Monday, November 9, 2020

Humboldt's COVID Case Spike Continues

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 4:16 PM

Public Health reported 16 new cases have been confirmed since Friday, making a total of 621 for Humboldt County.

It's a continuation of a spike that began last week, when the county saw 34 cases, the largest total in a single week since September. There were nine confirmed cases the previous week and 59 in all of October.

Similar rises in cases are taking place across the state and the nation.

According to a county news release, the majority of Humboldt County's cases are 
"tied to travel and gatherings" and are "scattered throughout the county, rather than originating from one or two larger clusters or outbreaks."

“We’re seeing groups of people gather indoors and coming into close contact for longer periods of time,” Deputy County Health Officer Josh Ennis said. “We’ve been talking about the confluence of COVID and colder weather for months, and now that time is here. We all have to redouble our prevention efforts to slow transmission, protect the vulnerable and preserve health care capacity."

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 609 samples. To date, Humboldt County has seen 37 people hospitalized at some point in their COVID-19 care and 10 COVID-related deaths.

California Department of Public Health data released last week under the state's "Blueprint for a Safer Economy" risk-ranking system has Humboldt marking its fourth week in the minimal tier, with a positivity rate of 0.7 percent and an adjusted case rate of 1.1 per 100,000 residents.

Meanwhile, the state has an overall test positivity rate of 3.3 and case rate of 7.7 per 100,000 in population.

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. Read more about what it means here.

The Humboldt County Data Dashboard was recently updated 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 here.

Read the county release below:
A total of 621 county residents have tested positive for COVID-19, after 16 cases were confirmed since Friday. As much of the nation is seeing a wave of confirmed cases, California is also seeing an upward trend, according to Humboldt County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Josh Ennis.

Recently, the majority of Humboldt County’s cases are tied to travel and gatherings, he said, adding that they are scattered throughout the county, rather than originating from one or two larger clusters or outbreaks. “We’re seeing groups of people gather indoors and coming into close contact for longer periods of time,” Dr. Ennis said.

“We’ve been talking about the confluence of COVID and colder weather for months, and now that time is here. We all have to redouble our prevention efforts to slow transmission, protect the vulnerable and preserve health care capacity.”

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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