Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020: A Photographer's Look Back

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 8:13 PM

As I reflect back on the year 2020 from before — and after — the coronavirus pandemic, I have to agree with the CNN editor who said, "It may not be a year you want to remember, but 2020 is one you'll never forget."

 In the “before” era, my life in January and February included photographing the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration, an anti-war demonstration, the Clam Beach Run, the Inked Hearts tattoo expo, the Marble Weekend event and live arts and culture performances like the Taiko Drum Swing performance and Dell'Arte’s First Year shows. (See slideshow below.)

January – A soloist in the Healing and Compassion Spiritual Singers and Black Empowerment Dance Troupe helped close the Martin Luther King Birthday event in Eureka, with group director Valetta Molofsky looking on. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • January – A soloist in the Healing and Compassion Spiritual Singers and Black Empowerment Dance Troupe helped close the Martin Luther King Birthday event in Eureka, with group director Valetta Molofsky looking on.

In early March, I remember my last face-to-face appointments with my doctor and tax accountant, my last walk around farmers market, stopping to hug friends in greeting, and my last attendance at a Humboldt State University basketball game.

Continue reading »

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Public Health Confirms 33 New COVID-19 Cases

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 3:42 PM

PUBLIC HEALTH
  • public health

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 33 new COVID-19 cases today.

Yesterday, Public Health Officer Ian Hoffman urged residents to avoid gatherings for New Year's Eve as the county has seen the impacts of Thanksgiving get-togethers and has yet to see the impact of Christmas gatherings.

Today's cases come after Public Health confirmed 53 yesterday and 31 on Tuesday and 61 on Monday.

On Tuesday, the state lowered Humboldt County from its "widespread" purple risk tier, California's most restrictive, to its "substantial" red tier, which will allow some businesses and organizations to resume limited indoor operations, including restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and places of worship. (Read more here.)

But Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman said in a press release that in many ways data does not support the state's decision.

"Our case rates are the highest they've ever been, and our contact investigation teams are tracking more cases, not fewer," he said. "It's unfortunate that we didn't get to have a conversation with the state before this decision was handed down."

Hoffman, however, didn't indicate he intended to keep the stricter purple tier restrictions in place.

Meanwhile, the "Northern California" region of the state — which includes Humboldt and 11 other counties — is the only one not yet under a regional stay-at-home order. The order will be triggered throughout the region when its commutative available hospital intensive care unit capacity drops below 15 percent, as has already occurred in the rest of the state.

As of this morning, the state reported the region had a combined 34.1 percent capacity. If implemented, the order will temporarily close bars, wineries, personal service salons, hair salons and barbershops, while retail stores will be limited to 20 percent capacity and restaurants will be limited to take-out and delivery only. Schools that have a waiver will be allowed to remain open to in-person instruction and critical infrastructure will remain open. The order also temporarily prohibits all non-essential travel.

In Humboldt County, healthcare workers have already said there are emergency room patients who have been waiting for days for transfers out of the area for specialized care because hospitals throughout the state don't have available beds.

Today's Humboldt County cases were confirmed after 508 samples were processed.

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 dramatically in recent weeks.

While California has a case rate of 93.1 daily cases confirmed per 100,000 residents (up from 80.7) with a test positivity rate of 14.5 percent (up from 13.3) in data released today, Humboldt has a case rate of 14 cases per 100,000 (down from 18.5 last week) and a 4 percent positivity rate, also a decrease.

To date, 1,764 Humboldt County residents have been confirmed to have the virus, with 66 having been hospitalized at some point in their care and 22 confirmed COVID-related fatalities. Five Humboldt County residents are currently hospitalized, according to the county's dashboard, including two under intensive care.

Nationally, more than 19.8 million people have been confirmed to have the virus, including 230,337 cases confirmed today, with 341,199 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Statewide, 2.2 million people have been confirmed to have the disease, including 25,386 today, with 25,386 COVID-related fatalities.

Meanwhile, the county's Joint Information Center is urging locals to get tested, calling it "one of the most helpful things county residents can do for the community at large," because it allows Public Health to catch cases early and limit spread. The state-run OptumServe testing site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka is open seven days a week and no-cost appointments can be made by clicking here or calling (888) 634-1123.

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 assessing risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found 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. Find the press release from Public Health copied below.

Dec. 31, 2020 - 33 New Cases Reported Today

A total of 1,764 county residents have tested positive for COVID-19, after 33 additional cases of the virus were reported today.

The Humboldt County Joint Information Center will be closed Friday, Jan. 1, for New Year’s Day. Normal business hours will resume at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 4.

