Monday, July 6, 2020

Public Health Confirms Five New COVID-19 Cases, Continuing Recent Spike

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 4:03 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 confirmed five new COVID-19 cases today, which follows six announced Friday and makes 37 over the past 14 days.

It's the county's largest case spike since a 15-day period that began March 24 — five days after Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich issued a shelter-in-place order that confined people to their residences except for essential outings. And it's important to remember because of the virus' incubation period and delays in getting testing results, experts believe there's a lag time of roughly 14 days between expanded virus activity and increases in confirmed cases. (That's why cases spiked in March and early April even as residents were ordered to stay home.)

The new cases bring the county's tally to 149, and push it across one of the indicators the governor's office has set that counties may need to pull back and reinstitute stronger shelter-in-place restrictions. That threshold is that counties should not record more than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period, which equates to 34 cases for Humboldt's population. But that's only one indicator, as officials will also look at other factors, including the number of unique clusters of infection, available intensive care unit beds, whether healthcare workers have been infected and availability of personal protective equipment for hospital staff. Nonetheless, it's definitely an indicator the virus is circulating in Humboldt County, and a far cry from the local stretch of just three new cases over a 14-day period in April.

In a press release, the Joint Information Center noted that of recent positive cases, "most have contracted the virus through travel to attend gatherings or or participation in local gatherings." Frankovich indicated in the release that residents should expect to see case counts continue to rise in the coming days.

"Based on our current case investigations, we expect to see an increase in cases over the next few days as contacts of these individuals are tested," she said, reiterating that any time more than one households gathers, there's an increased risk of exposure. "Once again, we can keep each other safe by staying within our household groups."

 To date, 16 local residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19 at some point in their care, including four people who died of the disease, all residents of Alder bay Assisted Living.

Areas across the nation and in California are seeing rapid increases in not only the number of cases but hospitalizations and many are stepping back on reopenings, with the governor having recently ordered bars, beaches and dine-in restaurants closed in swaths of the state.

Nationally, 44,361 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed today, while another 235 deaths were recorded, making 2.9 million people who have been infected in the U.S. with the disease and 129,811 fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 5,699 new cases were confirmed today, bringing the statewide tally to 271,684, with 6,337 fatalities, according to California Department of Public Health.

Humboldt County Public Health is urging residents who aren't experiencing symptoms to get tested free of charge at the mobile testing site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. (People experiencing symptoms should contact a healthcare provider, officials say.) Asymptomatic individuals can make an appointment to be tested by visiting https://Lhi.care/covidtesting or calling (888) 634-1123. Tests will be administered free of charge, whether or not people have health insurance.

Basics of COVID-19


The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell.

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.

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 here.

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.

Read the county's release below and view its case dashboard here:
July 6, 2020 - Five New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 7pm Opens in new window
Humboldt County’s confirmed COVID-19 case count rose to 149 after five additional cases were reported today.

Of the residents who have tested positive recently, most contracted the virus through travel to attend gatherings or participation in local gatherings. Travel by friends and family into and out of our county and subsequent gatherings with individuals outside the household unit are high risk for the individuals involved and the community at large.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said, “Based on our current case investigations, we expect to see an increase in cases over the next few days as contacts of these individuals are tested.”

Dr. Frankovich reiterated that any time more than one household gets together, there’s an increased risk of exposure. “Once again, we can keep each other safe by staying within our household groups,” she said.

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.

Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/dashboard,
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19,
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19,
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19, and
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert

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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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