Wednesday, September 30, 2020

After COVID Restricts Contact Sports in Santa Clara County, HSU Provides Space for San Jose State University Football Team to Practice

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 5:51 PM

HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY - FILE
  • Humboldt State University - FILE

According to information from the San Jose State Spartans, football players from the University team will travel north to Humboldt State University to practice football. They are barred from practicing in Santa Clara County because COVID restrictions bar contact sports.

“Approximately 135 players, coaches and essential support staff will travel to Humboldt State. Costs, such as housing and relocating the team north to Arcata, a 323-mile one-way bus trip, will be determined by the number of days the team is headquartered there,” the article reads.

HSU’s football team was disbanded in 2018.

According to the Spartan’s article, “The SJSU team will be housed in Humboldt State’s on-campus housing, and the universities will formulate a plan to allow Spartan student-athletes to utilize spaces to support their operational needs safely while following COVID-19 protocols.”

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Fatal Collision on Herrick Ave

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 4:48 PM

chp.jpg
Earlier this morning, California Highway Patrol helped the Eureka Police Department locate a tan Jeep Cherokee as part of a welfare check on its driver, Timothy McTague, Sr., the vehicle and McTague's body was found at a fatal collision site in the driveway of a residence on Herrick Avenue.

When emergency medical personnel responded to the scene they determined that McTague had suffered fatal injuries as a result of the collision.

In a preliminary investigation, CHP found that McTague was driving east on Herrick Avenue at a high rate of speed and for unknown reasons, McTague allowed the Jeep to travel off the south roadway edge and into the driveway of 320 Herrick Ave., where it collided with a parked Dodge Ram pickup and a trailer.

According to the release, the force of the impact pushed the trailer through a fence and partially into the backyard of the residence.

The fatal collision is still under investigation. CHP Humboldt Area Office asks anyone who may have information to contact the office at 707-822-5981 or send an email to humboldt_area.humboldt_area@chp.ca.gov.

Read the full press release below.

On 09/30/2020 at approximately 5:30 AM, the Humboldt Area CHP received a request from the Eureka Police Department (EPD) to assist in locating a tan Jeep Cherokee for a welfare check on the driver, Timothy McTague, Sr. At approximately 7:10 AM, the vehicle was located at the scene of a collision in the driveway of a residence on Herrick Ave., east of Pinecrest Ct. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene and determined that Mr. McTague had suffered fatal injuries as a result of the collision. The Humboldt County Coroner's Office responded to the scene and subsequently notified next of kin.

A preliminary investigation by CHP has revealed that Mr. McTague was driving his Jeep Cherokee east on Herrick Ave., east of Pinecrest Ct. at a high rate of speed. For unknown reasons, Mr. McTague allowed the Jeep to travel off the south roadway edge and into the driveway of 320 Herrick Ave., where it collided with a parked Dodge Ram pickup and a trailer. The force of the impact pushed the trailer through a fence and partially into the backyard of the residence.

The CHP Humboldt Area Office is continuing to investigate this collision and asks anyone who may have information to contact the office at 707-822-5981 or send an email to humboldt_area.humboldt_area@chp.ca.gov.

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County Confirms Three New COVID-19 Cases, Reports New Hospitalization

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 3:50 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed three new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the county's total to 512. The county also reported one new hospitalization, bringing the to-date total to 32.

Humboldt County remains in the “moderate” category under the state's four-tiered system, with a test positivity rate of 0.7 percent and 1.2 cases per 100,000 individuals, according to the state's data, which was updated Sept. 29. The statewide level is 7 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate of 3.4 percent.

The state's "substantial" risk tier — which includes counties averaging between 4 and seven new cases a day per 100,000 residents or test positivity rates of 5 to 8 percent — brings tighter restrictions, including further limiting indoor restaurant and gym capacities and closing some "non-essential indoor business operations," like office. If the county were to move into the "substantial risk" tier, it would then need to record numbers in the "moderate" tier for 21 consecutive days before the state would loosen the added restrictions.

To date, Humboldt County has seen 32 hospitalizations and eight deaths, including two over the past week. Nationwide, 7.2 million COVID-19 have been confirmed with 205,372 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control, including 810,625 cases and 15,792 deaths in California.

