Thursday, April 30, 2020

Public Health: No New Covid-19 Cases Found After 85 More Tests

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 4:37 PM

PUBLIC HEALTH
  • public health
With another 85 tests processed, Humboldt County Public Health announced this afternoon that there are no new confirmed local COVID-19 cases.

Today's results come after Public Health processed another 62 samples and corporate labs reported results from another 23. Of the 54 cases Humboldt County has confirmed to date, 52 of the patients have since recovered and are no longer in isolation.

Just four local samples have tested positive since April 7. With today's results, the county has now seen 2,244 residents tested — about 1.6 percent of the population.

Last week, county officials announced both a mandatory facial covering ordinance and the first steps toward efforts to reopen aspects of life in Humboldt County that have been shuttered by COVID-19. It also comes after county officials spent Thursday evening discussing local modeling projections for the first time, which show how, with shelter-in-place restrictions for the rest of the year, Humboldt County could see 28 COVID-19 deaths by December and how, if all restrictions are lifted by May 1, we could see 188 deaths by July 1.

The county announced Tuesday that a new testing site has begun operations in Eureka with a soft launch currently testing local healthcare workers. The facility, which can test about 96 people over eight hours per day with the capacity to expand, is hoped to be open to the general public in the coming weeks. Samples taken at the site will be sent to out-of-area corporate laboratories to be processed.

Of the county's 54 cases to date, 52 patients have recovered fully under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria and been released from isolation. Ten cases have been attributed to community transmission, meaning contact investigations could not determine the source of infection but believe it occurred locally. Four have been hospitalized.

As of yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control reported 1,031,659 COVID-19 cases nationally with 60,057 deaths, including 48,917 cases and 1,982 fatalities in California. As of Tuesday, 1.69 percent of the U.S. population had been tested for COVID-19, with one of every 5.84 people tested found to have the disease. Statewide, 1.39 percent of the population had been tested, with one in every 12.73 tests having returned positive. Locally, 1.6 percent of the population had been tested for COVID-19, with one in every 38.26 people tested found to have the disease.

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SECOND UPDATE: Humboldt not Included in Beach Closures

Posted By and on Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 7:42 AM

FILE
  • FILE
SECOND UPDATE:
Beach visits in Humboldt County are back on after Gov. Gavin Newsom limited closures to the more southern reaches of the state after local officials reached out about including the region in the ban.

Sheriff William Honsal, who earlier today said he would not enforce such an order and that Northern California was being punished for the actions of Southern California residents, praised the change of course.

“I’m grateful the governor didn’t move forward with a plan that would have unnecessarily and arbitrarily restricted access to our coastline,” he said in a statement this afternoon. “Closing beaches in areas where people weren’t following social distancing is a more appropriate response than a statewide closure."

Newsom had considered closing down California’s entire coastline after thousands flocked to beaches down south as a heatwave bore down amid shelter-in-place orders.

Honsal and Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich contacted state officials to express their opposition to the proposed order. This afternoon, the governor announced the closure would apply only to areas around Orange County.

“This really is the right move for Humboldt County,” Frankovich said. “The Governor himself pointed out our success at practicing social distancing measures locally. We can continue to build on that success without sacrificing access to our beaches.”

That said, the officials emphasized the county is still under shelter in place and “any crowding of parking areas, beach areas or trails would not be tolerated. “

Read the full release at the bottom of the story.


UPDATE:
Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal just issued a press release announcing his “strong opposition” to the governor’s reported intent to order all beaches in the state to close beginning Friday in an effort to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“As sheriff, I am the protector of constitutional rights in Humboldt County, and if an order is issued that I believe violates our constitutional rights, I will not enforce it,” he said in the release, detailing how Humboldt County was singled out by the governor Monday as an example of a community that was abiding by his order while using beaches responsibly.

“The governor is a smart man,” the sheriff continued. “I hope he follows sound advice. It’s not OK to punish Northern California for Southern California’s mistakes, and I hope he hears that loud and clear.”

The governor’s speech is scheduled for noon today and can be watched live here. And see the press release copied below our original post.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Public Health Confirms 54th Positive COVID-19 Case

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 4:36 PM

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.

