Tuesday, February 16, 2021

No New COVID Cases Reported Today, But Only 50 Samples Tested

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2021 at 2:07 PM

Humboldt County Public Health reported no new confirmed COVID-19 cases today for the first time in a daily report since October, leaving the county's cumulative tally at 3,025.

But due to impacts of labs being closed for Monday's holiday, only 50 samples were included in today's report and officials urge continued vigilance. Earlier today, meanwhile, the county reported that the age 20-to-39 demographic continues to see the most case activity locally.

Meanwhile, the state of California updated its COVID risk tier assignments today and Humboldt County remains in the most restrictive purple "widespread" tier with most of the rest of the state. However, Public Health reported today that Humboldt County's recent data would meet the red "substantial" risk tier metrics if it continues for another week, which could trigger the loosening of some restrictions next week.

The state data shows Humboldt County having recorded an average of 8.2 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 residents with a seven-day average test positivity rate of 4.2 percent, though the state's data lags more than a week behind local numbers. The state as a whole reported averaging 24.2 new cases per day per 100,000 residents with an average test positivity rate of 6.5 percent.

Vaccination efforts, meanwhile, continue to move slowly forward, with residents over the age of 75, healthcare workers, teachers and first responders currently eligible to receive their shots. In a press release yesterday, Public Health 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.


Public Health reported Friday that it is slated to receive 3,550 additional vaccine doses this week. In a subsequent press release, the county said it planned to administer 2,000 second doses of vaccine this week and urged anyone who's second vaccine dose is due within the next five days but hasn't been contacted to schedule an appointment to call the Joint Information Center at 441-5000.

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.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 3,025 cases, with 125 hospitalizations and 32 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths. Fifteen 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 2,845 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.

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 16 days of February, the test-positivity rate sits at 7.4 percent.

Nationwide, more than 27.5 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 485,070 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.4 million cases have been confirmed with 47,107 deaths, according to the Department of Public Health.

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.

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. 16, 2021 - Zero Additional Cases Reported for First Time Since October

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
No new cases of COVID-19 were reported today, so the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus remains at 3,025. Public Health officials said that while zero cases is always good news, today’s report follows a national holiday when the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory was closed and most commercial labs were not providing data. Health officials urged community residents to continue following all COVID-19 safety measures when around those who are not a part of one’s household.

Humboldt County remains in the “Purple” or widespread tier under the California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with a positivity rate of 4.2% and an adjusted case rate of 9. The county met the state’s health equity metric. If the county continues to meet this metric and local virus data remain steady or improve for another week, the county would qualify for reassignment to the “Red” or substantial tier. Go to covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/ to read more about the Blueprint.

Currently, preparations are underway to vaccinate food and agriculture workers who make up a part of the younger workforce, but the timing of when this group will open is based on available vaccine supply as well as the number of vaccines on the market that are approved for emergency use. Higher education is also slated to open for vaccine appointments as supply increases and earlier groups are vaccinated in larger numbers.

Younger adults — the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups — represent 1,305, or approximately 43%, of the county’s 3,025 cases. Vaccination for people in these age groups who are not a part of a qualifying workforce could be months away due to the state’s age-based prioritization, so health officials stressed the importance of seeking routine testing for COVID-19. Learn more and view a list of available testing options at humboldtgov.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=3714.

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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About The Author

Thadeus Greenson

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

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