All OptumServe COVID-19 testing sites will be closed Friday, Jan. 1. Testing is expected to resume on Saturday, Jan. 2. 

Excluding holidays, testing currently is available seven days a week at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka. OptumServe also offers testing at an additional location in the county each weekday. To find a nearby testing site and to schedule a no-cost appointment:

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.

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COVID Compliance Tip Line Moving to City Jurisdictions

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 12:03 PM

COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
Starting Jan. 1, the Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center's Joint Information Center will no longer operate the COVID-19 compliance tip line instead, all COVID-19 compliance activities will be handled by the jurisdiction in which violations are alleged to occur.

Examples of COVID-19 compliance violations include a lack of employee masking, businesses operating when they should be closed and large community gatherings.

People who would like to report a potential violation may call the appropriate county or city office directly. Those jurisdictions are:
  • City of Arcata 707-822-5953
  • City of Blue Lake 707-668-5655
  • City of Eureka 707-441-4203
  • City of Fortuna 707-725-1435
  • City of Ferndale 707-786-4224
  • City of Rio Dell 707-764-5642
  • City of Trinidad 707-677-0223
  • Unincorporated county locations 707-476-2429
Read the full press release below.


Dec. 30, 2020 - Compliance Calls Migrating to Local Jurisdictions
Effective Jan. 1, 2021, all COVID-19 compliance activities will be handled by the jurisdiction in which violations are alleged to occur. The COVID-19 Compliance Tip Line, which has been operated by the Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center’s Joint Information Center, will be shut down Jan. 1.

Examples of reportable violations include a lack of employee masking, businesses operating when they should be closed and large community gatherings.

Members of the public who wish to report a potential violation may call the appropriate county or city office directly. Those jurisdictions are:

  • City of Arcata                                     707-822-5953
  • City of Blue Lake                               707-668-5655
  • City of Eureka                                    707-441-4203
  • City of Fortuna                                   707-725-1435
  • City of Ferndale                                 707-786-4224
  • City of Rio Dell                                   707-764-5642
  • City of Trinidad                                   707-677-0223
  • Unincorporated county locations        707-476-2429

For more information about current status of business operations, visit humboldtgov.org or Blueprint for a Safer Economy at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.

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Hazardous Surf Conditions Through Tonight

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 10:56 AM

The National Weather Service Eureka is reporting hazardous surf conditions through tonight with possible waves of up to 20 feet and is urging beachgoers to avoid rocks, jetties and steep beaches.

"Always remember to never to turn your back on the ocean," reads the NWS tweet.

See the full warning below. 
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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

City of Eureka Halts Enforcement on New Camping Ordinance

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 5:40 PM

The city of Eureka has halted enforcement on a camping ordinance that was set to take effect tonight at midnight according to a release by the Legal Services of Northern California and Disability Rights California.

The Eureka City Council passed the ordinance on Nov. 17 prohibiting involuntary camping in most parts of Eureka including business districts and high-use trail areas.

The Legal Services of Northern California along with other local organizations like the Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA) opposed the decision and believe that the ordinance "violates recent federal court decisions and despite the fact that the City has insufficient shelter space," and are urging the city council to "refrain from criminalizing homelessness."

According to the release, the Eureka City Council will reconsider the ordinance at its next meeting on Jan. 5.

Eureka City Attorney  Robert Black informed the Legal Services of Northern California that the ordinance won't be enforced, but reconsidered with minor modifications.

“Now, more than ever, the City needs to show up for its most vulnerable. Rather than putting its efforts toward circumventing the constitutional protections of homeless individuals, the City should focus on ensuring all its residents’
basic needs are met,” said Rebecca Smith, of Legal Services of Northern California. “We call on the City to seize this opportunity to reconsider its approach to homelessness in our community, and to commit itself to effective, evidence-based solutions to support Eureka residents who do not have shelter. The public health and safety of the community during this devastating time depends on the support of our leaders.”

Read the full press release below.

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Public Health Confirms 53 New COVID-19 Cases and Two Deaths

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 4:11 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 53 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths today, both residents of Granada Hills Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

Public Health Officer Ian Hoffman is urging residents to avoid gatherings for New Year's Eve as the county has seen the impacts of Thanksgiving get-togethers and has yet to see the impact of Christmas gatherings.

“We saw a significant increase in local cases after Thanksgiving largely due to travel, and we have yet to see the full impact of holiday travel over the Christmas holiday," Hoffman said adding that individual choices are vital to limiting the impact of the virus. “Please choose to stay home this New Year’s Eve, especially if you’re sick. Find ways to celebrate that avoid crowds and gatherings, and please follow all safety measures, including wearing a mask, washing hands and keeping distance from people you don’t live with.”