Today's Humboldt County results included the processing of 227 samples, with a positivity rate of 1.3 percent.


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.
Sept. 30, 2020 - Three New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A total of 512 Humboldt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, after three new cases were reported today.

Today’s alert level stands at two or level yellow. 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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Mental Health ‘Tsunami’ Looms: Can California Prevent a Surge in Suicides?

Posted By and on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 11:57 AM

Portrait of Celinda Gonzales in Weitchpec on Sep. 17. Gonzales looks off over the Klamath River toward a large rock where her thrill-seeking son Paul Moreno used to jump off into the water. He later died by suicide. - ALEXANDRA HOOTNICK FOR CALMATTERS
  • Alexandra Hootnick for CalMatters
  • Portrait of Celinda Gonzales in Weitchpec on Sep. 17. Gonzales looks off over the Klamath River toward a large rock where her thrill-seeking son Paul Moreno used to jump off into the water. He later died by suicide.

Celinda Gonzales has a long list of worries: She worries about COVID-19, which recently spiked near the Yurok reservation where she lives in Humboldt County. She worries about the wildfires threatening her remote, forested town, Weitchpec. She worries about gill rot and algae blooms in the Klamath and Trinity rivers, which join together just over the hill from her trailer; she worries, too, about what the resulting small salmon runs mean for her financially struggling community. 

And she worries about the prospect of more suicides.

“It’s very hard to stay mentally strong right now,” she said.  

For several years, Gonzales, 53, has worked in suicide prevention in the northwestern corner of California, famous for its rocky coastlines and breathtaking forests. It carries the burden of another reputation – about 2 and a half times as many of Humboldt’s residents die by suicide per capita as the rest of the state. 

That weight is felt across this county of 135,000, as well as in many neighboring rural counties, where mental health providers are in short supply. 

Now, in this region and across the state, the pressures of the pandemic and economic downturn, compounded by racial tensions and climate-change-fueled megafires, are amplifying that concern. Gun sales are up nationally, including in California, according to a recent FBI report on firearm background checks. Experts worry substance use here may also be increasing. Individually, these factors are stressors; together, they’re a powder keg.

“We are very concerned about the layering of multiple stresses on the people of California,” said Jim Kooler, assistant deputy director of the state Department of Health Care Services’ behavioral health division. He describes the current moment as having “challenges on top of challenges that we’ve never had to face before.” 

Adding to these challenges: The state has a decentralized public mental health system, which can make a concerted statewide effort to address suicide even more challenging. 

A bill to create a statewide Office of Suicide Prevention was signed into law last Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. But there was a big caveat: At this point, there’s no money for it.

Meanwhile, pressure is building. Mental health leaders in the state are now commonly defaulting to the word “tsunami” to describe a predicted onslaught of mental health needs and suicides, which many believe will last long after any vaccine is distributed. 

Historical precedent amplifies this sense of urgency. In the years following the last recession, an estimated 4,750 more Americans than projected died by suicide, according to an analysis published in The Lancet.

Nationally, rates of anxiety have already tripled and rates of depression have quadrupled compared to a year ago, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One especially sobering finding: More than a quarter of the nation’s 18- to 24-year-olds reported seriously considering suicide in the last 30 days. 

Monthly calls to a suicide prevention crisis hotline run by Sacramento-based WellSpace Health, which serves much of the state, almost doubled this year compared to a year earlier — up from a little more than 3,000 for June 2019 to almost 6,000 in June 2020.

One of the main words he said they hear from callers: “hopeless.”

“The psychological impact of COVID cannot be underestimated,” said Jonathan Porteus, WellSpace’s chief executive officer.

A county searches for answers

Humboldt’s high suicide rate can be traced to a combination of factors: gun ownership,  low median incomes and the precipitous decline of work in the logging, construction, fisheries and manufacturing sectors, mental health leaders there say. Heavy opioid and prescription drug use is also a key element — the county’s overdose death rate is often more than triple the statewide average, according to a county report, and is especially high in the Native American community.

For Native American residents like Celinda Gonzales, who make up more than 6% of the county’s population, historical and ongoing trauma and suffering are also significant, said Virgil Moorehead, a clinical psychologist and executive director of Two Feathers Native American Family Services.