For the second time in the past week, Humboldt County Public Health has confirmed another new COVID-19 case, bringing the countywide tally to 54.

Today's results come after Public Health processed another 62 samples and corporate labs reported results from another 11, bringing the day's total to 73. Of the 54 cases Humboldt County has confirmed to date, 52 of the patients have since recovered and are no longer in isolation.

Just four local samples have tested positive since April 7. With today's results, the county has now seen 2,159 residents tested — about 1.6 percent of the population.

Last week, county officials announced both a mandatory facial covering ordinance and the first steps toward efforts to reopen aspects of life in Humboldt County that have been shuttered by COVID-19. It also comes after county officials spent Thursday evening discussing local modeling projections for the first time, which show how, with shelter-in-place restrictions for the rest of the year, Humboldt County could see 28 COVID-19 deaths by December and how, if all restrictions are lifted by May 1, we could see 188 deaths by July 1.

Testing rates have slowed in recent weeks, which has been attributed to everything from a backlog at corporate laboratories and a reluctance of providers to order tests to the county moving out of traditional cold and flu season, and fewer people suffering respiratory illness symptoms unrelated to COVID-19. But locals have gone from seeing an average of almost 87 tests a day in the span from March 25 through April 7, to an average of 50 tests a day since, with the latter span coinciding with a slowdown in positive cases. The biggest decline has come from the corporate labs, which went from reporting an average of almost 45 test results a day in the first span to just eight tests per day in the second.

The county announced yesterday that a new testing site has begun operations in Eureka with a soft launch currently testing local healthcare workers. The facility, which can test about 96 people over eight hours per day with the capacity to expand, is hoped to be open to the general public in the coming weeks. Samples taken at the site will be sent to out-of-area corporate laboratories to be processed.

Of the county's 54 cases to date, 52 patients have recovered fully under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria and been released from isolation. Ten cases have been attributed to community transmission, meaning contact investigations could not determine the source of infection but believe it occurred locally. Four have been hospitalized.

As of yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control reported 1,005,147 COVID-19 cases nationally with 57,505 deaths, including 45,031 cases and 1,809 fatalities in California. Also as of yesterday, 1.69 percent of the U.S. population has been tested for COVID-19, with one of every 5.84 people tested found to have the disease. Statewide, 1.39 percent of the population has been tested, with one in every 12.73 tests having returned positive. Locally, 1.6 percent of the population has been tested for COVID-19, with one in every 38.26 people tested found to have the disease.

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UPDATE: Hoopa OES Food Distribution Sees Incredible Demand

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 11:44 AM

A selection of food box items. - HOOPA OES
  • Hoopa OES
  • A selection of food box items.
UPDATE:
The Hoopa Office of Emergency Services planned to hand out food boxes from three locations yesterday from noon to 4 p.m. to launch a three-day distribution event. It ran out of supplies in 45 minutes, having given out more than 200 boxes.

The event will continue today at a single location — the Hoopa fire station — at noon but the office is “predicting that the total supply remaining will all be gone in today’s event.” Check the original post for details about further distribution events scheduled for next month. And if you’re able, consider donating to your local food bank.

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California Could Reopen Schools in July, Newsom Says

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 10:49 AM

Gavin Newsom - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • Gavin Newsom
California could reopen for an earlier school year, perhaps as soon as late July, to make up for lost learning time, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today in laying out a course for easing his shelter-in-place order. Pointing to the state’s stable hospitalization data, the governor delivered hopeful news for throngs of parents struggling with distance learning and “cautious optimism” that some retailers and manufacturers may be able to reopen with modifications in a matter of weeks.

The administration laid out a four-step plan to help resuscitate California’s economy while keeping everyone safe. As the state continues to acquire more masks and protective gear, Newsom said California could gradually reopen low-risk workplaces, allowing more workers back to their jobs — provided there are enough precautions such as curbside pickup at retail stores.

Schools and childcare facilities would have to be an essential part of that effort for working parents.

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Prison Work Crew Helps Construct Surge Unit at Redwood Acres

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 9:31 AM

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate work crew helps construct an alternative care site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. - COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
  • A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate work crew helps construct an alternative care site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds.
Work developing a medical surge unit at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds to prepare for a spike in COVID-19 cases got a boost this week when a prison work crew came to help out.

