Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Humboldt Nears 2.5K COVID Cases Amid 'Enormous Setback' of Vaccine Pause

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2021 at 3:10 PM

Humboldt County Public Health has confirmed 131 new COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the county's total to 2,393 after one was removed due to a duplication. Three additional hospitalizations were reported.

Last week saw 232 positive tests on the heels of a record 269 the previous week.

Under state data released today, Humboldt County remains in the most restrictive purple "widespread" tier this week after a short stint in the less restrictive substantial risk zone.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 2,393 cases, with 81 hospitalizations and 24 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths. Twelve Humboldt County residents are currently hospitalized, according to the county's dashboard, including four under intensive care. Humboldt County's ICU capacity is listed at 21.4 percent.

The county dashboard lists 1,868 people as having "recovered" from the virus locally, though that just means they are no longer contagious and does not account for long-term health impacts, which local healthcare workers have told the Journal can be substantial, even in previously health patients.

On the vaccine side, Health Officer Ian Hoffman noted the state's request that county pause use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine due to a lot that caused allergic reactions in San Diego, which represents about 90 percent of Humboldt's current supply, calling it an "enormous setback."

The county's Joint Information Center release states that while no scheduled appointments have been "postponed or canceled as of this week, groups next in line for vaccination could be hit hardest."

“Plans to expand vaccination clinics to those over the age of 75 have been delayed by this pause, and it’s unclear how much longer that will continue,” Hoffman said in the release. “People in this age group were just beginning to be vaccinated by local providers, so we’re working hard to secure more doses from anywhere they’re available to minimize the disruption as much as possible.”

But, he also said that, “It’s distinctly possible that the lot will be released for distribution and we can resume plans to vaccinate older adults, but right now we just don’t know when that will be.”


Earlier this month, the state issued a health order that halted all elective 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

The data updated today reported the Northern California region had a combined 30.5 percent capacity, an increase from last week. 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 955  samples were processed.

While California has a case rate of 105.4 daily cases confirmed per 100,000 residents with a test positivity rate of 15.2 percent in data released today, Humboldt has a case rate of 18.3 cases per 100,000 (down from 25.2 in last week's report) and a 4.9  percent positivity rate, also a decrease.

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.

Read the county release below:

An additional 131 cases of COVID-19 have been reported over the three-day weekend. One previously reported case was determined to be a duplicate, so the total number of county residents who have tested positive is now 2,393.

The state on Sunday recommended that counties pause administering a single lot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. That lot represents approximately 90% of the doses Humboldt County has on hand for new first doses that were to be scheduled this week.

Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman described this as an “enormous setback” and said that while no scheduled appointments have been postponed or canceled as of this week, groups next in line for vaccination could be hit hardest. “Plans to expand vaccination clinics to those over the age of 75 have been delayed by this pause, and it’s unclear how much longer that will continue,” Dr. Hoffman said. “People in this age group were just beginning to be vaccinated by local providers, so we’re working hard to secure more doses from anywhere they’re available to minimize the disruption as much as possible.” He went on to say that, “It’s distinctly possible that the lot will be released for distribution and we can resume plans to vaccinate older adults, but right now we just don’t know when that will be.”

In related news, the California Department of Public Health today announced that Humboldt County remains in the “Purple” or widespread tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with an adjusted case rate of 17.7 and a positivity rate of 4.9%. Dr. Hoffman added that county residents should continue to follow COVID-19 safety measures, including wearing a facial covering, maintaining distance of at least 6 feet from anyone outside of one’s household, avoiding gatherings and washing hands frequently. 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.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

About The Author

Kimberly Wear

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

more from the author

Latest in News Blog

socialize

Facebook | Twitter

© 2021 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation