Thursday, November 19, 2020

Humboldt's COVID Case Count Jumps Past 700 Mark

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 2:44 PM

Public Health reported 12 COVID-19 cases today, making 141 to date for the month of November.

Fifty-three cases were verified last week, the most recorded in that time period locally since the pandemic began. October saw a total of 58 during the entire month.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, health officials on the local, state and national level are urging the residents not to travel, invite out-of-town guests or gather outside their household in an effort to turn the tide on the country's rapid COVID spike, which launched the Humboldt from a "minimal" risk ranking, right over "moderate" and into the state's "substantial" risk category on Monday, when Gov. Gavin Newsom raised the risk tiers of multiple California counties.

That will mean a host of new restrictions for many business across the region. (Read more here.)

Meanwhile, starting on Saturday, residents of California counties in the state’s purple — or “widespread” COVID-19 risk tier — will be under a limited stay-at-home order issued by Newsom that prohibits “non-essential work, movement and gatherings” between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a news release. “It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”

County health officials have been warning residents for weeks that Humboldt held a fragile grasp on the "minimal" tier and now are emphasizing how the recent unprecedented spread is due mainly to folk traveling out of town or hosting guests as well as indoor gatherings of multiple households.

Both the county of Humboldt and the California Department of Public Health, which last week issued a travel advisory strongly discouraging non-essential travel and urging residents to stay close to home when possible.

Those who do travel are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“All travel is risky. That’s been the case for quite some time, but especially now as we see case rates climbing all over the state and country," County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a news release this week. "Self-quarantining is an important way to keep infections from spreading, but the safest thing to do for our community’s long-term health is to cancel or postpone travel that’s not essential.”

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 346 samples.
To date, 711 Humboldt County residents have been confirmed to have the virus, with 41 having been hospitalized at some point in their care and nine confirmed COVID-related fatalities.

Humboldt currently has an adjusted case rate of 4.8 — 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 2.0 percent. Overall, the state stands at a case rate of 16.5 per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 5.0 percent.

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

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 [email protected] or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at [email protected] 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.
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About The Author

Kimberly Wear

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

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