, when state officials plan to let a similar statewide order expire. Hoffman said he still expects strict mandates will remain in place for schools, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, and health officials continue to recommend they be worn by everyone in all indoor settings in high-transmission areas — a designation that includes Humboldt County.

Public Health reported Friday that since Jan. 28 three COVID-19 deaths and nine hospitalizations have been reported locally. Two of the deaths and two of the hospitalizations were of fully vaccinated residents, according to Public Health.

According to data released Friday from public health, over the week ending Jan. 28, unvaccinated residents tested positive at a rate of 57 per 100,000 county residents while fully vaccinated tested positive at a rate of 60 per 100,000 county residents. (It's worth noting here that 64 percent of the county's population is fully vaccinated.) Public Health also reported today that between May 30, 2021, and Jan. 23, 17 fully vaccinated residents died of COVID-19 at an average age of 79, while 52 unvaccinated residents died from the virus at an average age of 67. Over the same period, 65 fully vaccinated people were hospitalized locally due to the virus compared to 266 unvaccinated people, with the average age of hospitalized COVID-19 patients 15 years older for unvaccinated individuals than their fully vaccinated counterparts.

A state database shows 17 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with two under intensive care as of yesterday. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients but had fallen to nine patients Dec. 29. Across the nation, the Omicron surge has hit hospitals hard, with an influx of COVID-19 patients needing care, healthcare workers being infected and patients coming into the hospital for non COVID care testing positive for the virus at high rates, forcing hospitals to follow labor-intensive protocols to prevent spread to other patients and staff.

The federal government is providing four free at-home COVID tests per household to increase testing capacity in response to the recent surge in cases. These can be ordered online, free of charge, at www.COVIDTests.gov. Additionally, as of Jan. 15, federal law requires health insurers t0 cover the up-front costs of at-home COVID-19 tests purchased at pharmacies or other retailers.

Early studies indicate the Omicron variant is able to both infect and be transmitted by fully vaccinated people at roughly the same rates as with their unvaccinated counterparts, hastening its spread through the country, state and county. However, public health officials and doctors continue to report that the vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization, especially in people who have received their booster doses. Locally, just 42 percent of eligible residents have received their boosters, according to this report from CalMatters.

Public Health reported last week that approximately 64 percent of the county's total population is now fully vaccinated, with 73 percent of its vaccine eligible population — those 5 and older — fully vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released data indicating unvaccinated adults are more than eight times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who are vaccinated, and Public Health reports locally unvaccinated residents are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized with the virus than their vaccinated counterparts.

Public Health officials continue to stress that the best way for residents to protect themselves from COVID-19 and variants like Omicron is to get vaccinated, wear masks indoors and in crowded places, ventilate indoor spaces, get tested immediately regardless of vaccination status if any cold- or flu-like symptoms develop and stay home when sick. Eligible residents, health officials say, should get their booster shots as soon as possible.

The 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.


All residents ages 12 and older are now eligible to receive vaccine boosters if it has been at least five months since they completed their primary vaccination series.

National, state and local health officials advise that vaccination remains incredibly safe and effective protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, and the county has a host of no-cost clinics scheduled over the next week. With the upcoming holidays and high demand for testing and vaccine, Public Health highly recommends scheduling an appointment for either.

Rio Dell — Wednesday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department (50 Center St.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

McKinleyville — Thursday, Feb. 10, 2 to 7 p.m.
Church of the Joyful Healer (1944 Central Ave.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Petrolia — Friday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Mattole Valley Resource Center Family Clinic (167 Sherman St.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Honeydew — Friday, Feb. 11, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School Family Clinic (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Eureka — Saturday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Jefferson Center (1000 B St.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Eureka — Monday, Feb. 14, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 12 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments recommended.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 18,200 with 523 hospitalizations and 133 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 76.7 million cases have been confirmed with 903,038
deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 8.1 million cases and 80,640 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.

Feb. 8, 2022 - 1 Death, 1 New Hospitalization, 35 New Cases
Humboldt County Public Health reported today the death of a resident in their 50s due to COVID-19. Staff in the Department Operations Center extend their condolences to all who have lost a loved one to the virus.

One new hospitalization, a resident in their 30s, was reported. Thirty-five new cases were also reported, and an additional 43 cases were removed from the case count. Because Public Health counts people and not tests, staff conduct ongoing manual de-duplication efforts to make sure a person who has received more than one test is being counted only once. The total number of confirmed positive cases of the virus in the county stands at 18,192.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he will let a statewide indoor mask mandate expire next week for people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who are unvaccinated must still wear masks indoors in public settings after the mandate ends Feb. 15. Fully vaccinated individuals are recommended to continue indoor masking in locations where the risk may be high.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman said the county will align with the state and let the local indoor mask order expire at the same time.

After Feb. 15, mask requirements will revert back to the previous California Department of Public Health (CDPH) face covering guidance, which continues to require masks be worn by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in specific higher risk settings. Those include indoor locations in K-12 schools, childcare and health care settings, public transportation and transit hubs, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term, adult and senior care settings. Workplaces will continue to follow the COVID-19 prevention standards set by CalOSHA.

Residents, particularly those who are unvaccinated, are urged to continue to take protective measures against COVID-19 by washing hands frequently, wearing a well-fitted mask approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distancing six feet from others when possible and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

CDPH recommends individuals stay home and away from others and get tested if they become sick or experience COVID-19 symptoms. These symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue or muscle aches and often mimic common cold or flu illnesses.

Vaccines remain readily available and, as always, Humboldt County’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. While walk-ins are allowed at all Public Health clinics and some pharmacy vaccination sites, appointments are recommended for all vaccinations and are the best way to ensure a shot is available during your visit. Appointments can be made at MyTurn.ca.gov.

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

See the schedule below for specific Public Health vaccination and testing clinic dates, times, locations and available services. Questions about clinic services can be directed to the Joint Information Center at 1-707-441-5000.

Rio Dell — Wednesday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department (50 W. Center St.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

McKinleyville — Thursday, Feb. 10, 2 to 7 p.m.
Church of the Joyful Healer (1944 Central Ave.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Petrolia — Friday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Mattole Valley Resource Center Family Clinic (167 Sherman St.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Honeydew — Friday, Feb. 11, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School Family Clinic (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Eureka — Saturday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Jefferson Center (1000 B St.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Eureka — Monday, Feb. 14, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 12 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments recommended.

Eureka — Tuesday, Feb. 15, 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 12 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments recommended.

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Feb. 15, 1:15 to 4 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11
Pfizer only
No testing available
Appointments recommended.

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (77 Walnut Way)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments for vaccinations 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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