Monday, November 16, 2020

UPDATED: Humboldt Moved to Red COVID-19 Tier, Bringing New Restrictions

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2020 at 12:21 PM

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UPDATE:
The Humboldt County Joint Information Center issued a press release on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement this afternoon that Humboldt is being pushed into the state’s red COVID-19 risk tier, bringing a host of new restrictions.

In the release, Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said that, with Humboldt County’s current case rate of 4.8 daily new cases per 100,000 residents with a test-positivity rate of 2 percent, there is concern the county could be moved into the state’s purple tier — its most restrictive — soon.

“Since the state first implemented the blueprint framework, they’ve signaled that they could move faster if conditions warranted,” Frankovich said in the release. “Our recent data shows why that make sense because this virus is moving faster than we have ever seen, and rapid response can help slow the upward trajectory.”

Under the state’s framework, once a county is moved into a more restrictive tier — as happened with Humboldt County today — it will remain there for at least three weeks before restrictions can be lifted, if conditions warrant.

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays fast approaching, Frankovich urged residents to limit interactions and refrain from gathering with people outside their households.

“We need to reduce interactions between people who don’t already live together, and we need to do it now,” she said. “Travel to visit family and friends as well as bringing out-of-town guests into our homes is driving about half of our cases,”
She added that gatherings occurring indoors between multiple households are contributing “enormously” to local case counts.

See the county’s full press release copied below our original post.

PREVIOUSLY:
Humboldt County will skip the state's orange COVID-19 risk tier and move directly from yellow into the red — or "substantial" — risk tier, ushering in a new wave of restrictions on local business, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this afternoon.

Humboldt is one of 40 counties to move backward in the state's reopening framework as virus caseloads surge throughout the state, with Newsom saying daily cases have doubled in the last 10 days.

"This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of the pandemic," the governor said. "The rate of increase is simply without precedent."


Humboldt County has seen a similarly alarming upward case trend, confirming 53 new COVID-19 cases last week — the most in a single week since the pandemic's start. Deputy Health Officer Josh Ennis also warned that the trend is made all the more concerning by the fact that the spike isn't attributable to a few large clusters or outbreaks, but the result of many small case clusters driven by travel and community transmission.

Newsom said today counties will have to implement restrictions of their new tiers within 24 hours, rather than the 72 they were allowed previously, due the severity of case increases statewide.

Under the state's substantial risk tier, indoor social gatherings are strongly discouraged with a maximum of three households, retail stores and shopping centers need to cut capacity to less than 50 percent, while churches, movie theaters and dine-in restaurants need to cut capacity to 25 percent. Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to operate at 10-percent capacity, and bars and breweries will be forced to close. (Breweries with restaurants can continue operations under restaurant guidelines.)

Newsom said after today's shifts — which saw multiple counties moved more than one risk tier in an effort to contain the virus' spread — two counties are in the yellow tier, four are in orange, 11 are in red and 41 are in purple, the state's most stringent category.

Newsom explained that the state’s “blueprint for a safer economy” reopening plan allows the state to institute an “emergency break,” in which it can move faster than the blueprint typically allows, which is the action taken today.

As for Humboldt's neighbors, Mendocino, Trinity and Siskiyou counties have all been moved to the state’s purple tier, while Del Norte County was moved into the state's red tier.

In the interest of “full disclosure,” Newsom also said the state is considering the implementation of some kind of curfew, saying he has three international studies on their efficacy sitting on his desk, though no decisions have yet been made as to what that would look like if it were to be implemented.


From the Humboldt County Joint Information Center:

Nov. 16, 2020 - State Reassigns Counties Due to Case Surge; Humboldt Assigned to Red Tier
The State of California today moved a number of counties into more restrictive tiers in response to the fastest increase in cases and hospitalizations seen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Humboldt County has been reassigned to the “red” or substantial tier.
The state will require various business sectors to reduce capacity or modify operations, while still following COVID-19 safety measures, including facial covering requirements, physical distancing and sanitation procedures. These requirements are expected to take effect within the next 24 hours.
This move by the state reflects where the county’s data is today, with a case rate of 4.8 and a positivity rate of 2.0%. Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said at the current pace, there is concern that the county will move into the more restrictive purple tier soon. “Since the state first implemented the Blueprint framework, they’ve signaled that they could move faster if conditions warranted. Our recent data shows why that makes sense because this virus is moving faster than we have ever seen, and rapid response can help to slow the upward trajectory.”
“We need to reduce interactions between people who don’t already live together, and we need to do it now. Travel to visit family and friends as well as bringing out-of-town guests into our homes is driving about half of our cases,” Dr. Frankovich said, adding that gatherings occurring indoors between multiple households is contributing “enormously” to case counts.
Some of the state’s requirements under the red tier include:
o Bars, Breweries and Distilleries – Closed.
o Wineries – Open outdoors only.
o Family Entertainment Centers – Open outdoors only.
o Retail – Open indoors at maximum 50% capacity.
o Shopping Centers, Malls, Swap Meets - Open indoors at maximum 50% capacity; Close common areas; Reduce food court capacity to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
o Museums, Zoos and Aquariums – Open indoors at maximum 25% capacity.
o Places of Worship – Open indoors at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
o Movie Theaters - Open indoors at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
o Hotels and Lodging – Close indoor pools, hot tubs and spa facilities; Fitness centers reduced to maximum 10% capacity.
o Gyms and Fitness Centers - Open indoors at maximum 10% capacity; Close indoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs.
o Restaurants - Open indoors at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
“We simply need to stop traveling and stop gathering, especially indoors. It isn’t safe, and it is impacting our schools and our business communities,” Dr. Frankovich said. “The upcoming holidays need to be single household celebrations if we want to get through this pandemic with fewer hospitalizations and fewer lives lost.”
To view COVID-19 safety modifications by industry sector, visit covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance. For a complete list of requirements in the red or substantial tier, go to 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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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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