Monday, October 12, 2020

Eureka, Arcata Top Humboldt's COVID Case Count

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2020 at 5:45 PM

Public Health reported four new confirmed COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the county's total to 533. Two new hospitalizations were also reported.

The Humboldt County Data Dashboard now includes hospitalization rates by age group, death rates by age group and case totals by ZIP code, the latter of which will be reported in "a range of 0 to 5 for case count until the area surpasses 5 total cases," according to a news release.

After that threshold has been reached in a ZIP code, the exact number will be included. According to today's information, Arcata and Eureka lead the county, with 106 and 177, respectively. Fortuna was at 48 and McKinleyville showed 44.

“Case location is assigned to a person’s permanent residence, so it doesn’t indicate where a person may have contracted the virus,” County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a news release. “The best way to protect ourselves, our families and our economy is to practice prevention measures that limit spread of COVID-19 everywhere we go."

Last week, the county revamped its risk assessment tool to better align with the state's tiered COVID risk assessment system, which recently upgraded Humboldt County to "minimal" risk due to the county being the only one in California to meet a new "equity metric."

While that's good news, health officials caution that the designation could be fleeting if Humboldt County sees a rise in case counts. To date, the county has seen 34 hospitalizations and eight deaths.

Today's numbers include the testing of 505 samples.

Humboldt currently has a test positivity rate of 1.5 percent and 2 cases per 100,000 individuals, according to data released last Tuesday. New numbers will be released tomorrow. The statewide level is 7.1 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate of 3.2 percent.
Under the lower risk category, most indoor businesses — including bars — can reopen but the county can put further restrictions in place, according to the state. Only six other counties in California are in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.

As the Journal reported last week, the state has released new guidance regarding social gatherings, which limit gatherings to no more than three households and require they be held outdoors.

"Those households should be stable over time to reduce the risk of virus transmissions," a county press release states. "Gatherings should be held outdoors, and the space should be large enough to allow for physical distancing between households at all times. This is intended for private and family gathering and does not replace existing sector guidance."

In a news release today, the county noted that the state "does not permit concerts or live musical events, whether located indoors or outdoors" and if a three-household or fewer gathering were to include singing, chanting or the playing of instruments, social distancing should be maintained.

"Playing wind instruments, such as a flute or a clarinet, is strongly discouraged," the release states. Read more here.

“We recognize that as this pandemic goes on, it is a struggle for people to avoid gathering altogether,” Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in the release. “This guidance helps us all to minimize the inherent risk in coming together by limiting the size of the gathering and the number of different households coming together, while using all of the prevention strategies that have helped to keep our community safer.”



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.

Find the county release below.
Four new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since Friday, bringing to 533 the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus.

The Humboldt County Data Dashboard has been updated to include more local information, including hospitalization rates by age group, death rates by age group and case location by ZIP code. Because race and ethnicity information is self-reported and not available for all cases, this dataset now reflects a percentage based on the total number of cases for which data is available, rather the percentage of all cases.

Hospitalization and death rates by age group indicate the percentage of people within a particular age group of Humboldt County residents who have been hospitalized or died after testing positive for COVID-19.

Case counts by ZIP code will show a range of 0 to 5 for case count until the area surpasses 5 total cases, at which time the total confirmed count will be displayed. Go to humboldtgov.org/dashboard for the latest information.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich cautioned against using ZIP code information to assess an individual’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. “Case location is assigned to a person’s permanent residence, so it doesn’t indicate where a person may have contracted the virus,” she said.

This information is provided to help residents better understand how widespread the virus is in the community, but it should not be used to determine if a certain city or town is safe or not. “The best way to protect ourselves, our families and our economy is to practice prevention measures that limit spread of COVID-19 everywhere we go,” Dr. Frankovich 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
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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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