Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Travel, Gatherings Behind Most Recent COVID Cases

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 4:21 PM

Humboldt County's COVID count stands at 624 after Public Health confirmed four new cases today while a previous case was reassigned to another county.

That brings this week's tally to 19, so far. Last week 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 increases are taking place across the state and the nation.

Meanwhile, Humboldt will retain its “minimal” COVID risk status for at least one more week, according to the data released today under California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy."

Humboldt currently has an adjusted case rate of 2.0 — which the state describes as a seven-day average of daily cases with a seven-day lag time of daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people — and a positivity rate of 1.0 percent. Overall, the state stands at a case rate of 8.4 per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 3.4 percent.

But, as local health officials have repeatedly warned in recent weeks, an uptick in cases could propel Humboldt in the “moderate” tier, which would bring more restrictions to local businesses.

Humboldt County Deputy Health Officer Josh Ennis said in a press release that local trends are headed in the wrong direction.

“If that continues, we could see a move to the orange tier in the next month,” he said, emphasizing that individual actions have a direct impact on the community. “Adherence to simple safety measures like wearing a facial covering, regular handwashing and avoiding mixing with other households, especially during and after travel, is the best way to support our businesses and families. Travel remains the main driver of illness right now. The more we can do to prevent spread of this virus, the better off we will all be.”

Ennis noted yesterday that the majority of recent cases have been tied to travel and gatherings and are "scattered throughout the county, rather than originating from one or two larger clusters or outbreaks."

Nationwide, 9.9 million people have tested positive for the disease, including 105,142 yesterday, with 237,037 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. California, meanwhile, has seen 977,218 confirmed cases, including 18,001 fatalities.

The county is encouraging those who are asymptomatic to sign up for a free COVID test at the OptumServe site in Eureka. Appointments can be made by calling 888-634-1123 or visit lhi.care/covidtesting.


Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 194 samples with a positivity rate of 2 percent. To date, Humboldt County has seen 37 people hospitalized at some point in their COVID-19 care and 10 COVID-related deaths.

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 includes 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 the county.

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. See the county's full press release copied below:

Nov. 10, 2020 - Four New Cases Reported; Previous Case Reassigned to Another County

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Four new cases of COVID-19 were reported today. A previous case was reassigned to the person’s county of residence, so the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus now stands at 624.

The California Department of Public Health today updated the county’s tier assignment under the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” Humboldt County remains in the “yellow” or minimal tier with an adjusted case rate of 2.0 and a positivity rate of 1%. Though local data meets the criteria for the orange tier, the county will stay in the yellow tier after qualifying for the state’s Health Equity Metric.

Humboldt County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Josh Ennis said that local trends are headed in the wrong direction. “If that continues, we could see a move to the orange tier in the next month,” he said, emphasizing that individual actions have a direct impact on the community. “Adherence to simple safety measures like wearing a facial covering, regular handwashing and avoiding mixing with other households, especially during and after travel, is the best way to support our businesses and families. Travel remains the main driver of illness right now,” he added. “The more we can do to prevent spread of this virus, the better off we will all be.”

To find out how sectors will be affected if local conditions remain unchanged and the state assigns the county to a more restrictive tier, visit cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Dimmer-Framework-September_2020.pdf.

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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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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