Friday, March 5, 2021

Public Health Reports 20 New COVID-19 Cases, Making 87 for the Week

Posted By on Fri, Mar 5, 2021 at 3:32 PM

Public Health confirmed 20 new COVID-19 cases today — making 87 for the week — and reported one new hospitalization.

The positive cases were reported after labs processed 268 samples with a test-positivity rate of 7.5 percent, bringing the county's case total to 3,246. The county also reported that while a new resident has been hospitalized another was discharged, meaning there is still only one local COVID-19 hospitalization. Available intensive care unit capacity, however, has dipped to 17.9 percent.

Public Health also reported today that the state has again updated its youth and adult recreational sports guidelines. (Read more about that in the press release below.)

A total of 31,803 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered locally, according to a county press release, and now 7.7 percent of the local population has been fully vaccinated, with 15 percent having received at least one vaccine dose. Nearly one in three residents age 75 and older are now fully vaccinated, the county reported.

According to a press release yesterday, the county expects to receive a total of 5,010 vaccine doses next week, including 200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The state, meanwhile, announced Wednesday that it is again revamping its vaccination distribution and re-opening strategies to prioritize making sure residents of socioeconomically disadvantaged areas of the state have access to vaccines. Read more about the move and how it may benefit Humboldt here.

The state of California updated its COVID risk tier assignments yesterday, keeping Humboldt County into the state's red tier, which the county moved into last week for the first time since January.

The designation allowed 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-positivity rate of 3 percent and a daily case rate of 8.2 per 100,000, both of which rose slightly from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 3.7 test-positivity rate and 10.2 cases per 100,000.

But in Tuesdays's press release, the county warned that these metrics could put Humboldt County back in the state's more restrictive purple tier if they continue for another week.

"Health officials urge residents to limit the spread of COVID-19 by recommitting to prevention measures, adding that these measures support businesses staying open and protect the health of the community," the release states.

The state, meanwhile, announced Friday that today it would begin the process of transitioning vaccine distribution to Blue Shield, which has been contracted by the state to streamline and manage the logistics of allocating vaccines to local health departments and providers. The switch will happen in three waves, with Humboldt County, which currently ranks 28th in the state for doses administered per capita, according to a Journal analysis, falling in the third wave later this month.

Over the weekend, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine — manufactured by Johnson & Johnson — for emergency use, with shipments anticipated to begin later this week. The county reported that it will release more information about the single-use vaccine later this week.

Currently, local residents over the age of 70, healthcare workers, teachers and first responders currently eligible to receive their shots. The clinics remain by invitation only to control exposure risks and ensure vaccinations are administered according to the county's priority tiers, with residents urged to complete the county's vaccination interest form to be notified when they are eligible.

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

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 3,266 cases, with 135 hospitalizations and 33 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,113 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 and 9.9 percent in January, before dropping to 6.5 percent in February. Through the first week in March, it's dropped to 4.9 percent.

Nationwide, more than 28.6 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 517,224 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.5 million cases have been confirmed with 53,448 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 [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 county's release below:

Mar. 5, 2021 - 20 New Cases Reported Today; State Again Updates Youth Sports Guidance

707-441-5000 ; [email protected] ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Twenty new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Humboldt County today, bringing to 3,266 the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus.

Following a recent court settlement, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) again updated its Youth and Recreational Adult Sports guidance, which now allows all sports, regardless of level of contact, to resume practice and competition if players and teams follow COVID-19 safety protocols required of collegiate athletics.

Under the new state guidance, youth and adult sports teams can return to practice and competition earlier than previously allowed if they follow COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education (COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education), including testing, contact tracing and facial covering protocols.

Read the updated Youth and Recreational Adult Sports guidance in full at

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit or Local information is available at or during business hours by contacting [email protected] or calling 707-441-5000.

Local COVID-19 vaccine information:
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard:
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert:


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Thadeus Greenson

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

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