Today's cases come after Public Health confirmed 31 yesterday and 61 Monday. Yesterday, the state also lowered Humboldt County from its "widespread" purple risk tier, California's most restrictive, to its "substantial" red tier, which will allow some businesses and organizations to resume limited indoor operations, including restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and places of worship. (Read more here.)

But Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman said in a press release that in many ways data does not support the state's decision.

"Our case rates are the highest they've ever been, and our contact investigation teams are tracking more cases, not fewer," he said. "It's unfortunate that we didn't get to have a conversation with the state before this decision was handed down."

Hoffman, however, did not indicate he intended to keep the stricter purple tier restrictions in place.

Meanwhile, the "Northern California" region of the state — which includes Humboldt and 11 other counties — is the only one not yet under a regional stay-at-home order. The order will be triggered throughout the region when its commutative available hospital intensive care unit capacity drops below 15 percent, as has already occurred in the rest of the state.

As of this morning, the state reported the region had a combined 31.5 percent capacity. If implemented, the order will temporarily close bars, wineries, personal service salons, hair salons and barbershops, while retail stores will be limited to 20 percent capacity and restaurants will be limited to take-out and delivery only. Schools that have a waiver will be allowed to remain open to in-person instruction and critical infrastructure will remain open. The order also temporarily prohibits all non-essential travel.

In Humboldt County, healthcare workers have already said there are emergency room patients who have been waiting for days for transfers out of the area for specialized care because hospitals throughout the state don't have available beds.

Today's Humboldt County cases were confirmed after 382 samples were processed.

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 dramatically in recent weeks.

While the California has a case rate of 93.1 daily cases confirmed per 100,000 residents (up from 80.7) with a test positivity rate of 14.5 percent (up from 13.3) in data released today, Humboldt has a case rate of 14 cases per 100,000 (down from 18.5 last week) and a 4 percent positivity rate, also a decrease.

To date, 1,731Humboldt County residents have been confirmed to have the virus, with 66 having been hospitalized at some point in their care and 22 confirmed COVID-related fatalities. Seven Humboldt County residents are currently hospitalized, according to the county's dashboard, including three under intensive care.

Nationally, more than 19.4 million people have been confirmed to have the virus, including 199,282 cases confirmed yesterday, with 337,419 deaths, according the Centers for Disease Control. Statewide, 2.2 million people have been confirmed to have the disease, including 31,245 yesterday, with 24,526 COVID-related fatalities.

Meanwhile, the county's Joint Information Center is urging locals to get tested, calling it "one of the most helpful things county residents can do for the community at large," because it allows Public Health to catch cases early and limit spread. The state-run OptumServe testing site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka is open seven days a week and no-cost appointments can be made by clicking here or calling (888) 634-1123.

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. Find the press release from Public Health copied below.

Dec. 30, 2020 - Two Deaths, 53 New Cases Reported Today
Two county residents have died after testing positive for COVID-19, and 53 new cases were reported today. The total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus now stands at 1,731.

Both people who died were in their 80s and residents of the Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman expressed his sympathies to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and encouraged everyone in the community to do their part to stop the spread, especially with the New Year’s holiday approaching.

Dr. Hoffman said, “We saw a significant increase in local cases after Thanksgiving largely due to travel, and we have yet to see the full impact of holiday travel over the Christmas holiday.” He added that individual choices are vital to limiting the impact of the virus. “Please choose to stay home this New Year’s Eve, especially if you’re sick. Find ways to celebrate that avoid crowds and gatherings, and please follow all safety measures, including wearing a mask, washing hands and keeping distance from people you don’t live with.”

For more COVID-19 holiday safety tips, go to https://covid19.ca.gov/holidays/.

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.

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Yurok Tribe Purchases 40-Acre Land for Food Security Farm

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 3:37 PM

LOUISA MCCOVEY
  • Louisa McCovey
With the help of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding, the Yurok Tribe has purchased 40-acres of agricultural land to create a food security farm filled with healthy fruits and vegetables.

“The COVID-19 crisis illuminated a very real potential for food shortages in our rural region. We purchased this property to make the Tribe more self-sufficient during times of emergency and when things get back to normal. This property presents an ideal location to cultivate a tremendous amount of healthy, organic produce for our people,” said the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe Joseph L. James. “Establishing this environmentally sustainable food security farm will also strengthen our sovereignty.”

According to the release, in 2017, the USDA declared the Yurok Reservation a food desert because there are very few sources of healthy foods on tribal lands.

