Monday, April 6, 2020

Public Health: Five Positive COVID-19 Tests Bring County Total to 49

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 5:28 PM

click to enlarge Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory staff analyzing a COVID-19 test. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
  • Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory staff analyzing a COVID-19 test.
Humboldt County Public Health announced this afternoon that five COVID-19 tests from local residents have come back positive since Saturday, bringing the county's total to 49.

Forty-seven of those positive tests have been returned in the last 13 days, with 28 over the past week. 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. Seven others remain under investigation.

As cases spiked last week, Humboldt County officials took increasingly aggressive steps to halt the virus' spread. March 31, 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.)


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 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 assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at www.providence.org/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus-advisory.

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 6, 2020 - Five New Cases Confirmed

Five Humboldt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 for a total of 49 confirmed cases since the outbreak began.

Of those 49 people, 21 had contact with a known case, 15 were travelers and six contracted the virus through community transmission. The method of transmission for the remaining seven cases is under investigation.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said Public Health continues to investigate possible exposures to these confirmed cases through a process known as contact investigation. “Staff reach out directly to individuals with COVID-19 infection and identify at-risk close contacts. These contacts are then notified of exposure risk and instructed on quarantine procedures,” she said. “Contact investigation is only one of the public health tools used to slow the spread of this virus.”

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or during business hours by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 707-441-5000.

Notes on patient and demographic data

To protect the identity of people with COVID-19, their specific location of residence will not be disclosed. The Humboldt County Public Health Branch is legally responsible for protecting personal health information, including residence address, specific age, recent travel, the identities and locations of any contacts, the provider of medical treatment, the course of illness and any other information that might identify an individual with or exposed to the virus unless it serves the interests of public health to do so.

Although we understand it is of interest to residents, providing location and demographic information to the general public does nothing to slow the spread of illness. Humboldt County is experiencing untraceable person-to-person transmission, also known as “community spread,” and there is no place that can be considered safe. To reduce your chances of acquiring or spreading COVID-19, avoid travel, wash your hands, keep yourself and your environment clean, follow the shelter-in-place order, and do not leave home for any reason unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.

The following case information is provided daily Monday through Saturday:

New positive cases
Total positive cases to date
Total hospitalizations to date
Total Public Health Lab tests to date
Total commercial lab tests to date
Public Health Lab test capacity, total and daily, and estimated turnaround time
Transmission data
traveler-acquired
contact to known case
community transmission
under investigation
Additional information will be provided each Friday:

Regional data
currently measured by percentage in densely populated area
soon to be represented instead by region after minimum thresholds of positive cases per region have been reached
Gender
Mean age
Test rates and positive test rates relative to the State of California.



And the latest lab report:


April 6, 2020
COVID info
Total new positive cases confirmed on April 6: 5

Daily COVID-19 case report for April 6

Total number of positive cases: 49
Total number of hospitalizations: 3
Total number of people tested by Public Health Laboratory: 582

Total number of people tested by all other sources: 511
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and commercial labs)

The Public Health Laboratory currently has a capacity of approximately 550 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

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

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