Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Humboldt Records 24th COVID Death

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 3:20 PM

Public Health reported today that a 24th local resident has died, two additional hospitalizations and 15 new COVID cases were confirmed, bringing this week's total to 108 as the state moved Humboldt County back into the most restrictive purple "widespread" tier as officials have warned would happen for weeks.

The person who died was in their 90s and lived at  Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, where an outbreak has led to 13 deaths. A total of 72 Granada residents and 28 staff at the facility have tested positive.

Last week saw a record 270 cases and the region crossing the 2,000 threshold. While it took Humboldt County 290 days to confirm its first 1,000 COVID-19 cases, the next 1,000 came in just 35 amid a local, statewide and national surge officials say has been fueled by pandemic fatigue, holiday gatherings and the onset of cold, winter weather.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 2,138 cases, with 77 hospitalizations and 24 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths. Thirteen Humboldt County residents are currently hospitalized, according to the county's dashboard, including four under intensive care.

The county's joint information center reports that confirmed cases have increased by 9.6 percent over the last week, with the case doubling time at 41.5 days. One previous COVID case was reassigned to another county.

Last week, the state issued a health order that halted all elected surgeries to make more room for intensive care unit capacity in regions where hospital ICU capacity is at 0 percent. Those hospitals also now have the ability to transfer patients in and out of other regions, including the Northern California region.

The order doesn't currently affect Humboldt County but could very soon.

The state also issued an updated travel advisory strongly discouraging all non-essential travel and urging anyone returning from non essential, out-of-state travel needs to self-quarantine for a minimum of 10 days upon their return.

With the move back to the purple or "widespread" tier, Humboldt businesses and organizations will again face increased restrictions, with even greater ones looming on the horizon.

The state’s stay home order, which divides California into five regions, is 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 today, the state reported the Northern California region had a combined 17.6 percent capacity. If implemented locally, the stay home 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 264 samples were processed.

While California has a case rate of 91.7 daily cases confirmed per 100,000 residents with a test positivity rate of 17.6 percent in data released today, Humboldt has a case rate of 25.2 cases per 100,000 (up from 16.3 in last week's report) and a 6.5  percent positivity rate, also an increase.

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 [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 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.

Read the JIC release below:
Humboldt County resident has died with COVID-19, and 15 additional cases were reported today. One previously reported case was determined to be from out of county, so the total number of county residents who have tested positive is 2,138.

The person who died was in their 90s and a resident of Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. This marks the 13th death related to the facility and the 24th death overall in the county. A total of 72 Granada residents and 28 staff at the facility have tested positive. Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman expresses his sympathies for the loss with the individual’s family, friends and caregivers.

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to everyone in Phase 1A, which includes people who work in health care settings or long-term care facilities, home health caregivers and community health workers, including promotoras. Those who fall into Phase 1A and have not yet received an email invitation should follow the link below to complete the Healthcare Workforce Survey.

An invitation to a vaccination clinic will be sent once the survey has been completed and approved.

Link to the COVID-19 Healthcare Workforce Survey: https://forms.gle/AFys9CLHFHYg5bcC6.

For a complete list of those included in Phase 1A, please go to cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/CDPH-Allocation-Guidelines-for-COVID-19-Vaccine-During-Phase-1A-Recommendations.aspx.

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 [email protected] or calling 707-441-5000.
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Kimberly Wear

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

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