The Yurok Tribe Environmental Program's Food Sovereignty Division will manage the farm with a holistic regenerative method of cultivation to grow a wide variety of vegetables. The site, which is located next to the Margaret Keating Elementary School and the tribe's Head Start programs, will also serve as an outdoor classroom for students.

Earlier this year, the Yurok Tribe acquired the 26-acre Weitchpec Nursery, which will offer plant starts and gardening equipment on top of growing fruits and vegetables.

This year, we have taken significant steps toward radically increasing the availability of healthy foods on the reservation. With this acquisition and the purchase of the old Weitchpec nursery, we have secured more than 65 acres of land for food production, which will complement our efforts to restore our natural food resources. For many years to come, these projects will improve the physical and mental health of our youth, families and elders,” added Ryan Ray, the Yurok Tribal Council’s Requa district representative.

Read the full press release below. 

Yurok Tribe purchases 40-acre parcel for food security farm

More than 60 acres of land now dedicated to organic food production

The Yurok Tribe recently purchased 40-acres of agricultural land to create a food security farm.

“The COVID-19 crisis illuminated a very real potential for food shortages in our rural region. We purchased this property to make the Tribe more self-sufficient during times of emergency and when things get back to normal. This property presents an ideal location to cultivate a tremendous amount of healthy, organic produce for our people,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “Establishing this environmentally sustainable food security farm will also strengthen our sovereignty.”

“This year, we have taken significant steps toward radically increasing the availability of healthy foods on the reservation. With this acquisition and the purchase of the old Weitchpec nursery, we have secured more than 65 acres of land for food production, which will complement our efforts to restore our natural food resources. For many years to come, these projects will improve the physical and mental health of our youth, families and elders,” added Ryan Ray, the Yurok Tribal Council’s Requa District Representative.

The Yurok Tribe Environmental Program’s Food Sovereignty Division will manage the Klamath farm, which is located next the Margaret Keating Elementary School and the Yurok Tribe’s Head Start and Early Head Start. The Food Sovereignty Division’s staff will employ a holistic, regenerative method of cultivation to grow a wide variety of vegetables at the site. An organic orchard will be established on the property too. Purchased with funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the parcel is comprised of roughly equal parts fertile pasture and forest. The redwood-dominant forest flanks Mynot Creek and contains traditional food resources, such as huckleberry. In the future, the Klamath farm will also serve as an outdoor classroom where Yurok students will participate in projects featuring the following: earth-friendly plant cultivation, culturally consistent land management, traditional food harvesting and fish and wildlife habitat restoration.

Earlier this year, the Yurok Agricultural Corporation, a Yurok Tribe-owned entity, acquired the 26-acre Weitchpec Nursery. In addition to sustainably grown fruits and vegetables, the tribally operated nursery will soon offer plant seeds and starts as well as gardening equipment. The Yurok Agricultural Corporation will also provide tutorials at the site to assist local residents in developing and maintaining their own food gardens.

In 2017, the USDA declared the Yurok Reservation a food desert because there are very few sources of healthy sustenance on tribal lands. This was not always the case. Prior to European contact, the Klamath River was filled with fish, including abundant salmon and steelhead runs that arrived in each of the four seasons. On land, a large quantity of wild game accompanied an enormous variety of edible plants and fungi. The immense natural bounty was a direct outcome of precise tribal land stewardship strategies designed over the course of millennia to facilitate maximum productivity and biological diversity. Another factor contributing to the lack of access to nutritious foods is the fact that most of the arable land on the reservation is privately owned, excluding the Tribe’s new properties in Klamath and Weitchpec.

At the start of the pandemic, it quickly became clear that rural areas would receive resources last, which is a worrisome predicament in the event of a food shortage. That is why the Tribe is developing creative solutions to increase the availability of healthy forms of nourishment on the reservation, such as purchasing land for organic crop production, the restoration of traditional food sources and the revitalization of the overall landscape.

“We are working toward becoming completely self-sufficient and food sovereign. I foresee a day when there is convenient access to sufficient supplies of organically grown produce and the natural resources that sustained our people since time immemorial,” concluded Chairman James.