“I don’t want to frame it as a mental illness,” he said. “I would frame it more as existential despair.”

Access to mental health services in Humboldt County is a problem, too, said Dr. Robert Soper, who heads a countywide behavioral health consortium he started five years ago. Soper, 71, said he is the only private psychiatrist left in the county. For years there were five, he said, but as his colleagues retired, no one replaced them. Being so remote from major cities makes it difficult to recruit, he said.

“If I could find someone good, I would have them in a heartbeat,” he said. “They would be full before they walked in the door.”

In 2016, the county’s civil grand jury received several complaints about the county’s mental health branch, with staff and local mental health advocates reporting “dysfunctional work guidelines, distrustful working relationships, unresponsive upper management, mass resignations, and an unsupportive work environment.” In its investigation, the grand jury found the county’s behavioral health board had done little to improve those conditions.

The county’s behavioral health director, Emi Botzler-Rodgers, told CalMatters her office has been “working diligently to change our branch culture” and improve staff morale. And Soper notes another important development: the county now has a mobile crisis team that can quickly evaluate people.

Two years ago, health officials in Eureka, the county seat, decided to make a concerted effort to address the county’s high suicide rate. 

The department brought in an epidemiologist, Dr. Kimberly Repp, to help create a suicide fatality review process modeled on one she successfully built in Washington County, Oregon. That county brought its suicide rate down by 40% in just five years, Repp said. 

Working in partnership with the coroner’s office, the sheriff’s department and other agencies, a county team used Repp’s method to study 250 suicides from the previous five years. 

Noting the growing numbers of gun purchases in the area, the team began building relationships with gun shop owners, distributing lockboxes and suicide prevention information to be given out with all sales. 

Aaron Ostrom, co-owner of Pacific Outfitters in Eureka, called the program “extremely beneficial.” Normally, such lockboxes cost $30, and not everyone opts to purchase one, he said.

“During COVID we saw a huge surge in first-time gun owners, with people getting nervous and freaked out,” he said. While longtime owners often know the importance of safely storing a firearm, he said, new gun owners might leave them, unsecured, in nightstands or closets. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June found that California handgun owners are much more likely to die by suicide than non-owners.

Dana Murguia, a senior program manager with the county who leads the task force, is a proponent of asking more people the difficult question: “Are you thinking of suicide?”

“The more you ask it, the more opportunities you have to help someone,” she said. “All of us have more opportunities for that, given what people are experiencing right now.”

Moorehead’s efforts are also gaining attention. Three years ago, he moved back to Humboldt County from Stanford University, where he had worked as a staff psychologist.  He and his team recruited local Native American college students to build relationships with the young people they served. Over a year and a half, the organization went from seeing 5 to 10 kids a week for counseling, to 50 or 60. The staff grew from four to 28. 

“We went up there and said ‘Look what’s possible,” Moorehead said. “We’re reaching those kids and we’re reaching them in a meaningful, deep way.”

The efforts in Humboldt started drawing state and national attention. 

On March 5, a high-powered coalition of state officials, along with various federal and tribal leaders, converged in Humboldt and met with Moorehead’s team.

One former Newsom administration official who joined the delegation described their work as “amazing.”

Then the pandemic blew up. 

California lacks centralized leadership

Half a year later, can California change its worrisome projections? 

Experts on suicide say some straightforward solutions are available: Get people to lock up their guns and dangerous medications. Prevent access to train tracks and bridges. Make sure there are culturally relevant local interventions — the kind of work Celinda Gonzales and Virgil Moorehead do. 

More challenging to address are all the deep economic and social drivers of suicide being aggravated right now — isolation, eviction, job loss, homelessness, chronic illness.

“When people come to me and say, ‘I lost my job. I couldn’t pay my rent. I got kicked out. I’m living in my car with my kid and my dog. My kid is trying to do distance learning from the car and I’m going to lose the car.’ I can’t go ‘Here take this pill, you’ll be fine,’” said Dr. Amy Barnhorst, a psychiatry professor and vice chair for clinical services at the University of California, Davis. 

