Friday, August 7, 2020

Humboldt Halfway to July's Grim COVID-19 Milestone in 1 Week

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2020 at 5:17 PM

Public Health reported two confirmed COVID-19 cases today, bringing Humboldt County's total to date to 282.
So far in August, Humboldt County has seen 49 new confirmed infections — already half of July's record-breaking 100 — with two back-to-back days of grim milestones this week: 10 cases on Wednesday followed by 25 on Thursday.

“We’ve reported 49 cases just this week alone, and that represents about 17 percent of our total cases since February. These developments should deepen our resolve to do everything we can to limit the spread of this virus,” County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a release. “I’m deeply grateful to the vast majority of our residents who take on this responsibility to protect each other by using all prevention tools at hand such as facial coverings, distancing and neither traveling nor inviting travel by family members and friends. These types of choices really do make a difference for our county.”

Meanwhile, the county reports the public health lab was impacted by a plumbing-related flood at the facility, which "caused significant damage to the offices of the Public Health Director and both Public Health Officers" but the lab “didn’t skip a beat” on COVID-19 testing.
click to enlarge Flooding at the public health lab. - DHHS
  • DHHS
  • Flooding at the public health lab.
The rapid rise in cases prompted public health to raised the "Effectiveness of Disease Control" to level three on the county’s Alert Level Assessment Tool
but the county's overall COVID alert level — which runs on a scale of 1 to 4 — remains at 3. 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."

To date, the county has seen 17 hospitalizations and four fatalities, all of them residents at Alder Bay Assisted Living. Two hundred and thirteen of the cases are considered recovered, while the rest 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:
Humboldt County’s total case count stands at 282, after two new cases were reported today.

Due to the pace of increasing cases, Public Health yesterday raised Effectiveness of Disease Control to level three on the county’s Alert Level Assessment Tool. While this does not change the overall alert level, currently at three or level orange, Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich called the rise in cases concerning.

“We’ve reported 49 cases just this week alone, and that represents about 17 percent of our total cases since February,” she said. “These developments should deepen our resolve to do everything we can to limit the spread of this virus.” Dr. Frankovich went on to say, “I’m deeply grateful to the vast majority of our residents who take on this responsibility to protect each other by using all prevention tools at hand such as facial coverings, distancing and neither traveling nor inviting travel by family members and friends. These types of choices really do make a difference for our county.”

The Public Health Laboratory was unable to operate at full capacity today due to a major plumbing problem overnight that flooded part of the lab and caused significant damage to the offices of the Public Health Director and both Public Health Officers.

Damages include downed overhead fixtures in one office and a partial ceiling collapse in another. Michele Stephens, Dr. Teresa Frankovich and Dr. Josh Ennis are temporarily relocating within the building while their offices are repaired.

Although some operations were impacted, Public Health personnel said, in terms of COVID testing the lab “didn’t skip a beat.”

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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