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SF Chronicle: California Native American Tribe Has Been Burning Forests for 10,000 Years. What Can We Learn From Them?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 at 2:37 PM

Rony Reed, a local Karuk tribal member who grew up dipnet fishing with his father just across the confluence at Ishi Pishi Falls, patrols the progress of a prescribed fire as part of the TREX burn training. He said it helped restore the fire management practices used a century ago by local Indians, until such burning was forcibly outlawed. - PHOTO BY STORMY STAATS/KLAMATH SALMON MEDIA COLLABORATIVE
  • Photo by Stormy Staats/Klamath Salmon Media Collaborative
  • Rony Reed, a local Karuk tribal member who grew up dipnet fishing with his father just across the confluence at Ishi Pishi Falls, patrols the progress of a prescribed fire as part of the TREX burn training. He said it helped restore the fire management practices used a century ago by local Indians, until such burning was forcibly outlawed.
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting a story about the Karuk Tribe's ancestral tradition of using prescribed burning techniques to fight off wildfires.

The article follows Leeon Hillman, a member of the Karuk Tribe who "believes preventive burning would have thinned undergrowth and slowed the spread of fire enough for firefighters to be able to protect people’s property."

Read the full story here and the Journal's coverage of prescribed burning here
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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Health Officials Concerned Over Humboldt's New COVID Ranking

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 6:31 PM

Local health officials are expressing concern after the state moved Humboldt County out of the “widespread” COVID-19 risk tier today for the first time in four weeks, in what was described as a “surprise decision” as cases here continue to surge.

With the move, Humboldt joined Mariposa and Alpine counties in the “substantial” risk zone, while only Sierra County ranks as “moderate” and the rest of the state remains in the purple or "widespread" zone.

A news release states Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman has a strong disagreement with how the state-level decision was reached and believes the designation could soon be reversed.

“In many ways, the data doesn’t support this decision,” he said in the release. “Our case rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and our contact investigation teams are tracking more cases, not fewer. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to have a conversation with the state before this decision was handed down.”

Humboldt County Public Health announced today it has confirmed 31 new COVID-19 cases. No new deaths or hospitalizations were reported. (Read more here.)

 “This is not a time to let down your guard,” Public Health Director Michele Stephens said in the release. “Our entire community, including our businesses, should continue to follow COVID prevention measures. Wear a mask. Maintain distance. Wash your hands. As more people are moving around our community, these measures become even more important.”

The county is urging local businesses to "move forward cautiously."

California's Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly announced the decision at a press conference earlier today,

Read the county release below:
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced that local COVID-19 data places Humboldt County in the “Red” or Substantial tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.”

The adjusted case rate of 12.1 and positivity rate of 4.0% do not meet the threshold for tier reassignment. However, the county met the state’s Health Equity Metric, which aims to reduce disparities by ensuring that no group within a county is disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.

Under the Red tier, Humboldt will be the only county in the state allowed to have indoor gatherings, movie theaters, fitness centers, places of worship and dining. Local businesses, particularly restaurants and cafes, are urged to move forward cautiously. If virus data worsens or intensive care unit capacity for the Northern California Region dips below 15%, the state would require some sectors to move outdoors or cease operating altogether.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman registered strong disagreement with CDPH’s methodology and said he believes that Red tier status could be reversed in coming days.

“In many ways, the data doesn’t support this decision,” he said. “Our case rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and our contact investigation teams are tracking more cases, not fewer. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to have a conversation with the state before this decision was handed down.”

Public Health Director Michele Stephens said that while some businesses will be able to reopen, this is not a victory as much as it is a cautionary tale. “This is not a time to let down your guard,” she said. “Our entire community, including our businesses, should continue to follow COVID prevention measures. Wear a mask. Maintain distance. Wash your hands. As more people are moving around our community, these measures become even more important.”

Some of the changes to sector operations under the Red tier include:
Bars, Breweries and Distilleries – Closed.
Wineries – Open outdoors only.
Family Entertainment Centers – Open outdoors only.
Retail – Open indoors at maximum 50% capacity.
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.
Museums, Zoos and Aquariums – Open indoors at maximum 25% capacity.
Places of Worship – Open indoors at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
Movie Theaters - Open indoors at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
Hotels and Lodging – Close indoor pools, hot tubs and spa facilities; Fitness centers reduced to maximum 10% capacity. Gyms and Fitness Centers - Open indoors at maximum 10% capacity; Close indoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs. Restaurants - Open indoors at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

The tier change will take effect one minute past midnight tonight.

For more information about the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” go to covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/. 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.   
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New Calf on the Farm

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 3:45 PM

A new addition at the SWAP farm. - COURTESY OF THE HCSO
  • Courtesy of the HCSO
  • A new addition at the SWAP farm.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office introduced one of the new additions at its SWAP farm via Facebook this week, asking for suggestions on what to name the little one.

The farm, located in Fortuna, provides low-risk offenders with an opportunity to help care for the animals and the property while staying out of the jail. According to the HCSO, the farm started in the 1980s produces thousands of pounds of food each year, with some being used to feed jail inmates.

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