Saturday, April 4, 2020

Public Health Announces Four More COVID-19 Cases, One More Hospitalization

Posted By on Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 3:33 PM

click to enlarge Testing supplies in the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory. - COURTESY OF HUMBOLDT COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
  • Courtesy of Humboldt County Department of Health and Human services
  • Testing supplies in the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory.
Humboldt County Public Health announced another four positive COVID-19 cases today, bringing the county's total to 44.

There has also been another hospitalization, according to a Public Health press release.

Forty-two of those positive tests have been returned in the last 11 days, with 23 over the past five. Public Health is also reporting it believes six of the cases are the result of community transmission, meaning the patients had not recently traveled outside Humboldt County and investigators were unable to confirm they had been in contact with a known positive case. Five others remain under investigation.

As cases spiked this past week, Humboldt County officials have taken increasingly aggressive steps to halt the virus' spread. Monday, officials announced a modified shelter-in-place order and declared a local emergency. Thursday, they followed up with the recommendation that all local schools remain closed for the rest of the year and today Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich recommended all local residents wear face coverings when leaving home on essential outings.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Humboldt County has risen sharply since the second positive test was reported March 20 in someone who had recently returned from traveling in a "high-risk" country. (The county's first positive test was announced Feb. 20 in someone who'd just returned from China and has since recovered.)

But the biggest spike has came this week, with three positive cases announced Monday, six Tuesday, one Wednesday, eight Thursday, four each Friday and today. Frankovich said in a video posted yesterday Humboldt County's high per-capita rate of positive cases locally is likely due to the fact that Humboldt has been testing patients at a higher rate than other areas of the state and country. While Humboldt has conducted 405 tests per 100,000 residents, she said the statewide rate is 70 per 100,000 and the national rate is 287 tests per 100,000 people.

Two of Humboldt's 37 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized to date but local officials have declined to provide any details on their condition. (In a video answering local media questions earlier Friday, Frankovich said there is currently only one local COVID-19 patient hospitalized. The Journal clarified with Public Health staff, who said the daily testing reports list the total number of hospitalizations to date, not the number of patients currently hospitalized.)

Public health reports 1,006 local residents have been tested today and the local lab has enough supplies on hand to conduct approximately 600 additional tests.

Statewide, as of April 4, California had recorded 12,026 positive cases, 2,300 hospitalizations and 276 deaths confirmed to be connected to COVID-19.

Basics of COVID-19
The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

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. St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals have opened tents on their campuses to begin screening patients who have “significant” symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus. The general hours of operation for the tents is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but that is subject to change.

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 [email protected] or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at [email protected] or at (707) 445-6200.

St. Joseph Health has also set up a virtual assessment tool as an aid to assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at

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.

See the full press release copied below:

April 4, 2020 - Local COVID Case Count Reaches 44

A total of 44 Humboldt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 after four new cases were confirmed today by the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory (PHL).

The following information is based on the most recent data available for all confirmed cases:

Contact to a Known Case: 18
Travel-Acquired: 15
Community Transmission: 6
Under Investigation: 5
Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said a total of five cases are under investigation at this time. “We’ll update the community when more information is available,” she said.

For the most recent information on COVID-19, visit or Local information is available at or during business hours by contacting [email protected] or calling 707-441-5000.

And the latest lab report:

April 4, 2020

Total new positive cases confirmed on April 4: 4

Daily COVID-19 case report for April 4

Total number of positive cases: 44
Total number of hospitalizations: 3
Total number of people tested by Public Health Laboratory: 558

Total number of people tested by all other sources: 448
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and commercial labs)

The Public Health Laboratory currently has a capacity of approximately 600 tests and can process about 50 samples a day with an approximate turnaround time of 48 to 72 hours.

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Thadeus Greenson

Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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