California has lacked strong centralized leadership on suicide prevention for years, many mental health leaders agree. The state did have an office of suicide prevention years ago, said Kita Curry, who recently retired as president and CEO of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Los Angeles. But even before the Department of Mental Health folded in 2012, she said, the office was “dying through attrition.” 

“It kind of gradually disappeared,” she said. “I don’t know if anybody knew it was gone.”

California’s suicide rates have traditionally been lower than many other states’ — in part due to lower gun ownership rates here. But suicide rates also have been gradually climbing in California, as in the rest of the country, for the past two decades.

In January, the state’s Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission released a five-year strategic plan for suicide prevention. Among the measures it called for:

  • Creation of a statewide Office of Suicide Prevention
  • Expansion of the state’s Violent Death Reporting System
  • Standardized suicide prevention training for providers in hospital settings
  • Expanded screenings in other health care settings
  • Uniform policies for hospital discharge for people who have received suicide-related services

On Tuesday, the California’s state auditor released a report saying that school districts lack both the resources and policies needed to address climbing suicide rates among young people.

In response to the pandemic, the state Department of Health Care Services is now undertaking an effort, CalHOPE, to conduct a public awareness campaign, connect more people to mental health phone lines and bring those who need it into the mental health system. So far, the state has received  $3.2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency; their broader request — if approved — would bring in up to $82 million more. 

Assemblymember James Ramos, the first Native American enrolled in a California tribe to serve in the state Assembly, authored the bill this year to establish a new Office of Suicide Prevention. The office would identify and disseminate best practices, track and analyze outcomes, and focus more resources on preventing suicides in high-risk groups. With no money in the budget, there isn’t likely to be a statewide entity this year. But the bill’s supporters believe it’s an important first step for all Californians, including those living on reservations.

“The human soul is very sensitive,”said Ramos, who grew up on a reservation. “When you start to look at what it is we’re facing, it can become very disheartening.”

A mother’s story

Celinda Gonzales, who lives with her husband and pets on the Yurok reservation, has faced down tragedy for years.  She lost her son, Paul, to suicide, when he was just 19.  A handsome boy with an “off-the hook” sense of humor and a promising future in mixed martial arts, Paul, she said, “was our glue.”

Paul had been talking about taking his life since he was little, Gonzales said. She sent him to a counselor for a while, but after the counselor retired she struggled to get more help.

Her 43-year-old brother, Gaylord Lewis Jr., died by suicide five years later, in 2014.

Soon after that, other young men in the densely forested town of about 350 began to die. Within 18 months, the Yurok tribe tallied seven suicides in the Weitchpec area. The tribe declared a state of emergency and began applying for federal grants for suicide prevention. 

For a long time, many people in the county’s Native American communities struggled to even say the word “suicide,” said Boyd Ferris, behavioral health director of the K’ima:w Medical Center, which serves Hoopa tribal members. 

Wanting to do more, Gonzales undertook an intense, emotionally draining suicide intervention training, learning what signs to look for, what protocols to follow, where to turn for help.

“We have to take this serious,” she’d tell her neighbors. “There could come a day when they actually do follow through.”

Gonzales’ friend, Elizabeth Azzuz — the two are so close they consider each other sisters — lost several loved ones in that suicide cluster.

“I said, ‘We really, really need to do something. We’re suffering here,’” Azzuz said.

She felt the community needed someone with firsthand experience to do outreach, and convinced Gonzales to apply for the suicide intervention specialist position. Gonzales trained local police and fire departments and taught her neighbors not to assume their loved ones were “crying wolf.”

With the pandemic, community barbeques have stopped, as did the annual suicide walk. Also canceled were a host of summer dances and child healing ceremonies that have served as a centering force for many Native Americans.

Moorehead’s organization, Two Feathers, pivoted to move their outreach online. But often only 5 or 10 kids joined, instead of the 60 or 70 they were seeing pre-pandemic.

Some tell Moorehead they have suicidal thoughts 15 out of every 30 days.

“I think we’re playing with fire,” he said. “The communities it’s hitting the hardest are the ones that are already struggling.” 

