Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Humboldt County Hits 200 COVID-19 Cases

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 5:13 PM

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Humboldt County Public Health reported five new confirmed COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total to 200 since February, with 67 in July alone.

COVID-19 cases are spiking across the nation, including in California and Humboldt County, which has seen 19 cases this week alone. Today's milestone number includes the results of 162 tests. There were no new hospitalizations.

“We know that this virus is highly contagious, but the most important thing to know about it is that there are steps all of us can take to limit transmission and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a release. “We can all commit to wearing a face covering and maintaining six feet of distance when interacting with those outside of our household, while also practicing thorough and regular handwashing and cleaning. Even five months after our first case, these measures continue to be our best strategy to prevent transmission of this virus.”

The county unveiled a new "overall alert level" risk assessment tool as a part of its dashboard last Thursday, which remains at a "Level 2," which means "moderate risk — moderate number of cases with majority of cases from a known source. Increase efforts to limit personal exposure." The levels stretch from 1 —("New normal — cases are somewhat sporadic, and contact tracing can be used to control the virus") to Level 4 ("Very high risk — widespread outbreak that is growing with many undetected cases."). Watch Humboldt County Deputy Public Health Officer Josh Ennis explain the assessment in the video here.

Since the pandemic began, 17 local residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19 at some point in their care, including four people who died of the highly contagious virus, all residents of Alder Bay Assisted Living.

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.)

There is a currently a high demand across the nation for testing, which the county’s COVID-19 joint information center states is impacting the local availability of appointments and has delayed results.

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. 

A free COVID-19 testing site will be available at the Gene Lucas Community Center in Fortuna on July 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 268-2503.

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:
Five additional cases of COVID-19 were reported today, bringing to 200 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus since the first local case was diagnosed February 20.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich called this an unfortunate but foreseeable milestone as case counts climb across the state and nation. “We were the first rural county in the nation to diagnose a case of COVID-19 at a time when there were very few cases seen nationally. We’ve now seen 200 local cases in just over five months while the country is reporting more than 3.9 million,” she said.

“We know that this virus is highly contagious, but the most important thing to know about it is that there are steps all of us can take to limit transmission and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe,” Dr. Frankovich said. “We can all commit to wearing a face covering and maintaining six feet of distance when interacting with those outside of our household, while also practicing thorough and regular handwashing and cleaning. Even five months after our first case, these measures continue to be our best strategy to prevent transmission of this virus.”

Today’s alert level stands at a two. Visit humboldtgov.org/dashboard to view the county’s Alert Level Assessment tool. 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.
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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