Friday, April 17, 2020

Public Health Reports No New COVID Cases, Private Lab Results Continue to Dwindle

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 5:38 PM

click to enlarge 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.

Humboldt County Public Health again announced no new positive tests today, leaving the county's tally at 52 for the second day in a row.

The announcement comes after the county recorded one positive case each on Tuesday and Wednesday, the sole new cases locally since April 7.

Humboldt County Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said the decline in cases is an indication that the county's shelter-in-place order and social distancing measures are having a positive impact.

“The goal as we move forward is to always have the pace of growth in cases at a level that allows the health care system to meet the need," she said in a press release. "This will be critically important as we look toward easing shelter-in-place regulations down the road.”

But testing remains limited. Today's results come after the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory processed 54 additional tests and outside laboratories processed another seven, for a total of 61.

Nationally, about 3.5 million people have been tested — roughly 1 percent of the population — with 18.7 percent of those tests coming back positive for a total of 661,712 cases, with 33,049 deaths.

In California, about 258,800 people have been tested — roughly 0.7 percent of the population — with 10.6 percent of the tests coming back positive for a total of 27,528 cases, with 985 fatalities.

Locally, 1,614 people have been tested — roughly 1.2 percent of the population — with 3.2 percent of the tests coming back positive for a total of 52 cases. There have been no deaths locally, though three people have been hospitalized.

In a media availability earlier today, Frankovich was asked about whether a testing backlog has contributed to the relative lull in positive cases locally. She said there is essentially no backlog in the Public Health Laboratory, saying it reports out results as soon as it gets them, generally within 48 to 72 hours of receiving a sample. She did not, however, address the results coming out of corporate laboratories.

But the numbers show the rate of test results coming back from private laboratories has slowed considerably, though it's unclear whether that's because they are receiving fewer samples or there is a backlog in releasing results. But in the week of March 30, the labs reported an average of 56.6 results a day. The following week, beginning April 6, that number dipped to 23.2. This week, the trickle of results from the private laboratories dropped to an average of just 13 per day.

Frankovich said "robust testing" is a key piece moving forward.

“We all must understand that even small, incremental changes in our current order are likely to lead to some increase in transmission,” she said. “The situation will need to be monitored closely, and we will have to have all of our infrastructure in place, such as robust testing, adequate case investigation capacity and other measures in the Governor’s framework.”

The county has reported 52 COVID-19 cases to date, with the majority — 28 — coming in a six-day period from March 30 to April 6. But the rate of positive tests has tapered sharply over the past week, with a combined five announced for April 5 and April 6, one April 7 and no others until sole positive tests Tuesday and Wednesday. A Journal analysis of the limited testing data available found that the stretch of six consecutive days without a positive test coincided with a significant drop-off in samples tested at corporate laboratories.

Frankovich and Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal have repeatedly stressed the importance of local residents respecting the letter and spirit of the county's shelter-in-place order, staying in their homes and limiting essential outings, practicing social distancing measures and wearing facial coverings when they do have to leave home. The hope, Frankovich explains, is that these measures will slow Humboldt County's infection rate to the point that the number of active cases at any time — and the number of critically ill patients — does not overrun the local healthcare system, which has very limited capacity.







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, runny nose 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 the testing report copied below:

April 17, 2020 - No New Cases Today
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 7pm ; Saturday 10am to 5pm Opens in new window
Humboldt County’s total case count remains 52 as no new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed today.

Social distancing and other measures have been successful in limiting COVID-19 transmission, according to Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich. “The goal as we move forward is to always have the pace of growth in cases at a level that allows the health care system to meet the need. This will be critically important as we look toward easing shelter-in-place regulations down the road.”

Dr. Frankovich cautioned that the virus is still circulating in our community. “We all must understand that even small, incremental changes in our current order are likely to lead to some increase in transmission,” she said. “The situation will need to be monitored closely, and we will have to have all of our infrastructure in place, such as robust testing, adequate case investigation capacity and other measures in the Governor’s framework.”

A total of 1,614 county residents have been tested since the outbreak began. Humboldt County’s testing rate of 1,137 per 100,000 residents exceeds the estimated state rate of 666 per 100,000 and the national rate of 1,075 per 100,000 people. The rate of confirmed cases in the county stands at 38 per 100,000 residents, with the state rate nearly double that at an estimated 72 cases per 100,000. The estimated U.S. rate is 209 confirmed cases per 100,000 people.

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

Contact to a Known Case: 23
Travel-Acquired: 20
Community Transmission: 8
Under Investigation: 1

Approximately 83% of cases are located in or around Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville and Fortuna

Males: 48%
Females: 52%

Mean age: 45
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.