The 100-bed facility at the fairgrounds is designed to provide an alternate care site to treat mildly ill patients and free up hospital space for those with critical symptoms in the event of a surge. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation High Rock No. 4 crew, which usually works in woodlands to clear brush and fallen trees to reduce fire risk, arrived yesterday morning and has been helping construct bed frames and partitions.

"This is a different kind of emergency preparedness work, but it's a resource we can use for important projects," CalFire Capt. Ed Peebles said in a county Facebook post.

Supplies for the surge unit were delivered Friday by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, which has also been instrumental in opening a new testing site in Eureka to bolster local capacity.

As of yesterday, Humboldt County had confirmed 53 local COVID-19 cases, 52 of which have recovered, according to Public Health. But local models project the area will see a surge of cases at some point, as nine of those who have tested positive are suspected to have contracted the virus through community transmission. Models project that if the county keeps all social distancing restrictions in place through the year, we could see a manageable surge of cases in December, at which point the county will have seen 28 deaths. But if the restrictions are eased entirely by May 1, the projection shows the county could see a surge in July, with 188 deaths and a demand for hospital space that far exceeds local capacity.

A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate work crew helps construct an alternative care site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. - COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
  • A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate work crew helps construct an alternative care site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Signs to Mark Health Order Compliant Restaurants

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 7:09 PM

While on your essential outings, you may start seeing green signs that read, "This facility is compliant," in the windows of open restaurants around the county. The signs, introduced April 27, list four main practices to slow the spread of COVID-19 — wearing facial coverings, practicing social distancing and hand washing, and offering only takeout/curbside service or delivery — and a number to call if you think the business isn't following the rules. According to the county's website, the purpose of the signs is to encourage public confidence in the safety of establishments participating in the pilot program.
The county-issued signs to appear in the windows of shelter-in-place compliant establishments. - COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
  • The county-issued signs to appear in the windows of shelter-in-place compliant establishments.

However, unlike the Health Department grades posted in restaurant windows, a business doesn't need a compliance certificate to operate and they require no inspections. Instead business owners or employees must sign an affidavit — under penalty of perjury — stating they're following social distancing and hygiene rules.

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Public Health: No New COVID Cases as County Increases Testing Capacity

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 4:59 PM

PUBLIC HEALTH
  • public health

Humboldt County Public Health announced this afternoon it has confirmed no new COVID-19 cases after 58 additional tests, leaving the countywide case count at 53, with 52 of those people having recovered.

Just three local samples have tested positive since April 7, with the most recent coming Friday. With today's results, the county has now seen 2,086 residents tested — about 1.5 percent of the population.

Last week, county officials announced both a mandatory facial covering ordinance and the first steps toward efforts to reopen aspects of life in Humboldt County that have been shuttered by COVID-19. It also comes after county officials spent Thursday evening discussing local modeling projections for the first time, which show how, with shelter-in-place restrictions for the rest of the year, Humboldt County could see 28 COVID-19 deaths by December and how, if all restrictions are lifted by May 1, we could see 188 deaths by July 1.

Testing rates have slowed in recent weeks, which has been attributed to everything from a backlog at corporate laboratories and a reluctance of providers to order tests to the county moving out of traditional cold and flu season, and fewer people suffering respiratory illness symptoms unrelated to COVID-19. But locals have gone from seeing an average of almost 87 tests a day in the span from March 25 through April 7, to an average of 50 tests a day since, with the latter span coinciding with a slowdown in positive cases. The biggest decline has come from the corporate labs, which went from reporting an average of almost 45 test results a day in the first span to just eight tests per day in the second.

The county announced this afternoon that a new testing site has begun operations in Eureka with a soft launch currently testing local healthcare workers. The facility, which can test about 96 people over eight hours per day, is hoped to be open to the general public in the coming weeks. Samples taken at the site will be sent to out-of-area corporate laboratories to be processed.

Of the county's 53 cases to date, 52 patients have recovered fully under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria and been released from isolation. Nine cases have been attributed to community transmission, meaning contact investigations could not determine the source of infection but believe it occurred locally. Four have been hospitalized.

