Monday, April 20, 2020

All But Five Local COVID Patients Have Recovered

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 5:44 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.
In an email to reporters this afternoon, Humboldt County Joint Information Center spokesperson Heather Muller said that 47 of the 52 local residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered, meaning they have met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria and are no longer in isolation.

The email also notes that the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory's daily test run started late today, so the county will be releasing results from today and tomorrow's test batches tomorrow afternoon. The confirmed case total remains at 52, as it has since Wednesday.

The email also addresses a Times-Standard story this afternoon that cited a California Health and Human Services database in reporting that another Humboldt County resident had tested positive for the virus. But the database also contained a host of other discrepancies from Humboldt County's Public Health's reporting, including total confirmed case numbers at various points in time, hospitalizations and patients under intensive care. In the email, Muller states that Public Health has been sent a number of dashboards from various organizations and agencies.

"Some of these portals appear legitimate, although almost all of them disagree with each other and with the numbers we have provided to you," she wrote to reporters. "We cannot explain information found on other people's websites. We can confirm that our own information is correct."

Finally, the email addresses rumors that a local Target employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This is true, Muller writes, but adds the employee did not work with customers and that Public Health has contacted their "close contacts," putting them under quarantine and monitoring. None have tested positive for the virus at this point.

"There is no evidence of contact exposure for members of the general public visiting the store," she wrote.

See the full text of Muller's email copied below and check back tomorrow for what will be the county's first release of test results since Saturday.


First, we’ve gotten a number of calls and emails today about a person working at Target who has tested positive for COVID-19. The Public Health Branch has been working with Target to actively investigate this case and has determined that the individual worked on-site but did not work with customers. Close contacts have been identified. Any close contact with symptoms to date has been tested, and we have no additional positives to report. Close contacts are nonetheless quarantined and being monitored. Our investigation and isolation/quarantine activities are ongoing. There is no evidence of contact exposure for members of the general public visiting the store.

Second, we have been forwarded several versions of dashboards or data portals produced by different organizations and asked to explain their numbers. Some of these portals appear legitimate, although almost all of them disagree with each other and with the numbers we have provided to you. We cannot explain information found on other people’s websites. We can confirm that our own information is correct.

Third, our test run today started late in the day and will not be completed in time for a report tonight. Tonight’s test numbers will instead be included in tomorrow’s lab report. The current total number of confirmed cases is 52.

Finally, Humboldt County Public Health is now able to report six days a week the total number of county residents who have recovered from COVID-19. The total number of recovered cases represents the number of people with confirmed cases who are no longer in isolation. That means these individuals have met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for release, including absence of fever for at least three days without use of fever-reducing medicine, improvement in symptoms and have had seven days or more since onset of symptoms. Of the 52 confirmed cases, a total of 47 have recovered.
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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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