Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Humboldt Marks 8 Months Since First COVID Case

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2020 at 4:11 PM

Eight months after Humboldt had its first confirmed COVID-19 case, becoming the first rural county in the United States to do so, the case total stands at 560, with Public Health reporting two positive tests today.

“We’ve all been living through this pandemic for quite a while, and that can take a toll,” County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a news release. “Maintaining relationships with our loved ones, getting adequate exercise and taking time to unwind are just a few healthy coping strategies that can be enjoyed while following COVID safety precautions.”

Under California Department of Public Health data released Tuesday, Humboldt County remains in the yellow or minimal tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with a positivity rate of 0.5 percent and an adjusted case rate of 1.

But health officials warn a spike in cases would be enough to push Humboldt back into a more restrictive tier.

Right now, 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 seven other counties in California are currently in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.

Today's results included 296 test samples. To date, Humboldt County has seen 36 hospitalizations and nine COVID-related deaths, the most recent a 38-year-old man.
The Humboldt County Data Dashboard was updated last week to include hospitalization rates by age group, death rates by age group and case totals by ZIP code, the latter of which are reported in "a range of 0 to 5 for case count until the area surpasses 5 total cases," according to a county news release.

After that threshold has been reached in a ZIP code, the exact number will be included.


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

Read the county's news release below:

Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported today, bringing to 560 the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus.

Humboldt County saw its first case of COVID-19 eight months ago yesterday.

Living through any crisis for that length of time can have long-term impacts on mental and physical wellness, said Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich, who noted that addressing these impacts can be as important as virus prevention measures.

“We’ve all been living through this pandemic for quite a while, and that can take a toll,” the doctor said. “Maintaining relationships with our loved ones, getting adequate exercise and taking time to unwind are just a few healthy coping strategies that can be enjoyed while following COVID safety precautions.”

Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Behavioral Health Director Emi Botzler-Rodgers added, “It is so important to continue to connect with other people in ways that are safe. It is also critical to care for ourselves with healthy eating, rest and exercise.”

Learn more about coping with the long-term effects of a pandemic at humboldtgov.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=3367. 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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