As of yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control reported 981,246 COVID-19 cases nationally with 55,258 deaths, including 45,031 cases and 1,809 fatalities in California. To date, 1.69 percent of the U.S. population has been tested for COVID-19, with one of every 5.84 people tested found to have the disease. Statewide, 1.39 percent of the population has been tested, with one in every 12.73 tests having returned positive. Locally, 1.5 percent of the population has been tested for COVID-19, with one in every 38.26 people tested found to have the disease.

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Property Tax Waiver Process in Place as More Pay Late

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 7:38 AM

Humboldt County Courthouse - FILE
  • file
  • Humboldt County Courthouse
The county of Humboldt saw about a 4 percent drop in property taxes paid by the April 10 deadline, which came amid the COVID-19 outbreak that has shuttered businesses and left thousands in the region out of work.

According to Treasurer-Tax Collector John Bartholomew, 89 percent of the payments came in on time compared to 93 percent for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, leaving a shortfall of $8.7 million in payments. The previous year saw a $5.2 million shortfall in timely collections on the county’s approximately 67,400 property parcels.

The payments were actually due in February but late fines do not go into effect until after the two-month grace period ends. The county has set up a process to request a waiver of the fees and interest penalties, which must be made by June 10, accompanied by the late payment and an affidavit listing the reason.

Bartholomew emphasized the importance of sending in the property tax due along with the waiver request, noting in a recent email to the Journal that his office had received 15 requests but only two came with a payment.

Those, he wrote, “are no good to us and just create additional staff time costs because of the follow-up we need to do.”

Before April 10, Bartholomew, like many of his colleagues across the state, stressed that the installment deadlines are set in state law and not continuing the tax collections could have a “catastrophic impact on local funding” of essential services.

“Humboldt County citizens rely on services provided by teachers, fire fighters, public health and safety officers, and other county services,” he said in a press release at the time. “Property tax revenues are vital to keeping their agencies, departments, and schools funded and services uninterrupted.”

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Public Health: No New COVID-19 Cases, 1.5% of Local Population Tested

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 4:46 PM

A Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test. - PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Public health
  • A Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test.
Humboldt County Public Health announced this afternoon no new COVID-19 cases after 36 additional tests, leaving the countywide case count at 53, with 52 of those people having recovered.

Just three local samples have tested positive since April 7, with the most recent coming Friday. With today's results, the county has now seen more than 2,000 residents tested — about 1.5 percent of the population.

Last week, county officials announced both a mandatory facial covering ordinance and the first steps toward efforts to reopen aspects of life in Humboldt County that have been shuttered by COVID-19. It also comes after county officials spent Thursday evening discussing local modeling projections for the first time, which show how, with shelter-in-place restrictions for the rest of the year, Humboldt County could see 28 COVID-19 deaths by December and how, if all restrictions are lifted by May 1, we could see 188 deaths by July 1.

Testing rates have slowed in recent weeks, which has been attributed to everything from a backlog at corporate laboratories and a reluctance of providers to order tests to the county moving out of traditional cold and flu season, and fewer people suffering respiratory illness symptoms unrelated to COVID-19. But locals have gone from seeing an average of almost 87 tests a day in the span from March 25 through April 7, to an average of 50 tests a day since, with the latter span coinciding with a slowdown in positive cases. The biggest decline has come from the corporate labs, which went from reporting an average of almost 45 tests results a day in the first span to just eight tests per day in the second.

Of the county's 53 cases to date, 50 patients have recovered fully under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria and been released from isolation. Nine cases locally have been attributed to community transmission, meaning contact investigations could not determine the source of infection but believe it occurred locally. Four have been hospitalized.

As of yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control reported 957,875 COVID-19 cases nationally with 53,922 deaths, including 43,464 cases and 1,755 fatalities in California. To date, 1.69 percent of the U.S. population has been tested for COVID-19, with one of every 5.84 people tested found to have the disease. Statewide, 1.39 percent of the population has been tested, with one in every 12.73 tests having returned positive. Locally, 1.5 percent of the population has been tested for COVID-19, with one in every 38.26 people tested found to have the disease.

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