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Unhealthy Air Quality Intensifies as Fires Continue

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 11:32 AM

Firefighters hold the line during a burning operation on the northwest flank of the August Complex North Zone on Sept. 26, 2020. These firefighters are positioned with the job of looking into the unburned forest while watching for spot fires created by embers floating across the control line in the wind. This way they can quickly respond to these spotfires to contain them. - PHOTO CREDIT: MIKE MCMILLAN/USFS.
  • Photo Credit: Mike McMillan/USFS.
  • Firefighters hold the line during a burning operation on the northwest flank of the August Complex North Zone on Sept. 26, 2020. These firefighters are positioned with the job of looking into the unburned forest while watching for spot fires created by embers floating across the control line in the wind. This way they can quickly respond to these spotfires to contain them.
With smoke from the Red Salmon Complex, the August Complex and the Slater Devil fire combining, an Air Quality Alert is issued today for Hoopa and Willow Creek, and an Air Quality Advisory is issued today for Orleans, Weitchpec, Bridgeville, and Garberville.

Eureka (from Rio Dell to Trinidad, along the coast) will have overall moderate conditions with periods of unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups. Orleans and Weitchpec will see unhealthy conditions, while Hoopa and Willow Creek will see hazardous conditions. Bridgeville will have unhealthy to very unhealthy conditions. Garberville and Redway will see very unhealthy air quality.

August North Zone Complex
: (all zones) 949,055 acres, 47 percent containment

Although the strong winds have died down, fire danger at the North Zone of the August Complex fire is still extreme. Dense smoke is polluting the air and is making it hard for fire personnel to see as they reported zero visibility.

The fire is spreading north of State Route 36 on both sides of the South Fork Trinity River.

An Evacuation Warning was issued and is still in effect for the areas east of Alderpoint Road to the Trinity County border and south of Showers Pass Road to Mountain Creek in Humboldt County.

State Route 36 is closed at  Zenia Bluffs Road at Humboldt County Line.

"Fire behavior remains active, with tree torching and uphill runs. Green pockets of vegetation continue to ignite near Forest Glen and Ruth Lake, posing on-going threats to structures. Firefighters are still working hard in Ruth, Post Mountain, Forest Glen, Three Forks, Hoaglin, Zenia, Kettenpom, Hettenshaw, and other affected communities to reduce hazards, protect structures, and conduct structure triage," the update reads.

Red Salmon Complex: 122,667 acres, 31 percent containment

The warmer weather and wind directions are causing increased smoke, which is combining with smoke from the August Complex Fire, which will most likely persist through the next few days.

Community meetings will be held at 11 a.m. today, outside Forks of Salmon
School and at 1:30 p.m. in Willow Creek, outside the Ceilville Community Center.

Planning is underway for a community meeting in the Hoopa Valley, date and time TBA.

According to today's update, crews completed a combination of dozer line and handline to control a 100-acre slopover in the western area of the fire, near the Colgrove Branch of Mill Creek.

Slater Devil Fire:  Slater: 154,145 acres, 45 percent containment
Devil: 8,410 acres, 20 percent containment

According to today's update, the fire line continues to hold well with minimal movement and growth.

In both the north and south area of the Slater fire, firefighters primary work
is mop-up, patrol, and securing the fire’s edge as fuels continue to dry.
They will continue to monitor and build a containment line from the
Oregon/California border on the west side of Highway 199 east to the
Sucker Creek area.

In areas of the Devil fire, aerial water drops were used along the north edge of the fire to help with hotspots. Firefighters continue to mop-up, patrol, and secure the fire’s edge. Contingency lines are in place. The south edge of the fire has a containment line from the Pacific Crest Trail towards Fort Goff Creek.

The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region extended the Regional Order (closure) through September 30, 2020, temporarily closing nine national forests, including the Six Rivers and Klamath National Forests. The region is under emergency fire restrictions.

Read all press releases regarding fire and air quality updates below.

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Police Investigating Fatal Single Car Crash in Eureka

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 9:47 AM

The Jeep sustained major damage in the crash. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The Jeep sustained major damage in the crash.
There was a fatal crash on Herrick Avenue west of the Eureka Municipal Golf Course this morning when a Jeep struck a parked Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Officers investigating the crash don’t yet know what time it occurred, according to Sgt. Mike Campbell with the California Highway Patrol.

Cambell said the victim was driving eastbound in the 300 block of Herrick Avenue when his vehicle left the roadway, narrowly missed a telephone pole, and struckthe parked pickup, which was attached to a trailer.

CHP Sgt. Mike Campbell talks with an officer at the scene of the crash. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • CHP Sgt. Mike Campbell talks with an officer at the scene of the crash.
Officers investigating have been canvassing the neighbors. Nobody heard the accident and nobody saw it prior to the 7:08 a.m. report. CHP is unsure at this time when the accident occurred.

According to Brittany Powell, spokesperson for the Eureka Police Department, around 4:30 a.m., dispatch received a call from a wife asking to help locate her husband, the driver of the Jeep, who had called her sounding disoriented.

“She asked that we patrol check and help look for him,” Powell told us. “A family member was attempting to find [the man].”
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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

One New COVID Case Confirmed

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 4:06 PM

Public Health reported one new confirmed COVID-19 case today, bringing the county's total to 509.

Humboldt County remains in the “moderate” category under the state's four-tiered system, with a test positivity rate of 0.7 percent and 1. cases per 100,000 individuals, according to the state's data, which was updated today. The statewide level is 7 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate of 3.4 percent.

The state's "substantial" risk tier — which includes counties averaging between 4 and seven new cases a day per 100,000 residents or test positivity rates of 5 to 8 percent — brings tighter restrictions, including further limiting indoor restaurant and gym capacities and closing some "non-essential indoor business operations," like office. If the county were to move into the "substantial risk" tier, it would then need to record numbers in the "moderate" tier for 21 consecutive days before the state would loosen the added restrictions.

To date, Humboldt County has seen 31 hospitalizations and eight deaths. Today's results include the processing of 66 samples, with the county at a positivity rate of 1.4 percent over the last week.
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.
A total of 509 Humboldt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, after one new case was reported today. Today’s alert level stands at two or level yellow.

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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Eureka High Wins Top Award

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 3:57 PM

A picture of the Career Choices Gold Medal awarded to Eureka High School.
  • A picture of the Career Choices Gold Medal awarded to Eureka High School.

Eureka High School took top honors for its 2019-2020 education program promoting college and career readiness. The school was recently awarded the Career Choices Medal and is one of 35 such distinguished schools to be designated as a Career Choices Medal School.

For more on the award, read the press release below:

EUREKA, Calif. — Eureka High School is being recognized for its outstanding education program promoting college and career readiness with a Career Choices Gold Medal.

As a Career Choices Medal School, Eureka High School is among 35 schools across the nation that have exemplified an eagerness to promote student success with the Career Choices series
program. The Career Choices series program, alongside My10yearPlan.com, helps students plot achievable 10-year plans for their future education and career goals.

Mindy Bingham, author of the Career Choices series, said being awarded a Career Choices Medal is a great accomplishment for programs that promote student success and improved college and career readiness.

“It requires solid leadership, top-notch teachers, and a lot of hard work,” Bingham said. “Many of the schools we work with are committed to that level of excellence, and that is reflected in their careful planning, intentional implementation of our materials, and dedication to ongoing improvement.”

Savannah Smith, a teacher at Eureka High School, said there is a strong culture of college and career preparedness at Eureka High.

“Students have more concrete plan for their future now,” Smith said. “The conversations we’re having are much more individualized and student driven.”


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Two Injured During Fight in Eureka This Afternoon

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 3:13 PM

Eureka Police responded to Seventh and M streets at 2:02 p.m. for the report of physical fight between two males.

According to Brittany Powell, spokesperson for EPD, “It appears the two males are known to each other. Both received significant injuries and were transported to the hospital.”

Powell explained that this is an active investigation. However, she said, “The scene is contained and there are no outstanding suspects.”
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UPDATE: August Complex FB Meeting; Smoky Skies Continue

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 2:56 PM

Smoky skies in Eureka. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Smoky skies in Eureka.
UPDATE: The virtual public meeting for the Slater and Devil Fires scheduled for 6 p.m. has been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later time.

Smoke-filled skies are creating unhealthy to very unhealthy conditions over much of the region, with some areas expected to see improvements this afternoon while other expected to worsen.

Hoopa, Weitchpec, Willow Creek, Fortuna, Garberville and Shelter Cove areas are under air quality advisories.

Red Salmon: Locations along the coast (mid and northern Humboldt) are expected to see improving conditions as a westerly breeze pushes smoke east later this afternoon. Areas north and east of the Red Salmon fire will generally see smoke increasing later in day and overnight as smoke drifts north and east. Smoke from Red Salmon is expected to extend farther north and east.

August Complex: Smoke will settle into valleys each night and morning and may be slow to lift or remain in place the entire day. This will lead to worsening smoke impacts and poor air quality across Southern Humboldt and Trinity County. Air quality will be highly dependent on fire activity from the August Complex as well as other fires burning regionally.

Slater/Devil Fire: Higher level transport winds will have a southerly component and will carry smoke from the very active fires to the south, northward into the Del Norte area starting this afternoon. Smoke  is anticipated to pool in the Klamath drainage this evening/overnight. Coastal Del Norte communities will also experience moderate impacts.

See the press releases below for more: Fire Updates

Red Salmon Complex:
120,236 acres, 31 percent containment

The fire complex burning just northeast of Willow Creek has grown by over 3,500 acres since yesterday’s report, and now spans more than 120,000 acres of mostly national forest lands and remains 31 percent contained.

There will be two community meetings on the Red Salmon Complex fires: On Wednesday Sept. 30, community meetings will be held in Forks of Salmon (11 a.m. at the Middle School) and in Cecilville (1:30 p.m. at the Community Center). A community meeting will also be held in the Hoopa Valley, time/date TBD.

"Hot and dry weather continues through the week," today's update says. "Winds will subside. The incident fire behavior analyst anticipates that interior unburned islands of fuels and uncontrolled fire edges will continue to readily burn. This and other fires may produce smoke accumulation in several local communities."

The Trinity County Sheriff’s Department established an Evacuation Warning for the community of Denny. An Evacuation Warning remains in place for Forks of Salmon. All residents and visitors should be prepared to evacuate.

For more on the update, read the press release below:
August Complex:
938,044 acres (all zones), 43 percent containment

North:

Shasta-Trinity, Six Rivers, and Mendocino National Forests will host a virtual community meeting this evening at 7:30 p.m. via Facebook Live
(https://www.facebook.com/events/2749090628665615/). The Incident Management Team and cooperating agencies will discuss the current fire status and projected plans.

And in Humboldt County, evacuation warnings have been issued for the following communities: 
hcoes.jpg

Areas east of Alderpoint Road, spanning south from Showers Pass Road to Harris Road, and all communities east of Harris Road spanning south from Alderpoint Road to Pipe Creek, including the community of Fort Seward.


Areas east of Bell Springs Road to the Trinity County border and south of Pipe Creek to the Mendocino County border. Residents should prepare for potential evacuations, including personal supplies and overnight accommodations. Be ready to go at a moment’s notice. More information will follow if an Evacuation Order is issued.

Residents are asked to prepare now and not to call 911 for wildfire information, a wildfire evacuation line can be reached at 707-268-2500.

Trinity County issued evacuation orders for: • Ruth and Ruth Lake • Forest Glen • Post Mountain/Trinity Pines • Three Forks • Hettenshaw Valley • Lower Mad River Road • Mad River • Zenia area


West:
"Yesterday, the fire continued to be wind driven to the west and southwest prompting evacuation orders and warnings being expanded in Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties," the update reads. "Firefighters worked in extremely difficult terrain, performing structure defense and constructing both indirect and direct containment line in the Travis Ranch area. Overnight, the fire was extremely active north of Travis Ranch and east of Zenia where firefighters were faced with the fire making uphill terrain driven runs."

For more information on the West Zone of the August Complex, call (707) 355-4926.

Slater and Devil Fires:
154,180 (Slater), 42 percent containment
8,410 (Devil), 18 percent containment

The Northern Rockies Team 2 Incident Management Team will hold a virtual
public meeting tonight at 6 p.m. Fire managers and representatives from
the community will provide an update on the fire situation, evacuations
and closures, and county services. A meeting Update: Cancelled.

The Red Flag Warning ended yesterday at 8 p.m.

For more on the Slater/Devil Fires update, read the press release below:
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