Monday, November 23, 2020

Latest COVID Cases Catapult Past Previous Record

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 4:20 PM

Humboldt County Public Health has confirmed 56 more COVID-19 cases since Friday, quickly closing in on last week's record-breaking 71, which itself had obliterated a record for the most cases recorded in a single week since the pandemic began.

The entire month of October saw 59 cases.

Now November stands at more than 200 cases and another hospitalization was confirmed. Also, with Thanksgiving just days away, public health officers fear an even more substantial spike in COVID cases will hit Humboldt, as well as the state and the nation, pushing healthcare capacities to the brink.

County officials expect Humboldt will moved into the state's most restrictive "widespread" COVID risk tier tomorrow.

“This was, unfortunately, anticipated, as we’ve been seeing sharp increases in case counts throughout the community,” Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a news release. “Our goal is to stabilize and then decrease COVID-19 activity throughout Humboldt, in order to return to a less restrictive tier and protect our healthcare system.”

In response, Public Health is changing its contact investigations process to meet the demands of rapidly increasing case counts, the release states.

Frankovich and her counterparts on the state and national level have been urging the residents not to travel, invite out-of-town guests or gather outside their household in an effort to slow the country's rapid COVID spike while there is still time. She has also recommended against in-person classes for two weeks following the holiday.

Last week, Humboldt's was catapulted from a "minimal" risk ranking, right over "moderate" and into the state's "substantial" risk category, when Gov. Gavin Newsom raised the risk tiers of multiple California counties. Now, the purple tier seems unavoidable.

Residents of California counties in the state’s purple — or “widespread” COVID-19 risk tier — are currently under a limited stay-at-home order issued by Newsom which prohibits “non-essential work, movement and gatherings” between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 1,179 samples.

To date, 784 Humboldt County residents have been confirmed to have the virus, after one case was reassigned to an individual's county of residence and another sample needed to be retested, with 42 having been hospitalized at some point in their care and nine confirmed COVID-related fatalities.
When the state last adjusted its COVID-19 tiers last Monday, Humboldt had 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 stood at a case rate of 16.5 per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 5.0 percent.

The county's release states that internal data shows the Humboldt's case rate at more than 7.0.

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.

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.
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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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