What do these numbers mean?

Total new positive cases—the number of test-confirmed positive cases since the previous report.
Total number of positive cases—the number of test-confirmed positive cases since the pandemic began, including people who have recovered from the illness.
Total number of hospitalizations—total number of COVID-positive people hospitalized since the pandemic began, including people who have been released.
Total number of people tested by Public Health Lab Laboratory—number of people whose sample was tested by the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory.
Total number of people tested by all other sources—total number of tests performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics. Non-local labs have a slower turnaround time than our local lab, primarily due to the time it takes local samples to be shipped elsewhere for testing.
Public Health Lab test capacity—the approximate number of testing kits that are complete and ready to be administered. This number is decreased by testing and increased as additional supplies are acquired.
Public Health Lab turnaround time—the estimated amount of time it takes per testing run. Each run can include up to 20 samples; multiple batches can be run each day.
Transmission data
travel-acquired—nationally, internationally or regionally
contact to known case—an individual found to have been in direct contact with someone who tested positive for the virus
community transmission—spread without travel or known contact to any other positive case
under investigation—positive case whose means of transmission has not yet been determined.
Regional data
Currently measured by percentage of positive cases living in a densely populated area.
Soon to be represented instead by region after minimum thresholds of positive cases per region have been reached.
Gender—the gender of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Total cases, shown by percentage.
Mean age—the average age of all the individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Average age is calculated by adding all the ages of individuals together and dividing by the number of cases.
Test rates and positive test rates relative to the State of California—the number of tests performed per 100,000 people. Numbers of tests performed are provided by the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, CDPH and the CDC. Population estimates are based on data from the United States Census Bureau. Rates are calculated by dividing the total number of tests performed by the population of the jurisdiction.
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
travel-acquired
contact to known case
community transmission
under investigation
Additional information is 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.

Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19,
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19,
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19, and
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert


April 17, 2020

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 7pm ; Saturday 10am to 5pm
Total new positive cases confirmed on April 17: 0

Daily COVID-19 case report for April 17

Total number of positive cases: 52

Total number of hospitalizations: 3

Total number of people tested by Public Health Laboratory: 985

Total number of people tested by all other sources: 629
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health and commercial labs)

The Public Health Laboratory currently has a capacity of approximately 500 tests and can process about 50 samples a day with an approximate turnaround time of 48 to 72 hours.

For the most recent information about COVID-19, visit CDC.gov or CDPH.ca.gov. For local information, visit humboldtgov.org, call 707-441-5000 or email covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us.

What do these numbers mean?

Total new positive cases—the number of test-confirmed positive cases since the previous report.
Total number of positive cases—the number of test-confirmed positive cases since the pandemic began, including people who have recovered from the illness.
Total number of hospitalizations—total number of COVID-positive people hospitalized since the pandemic began, including people who have been released.
Total number of people tested by Public Health Lab Laboratory—number of people whose sample was tested by the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory.
Total number of people tested by all other sources—total number of tests performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics. Non-local labs have a slower turnaround time than our local lab, primarily due to the time it takes local samples to be shipped elsewhere for testing.
Public Health Lab test capacity—the approximate number of testing kits that are complete and ready to be administered. This number is decreased by testing and increased as additional supplies are acquired.
Public Health Lab turnaround time—the estimated amount of time it takes per testing run. Each run can include up to 20 samples; multiple batches can be run each day.
Transmission data
travel-acquired—nationally, internationally or regionally
contact to known case—an individual found to have been in direct contact with someone who tested positive for the virus
community transmission—spread without travel or known contact to any other positive case
under investigation—positive case whose means of transmission has not yet been determined.
Regional data
Currently measured by percentage of positive cases living in a densely populated area.
Soon to be represented instead by region after minimum thresholds of positive cases per region have been reached.
Gender—the gender of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Total cases, shown by percentage.
Mean age—the average age of all the individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Average age is calculated by adding all the ages of individuals together and dividing by the number of cases.
Test rates and positive test rates relative to the State of California—the number of tests performed per 100,000 people. Numbers of tests performed are provided by the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, CDPH and the CDC. Population estimates are based on data from the United States Census Bureau. Rates are calculated by dividing the total number of tests performed by the population of the jurisdiction.
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 other 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
travel-acquired
contact to known case
community transmission
under investigation
Additional information is 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.

Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19,
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19,
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19, and
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

About The Author

Thadeus Greenson

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

Latest in News Blog

socialize

Facebook | Twitter

© 2021 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation