Thursday, July 30, 2020

Public Health Confirms Three new COVID-19 Cases

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 4:45 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed three new COVID-19 cases today, making 26 so far this week and 98 for the month, as the local spike in caseloads continues.

Two of the new cases are linked to a  known confirmed case, while the third is one of 14 cases that remain under investigation.

In a press release, Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich noted that since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has experienced waves of new cases, followed by relative quiet periods in detected virus transmission.

“The epidemiological curve on the data dashboard shows the current wave has been ongoing for more than a month,” she said. “This increase in local disease activity is a reminder that safety precautions are more important than ever. We have the ability to dramatically change the landscape of virus transmission in our community, helping to keep our businesses open and facilitate on-site school instruction for our children.”

The spike in confirmed cases comes as Humboldt County — like much of the state — has seen increasing challenges with testing. The OptumServe testing site set up at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds through a partnership with the state has been a growing source of frustration, as a huge increase in statewide demand and supply chain issues have caused regular delays of a week or more in getting test results. These delays pose problems for contact investigators and public health officials looking to contain clusters of the virus.

Speaking to a columnist from Bloomberg, Public Health nurse Erica Dykehouse, who does contact investigations for the county, expressed frustration at the delayed test results from OptumServe.

From the column:

"'If I look at Optum, I always ask, 'What am I going to do with this because the result is eight to 10 days old?' said Erica. 'Your ability to contain is over.' By the time she got ahold of people to inform them that they had COVID-19, they no longer had COVID-19. There was no point in isolating them."



With today's cases, the county has confirmed 53 over the past 14 days, which equates to about 439 cases per 100,000 residents over that span, far eclipsing the 25 cases per 100,000 residents that is one component of which counties land on the state's watch list, which puts them under tighter restrictions. But the county — with 3.8 percent of tests returning positive over the past week — still stands well shy of the 8-percent positivity rate the state has set for the watch list.

Today's results come after 173 samples were tested. Of Humboldt's 228 confirmed cases to date, 44 remain active.

The county raised its overall COVID alert level — which runs on a scale of 1 to 4 — to 3 last week, after seeing 24 cases confirmed. Level 3 is described as: "High risk — many cases with conditions for community spread, with many undetected cases likely. Limit everyday activities to increase safety."

Humboldt County spike of 98 new cases confirmed this month comes as rates of infection and hospitalizations have surged elsewhere in the state and nation. Nationwide, 4.4 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed (65,935 of them today), including 150,283 fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control. California is also seeing a pike in cases, confirming 8,755 new ones yesterday for a total of 475,305 to date, including 8,715 deaths.

To date, the county has seen 231 local cases, including 17 hospitalizations and four fatalities, all of them of residents at Alder Bay Assisted Living. Forty-three of the cases remain active.

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:
Three new cases of COVID-19 were reported today. The total number of county residents confirmed to have contracted the virus is 231.

Of these three cases, two people contracted the virus through contact with a known case, and the means of transmission for the third case is under investigation. A total of 14 cases remain under investigation.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich noted that since the beginning of the pandemic, the county has experienced waves of new cases, followed by relative quiet periods in detected virus transmission.

“The epidemiological curve on the data dashboard shows the current wave has been ongoing for more than a month,” Dr. Frankovich said. “This increase in local disease activity is a reminder that safety precautions are more important than ever. We have the ability to dramatically change the landscape of virus transmission in our community, helping to keep our businesses open and facilitate on-site school instruction for our children.”

Today’s alert level stands at a three. 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.


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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