Monday, February 8, 2021

Public Health Confirms Another COVID Death, Dip in ICU Capacity

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2021 at 2:20 PM

Humboldt County Public Health reported that it has confirmed 48 new COVID-19 since Friday, as well as other another COVID-related death of a local resident in their 60s, bringing the county's tally to 32.

In a press release, Public Health also urged any local residents 75 and older who haven't been contacted by their primary care provider or who don't have one to call the Joint Information Center at 441-5000 to schedule a COVD-19 vaccination.

Last week saw the county record a single-week record 17 hospitalizations — including two of patients in their 20s — and health officials urged local residents, including those who have been vaccinated, to continue following safety measures to prevent infections and transmissions.

Last week saw a total of 157 cases recorded, one death and 17 hospitalizations, after five deaths and 258 cases were confirmed the week prior, for a record 990 cases reported in January. Two new hospitalizations were reported today, with the county also reporting that available intensive care unit capacity has dipped to 17.9 percent.

Today's results came after 659 tests were processed with a test positivity rate of 7.3 percent.

As of Feb. 1, Public Health had received 17,500 vaccine doses locally and administered 16,020 of them, with the remaining 1,480 doses on hand slated to be given by providers to local residents age 75 and older. Local residents are urged to fill out a county form to register to be notified when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Last week, Public Health reported the county was slated to receive 3,975 doses of vaccine this week — 3,000 Moderna and 975 Pfizer — and Public Health plans to reserve 870 doses for large-scale clinics and distribute the rest to approved local vaccinators.

Regardless of who's administering vaccines, the county reminds residents that clinics are by appointment or invitation only at this point, based on the state's prioritization schedule, and walk-ups will not be accommodated.

Residents are urged to continue to follow COVID safety guidelines as vaccinations roll out, which could take months.

Under state data released last week, Humboldt County remains in the most restrictive purple "widespread" tier.
To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 2,955 cases, with 120 hospitalizations and 32 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths. Fourteen Humboldt County residents are currently hospitalized, according to the county's dashboard, including three under intensive care. Humboldt County's ICU capacity is listed at 17.9 percent.

The county dashboard lists 2,647 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.

As local caseloads have climbed in recent weeks, so has the county’s test-positivity rate, or the percentage of samples taken that come back positive for the virus, indicating it is spreading more broadly locally than it has in the past. The county’s test positivity rate has gone from 3.6 percent in November, to 7.3 percent in December, to 9.9 percent in January. Through the first five days of February, the test-positivity rate sits at 8.6 percent. Statewide, the seven-day average test-positivity rate is currently 10 percent.

Nationwide, 26.9 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 462,037 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.3 million cases have been confirmed with 44,150 deaths, according to the Department of Public Health.


According to the county's Joint Information Center, last week saw a 6.4 percent increase in cases, with the 20-29 age group continuing to represent the largest percentage of local cases at just over 24 percent. The 10-19 age group saw the highest increase in cases since last week with 38 new infections.

The state has issued a 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.

California has a case rate of 47.7 daily cases confirmed per 100,000 residents with a test positivity rate of 10 percent in data released today, while Humboldt has a case rate of 20.9 cases per 100,000 and a 7.4 percent positivity rate.

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's release below:

Feb. 8, 2021 - One Death, 48 New Cases Reported Since Friday

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A Humboldt County Resident has died with COVID-19, and 48 additional cases have been reported since Friday, bringing to 2,955 the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus.

The individual who died was in their 60s. This marks the county’s 32nd death related to COVID-19. Staff at Humboldt County Public Health and the Emergency Operations Center extend their condolences to the family and friends of all those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic.

Vaccines Available Now for 75+; Second Dose Clinics Also Scheduled This Week
Humboldt County Public Health and local approved vaccinators are actively working to schedule vaccinations for county residents age 75 and over. Of the nearly 10,000 county residents in this age group, approximately half have already begun the vaccine series, but the other half has not yet signed up. Anyone who is 75 years old or older and has not been contacted for a vaccination appointment by their provider or Public Health should call the Humboldt County Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000.

Public Health, in collaboration with health care providers, has scheduled three second dose clinics through Sunday and expects to administer nearly 1,100 second doses to health care workers, emergency services workers, in-person educators, in-person school support staff and long-term care facility staff. This is in addition to vaccinations offered by local providers to their patients.

Places of Worship Can Resume Indoor Services at Reduced Capacity
The State of California has put in place interim capacity limits for Places of Worship in response to recent judicial rulings. Under the “Purple” or widespread tier, Places of Worship may hold indoor services at 25% capacity. The California Department of Public Health announced that it will update industry guidance for this sector soon.

For information about requirements under the “Purple” tier, go to cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Dimmer-Framework-September_2020.pdf.

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.

Local COVID-19 vaccine information: humboldtgov.org/vaccineinfo
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/dashboard
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert





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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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