Wednesday, February 24, 2021

County Confirms 15 New COVID Cases, Adds Vaccination Info to Dashboard

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2021 at 4:13 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 15 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the county's cumulative tally to 3,151.

The results were released after labs processed 359 samples with a test-positivity rate of 4.2 percent.

On its dashboard, the county is now including local vaccination data, indicating that 26,789 doses have been administered to date, with 8.86 percent of the population having received a first dose and 5.42 percent having received both vaccination doses. The dashboard also breaks down local vaccinations demographically, indicating that 18.5 percent of local residents age 75 and older have been fully vaccinated, while 42 percent in that age group have received a first dose.

According to the county's dashboard, nine local residents are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Local available intensive care unit capacity, meanwhile, has dipped to 14.3 percent.

When the state of California updated its COVID risk tier assignments yesterday, it moved Humboldt County into the state's red tier for the first time since January, as local officials had predicted.

The new designation means some businesses and organizations can reopen indoor operations, including restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and places of worship, at reduced capacity.

The state data shows the county with a seven-day average test-positive rate of 2.7 percent and a daily case rate of 6.3 per 100,000, compared to California overall, which has a 4.8 positivity rate and 15.2 cases per 100,000.

County Health Officer Ian Hoffman told the board of supervisors yesterday that he was optimistic about where the county was headed and that the move to the red tier “is likely to stick.”

“We feel this is a much better position than we were in January when we made it into the red tier,” he said, noting that at the time case counts were very high overall and county just made it into the less restrictive tier by the smallest of margins. Now, Hoffman said, those data sets are trending in a positive direction although hospitalizations rates are high overall, which may be because Humboldt is “still seeing the tail end of the surge.”

The county's Joint Information Center also reported Friday that the state Department of Public Health has released updates guidelines for youth and adult recreational sports, which allow some to resume with safety measures in place in counties with case relates below an average of 14 new cases confirmed daily per 100,000 residents. The measures will take effect next Friday and the county will release additional information before then, according to the release.

Last Thursday, the county announced it had confirmed the presence of a never-before-seen COVID-19 variation in 16 cases associated with the catastrophic outbreak at Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness. Read more about that here.

Vaccination efforts, meanwhile, continue to move slowly forward, with residents over the age of 70, healthcare workers, teachers and first responders currently eligible to receive their shots. In a press release yesterday, the Joint Information Center reported that the county is planning three large vaccination clinics this week to administer 2,500 doses — including 1,000 first doses and 1,500 second doses.

The clinics remain by invitation only and residents are urged to complete the county's vaccination interest form to be notified when they are eligible.

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

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 3,151 cases, with 133 hospitalizations and 33 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 2,998 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 healthy 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 24 days of February, the test-positivity rate sits at 6.7 percent.

Nationwide, more than 28 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 498,993 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.5 million cases have been confirmed with 49,877 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. 24, 2021 - 15 New Cases Reported Today, Local Vaccine Info Now Available on Dashboard
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Fifteen new cases of COVID-19 were reported today, bringing to 3,151 the total number of Humboldt County residents who have tested positive for the virus.

The Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard has been updated to reflect the most current vaccination data as reported by the California Immunization Registry (CAIR). In addition to case and testing information, the “Cumulative Totals” section of the Dashboard now includes the total number of vaccine doses administered locally as well as the percentage of Humboldt County residents who have been partially and fully vaccinated. Vaccine information will be updated each Wednesday.

The “Vaccine Data” section of the Dashboard will additionally include the following:

Number of individuals fully vaccinated
Number of individuals partially vaccinated
Vaccine distribution by age group
Vaccine distribution by race
Vaccine distribution by ethnicity
Vaccine distribution by gender
Vaccine distribution by zip code.
Age, race, ethnicity and gender demographic categories reflect the total number of doses administered to each subgroup and the percentage of each subgroup that is partially or fully vaccinated. Please note that race, ethnicity and gender data is self-reported, and anyone for whom data is not reported will be listed as Unknown.

Access the complete Data Dashboard, including vaccination information, at humboldtgov.org/Dashboard. To view vaccine data only, go to humboldtgov.org/VaccineData.

Learn more about the data presented at humboldtgov.org/WhatTheseNumbersMean.

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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