Public Health Reports 347 New COVID-19 Cases, Three New Hospitalizations

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PUBLIC HEALTH
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Humboldt County Public Health today reported that 347 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed since Thursday, with three new hospitalizations, including one of a local resident in their 20s.

Today's cases come on the heels of 614 confirmed last week, which were down from 1,055 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.

Through the first 14 days of February, the county has reported 1,435 new cases of the virus, a 27-percent decrease from the 1,966 reported through the first 14 days of January.

Tuesday, Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman told the county board of supervisors he will lift the county's mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in all indoor public spaces Feb. 16, when state officials plan to let a similar statewide order expire. Today's press release states school masking requirements will remain in effect statewide at least through Feb. 28, adding that state officials will assess data in the coming days before offering any updates on that front.

Health officials continue to encourage all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to mask in indoor, public spaces.

Public Health reported today that since Feb. 4, three COVID-19 deaths and five hospitalizations had been reported locally. None of the deaths and two of the hospitalizations were of fully vaccinated residents, according to Public Health.

According to data released today from public health, over the week ending Jan. 28, unvaccinated residents tested positive at a rate of 40 per 100,000 unvaccinated county residents, while fully vaccinated tested positive at a rate of 46 per 100,000 full vaccinated county residents. Public Health also reported Friday that between May 30, 2021, and Jan. 30, 18 fully vaccinated residents died of COVID-19 at an average age of 79, while 55 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 269 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 19 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 yesterday 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.

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.

Eureka — Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2 to 8 p.m.
Humboldt County Office of Education
Sequoia Conference Center (901 Myrtle Ave.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Backpack and gift card incentives for children and family
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

McKinleyville — Thursday, Feb. 17, 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.

Eureka — Friday, Feb. 18, 1 to 8 p.m.
Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No rapid testing available at this clinic. PCR testing offered through OptumServe by appointment on the lower floor of the Wharfinger Building.
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Redway — Saturday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Healy Senior Center (456 Briceland 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 — Monday, Feb. 21 — Closed for holiday

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 18,782 with 529 hospitalizations and 135 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 77.5 million cases have been confirmed with 916,977
deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 8.2 million cases and 82,026 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. 14, 2022 - 3 New Hospitalizations, 347 New Cases Since Thursday
Humboldt County Public Health reported today three new hospitalizations, a resident in their 20s, one in their 50s and another in their 70s. An additional 347 new cases were also reported since Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed positive cases of the virus in the county to 18,782. No fatalities were reported.

California’s indoor mask mandate will expire at the end of Tuesday for vaccinated individuals, and Humboldt County will align with the state and let its local indoor mask order expire at the same time. Those who are unvaccinated must still wear masks indoors in public after Feb. 15.

Universal school masking requirements will remain in effect statewide in California at least through Feb. 28. State officials will be assessing data and conditions in coming days, particularly case rates and test positivity, and on Feb. 28 state officials will provide further updates on a timeline for when masking in schools might relax.

“Masking requirements were never put in place to be there forever,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, at a news conference today. If data continues on a downward trend, the state could change school masking guidance from a requirement to a recommendation, Ghaly said. View the complete California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Guidance for the Use of Face Masks.

Fully vaccinated individuals are recommended to continue indoor masking in locations where the risk may be high. In areas with a high rate of community transmission, such as in counties like Humboldt, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone to continue to wear a mask in public indoor settings.

In specific higher risk settings, CDPH continues to require masks be worn by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. These 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.

Over the weekend, 41 individuals were vaccinated at three Public Health clinics held in Petrolia, Honeydew and Eureka.

Since the last data update on Feb. 4, the county has recorded 571 new cases of COVID-19 through Thursday, Feb. 10. Three new deaths were reported; none were fully vaccinated. Five new hospitalizations due to COVID-19 were reported. Three were unvaccinated and two were fully vaccinated. Age ranges of reported hospitalizations during that period are as follows:

1 person in their 30s
1 person in their 50s
2 people in their 60s
1 person aged 80 or older
Severe outcomes from COVID-19 are higher among unvaccinated individuals. The graphs below depict average weekly case rates and weekly hospitalizations and deaths in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated local residents.

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As depicted in the graph above for the period between May 30, 2021, and Jan. 30, 2022, 18 deaths of fully vaccinated Humboldt County residents from COVID-19 were reported. The average age of those deaths was 79. During that same period, 55 deaths of unvaccinated residents were reported. The average age of those deaths was 67. During that same period, 65 fully vaccinated residents were hospitalized with an average age of 73. An additional 269 unvaccinated individuals were hospitalized with an average age of 58. View a more detailed depiction of the hospitalization and death rates graph here.

The current seven-day average case rate in Humboldt County is approximately 60, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, approximately 60 tested positive daily over the last seven days. Case rates vary considerably by vaccination status, as illustrated in the graph below, which depicts average weekly case rates since January 2021 in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated residents.

document2.jpg

The most recent seven-day average case rate for the period ending Jan. 30, for fully vaccinated individuals is 46 per 100,000 residents, while the case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 40 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph here.

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 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.

Representatives from the True North Organizing Network will be at Public Health vaccination clinics scheduled on Thursday, Feb. 17, at the Church of the Joyful Healer in McKinleyville. Spanish-language translation will be provided on-site. Thanks to collaborations like these, more than 66% of Humboldt County’s Latino population is fully vaccinated, compared to the state’s metric of approximately 57%.

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.

Eureka — Tuesday, Feb. 15, 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 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 and older
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.

Eureka — Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2 to 8 p.m.
Humboldt County Office of Education
Sequoia Conference Center (901 Myrtle Ave.)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Backpack and gift card incentives for children and family
PCR and rapid testing available on a first-come first-served basis
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

McKinleyville — Thursday, Feb. 17, 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.

Eureka — Friday, Feb. 18, 1 to 8 p.m.
Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way)
Ages 5 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No rapid testing available at this clinic. PCR testing offered through OptumServe by appointment on the lower floor of the Wharfinger Building.
Appointments for vaccinations recommended.

Redway — Saturday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Healy Senior Center (456 Briceland 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 — Monday, Feb. 21 — Closed for holiday

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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