Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Humboldt COVID Cases Still Rising

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2020 at 4:16 PM

Humboldt County Public Health reported 18 additional COVID-19 cases today, making a record 91 so far this week, breaking last week's 71 mark and closing in on nearly double October's monthlong total of 59.

The county's continued surge in cases has landed Humboldt in the state's purple "widespread" risk tier, bringing new layers of restrictions on local businesses.

"Today, Humboldt County’s local case rate stands at 8.6 per 100,000 residents, well over the 7.0 required for movement into the “Purple” tier," a county news release states. "Public Health calculates the local case rate based on the most current case information, which accounts for the difference between the state-posted rate and the county’s on any given day."

November now stands at around than 250 cases and officials are bracing for what is expected to be a deluge of positive tests following the Thanksgiving holiday, pushing healthcare capacities on the local, state and national level to the brink.

Humboldt County's new purple status will force restaurants, movie theaters and laces of worship to cease all indoor operations, while also imposing the governor's nighttime shelter-in-place order, which requires residents to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. save for essential outings.

"We are truly in the midst of a surge here in California," the state's Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said during a press conference Tuesday announcing the new tier levels and urging residents not to mix households during the Thanksgiving holiday.

"These are the things we have to do to protect our friends and family because we love them," he added.

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

Eureka, meanwhile, has closed City Hall to the public until further notice.

Due to an increasing number of cases of COVID-19 within our community, City Hall will be closed to the general public...

Posted by City of Eureka on Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Frankovich has also been urging Humboldt 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.

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.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that it will continue to "prioritized education and voluntary compliance, rather than criminal enforcement of health orders."

The state of California largely depends on two metrics to determine where a county falls in its tier system: the percentage of COVID-19 tests administered that come back positive over a seven-day period and the average number of new positive cases confirmed per 100,000 in population daily over the course of a week. Both have spiked locally over the course of the last month.

Under the latest state data, Humboldt has an adjusted case rate of 6.1 per 100,000 and a 2.3 percent positivity rate. The state, in comparison, has a case rate of 24.9 and a positivity rate of 6.2 percent.

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 314 samples.

To date, 819 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.

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.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 30, testing will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the week. Appointments for these new time slots are available now, according to the county's release.

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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