Tuesday, March 9, 2021

County Records 34th COVID-19 Death, Nine New Cases

Posted By on Tue, Mar 9, 2021 at 12:29 PM

Another Humboldt County resident has died of COVID-19, making 34 so far through the pandemic, Public Health reported today.

Public Health also confirmed nine new COVID-19 cases — making 51 so far this week — and another hospitalization.

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 120 samples with at test-positivity rate of 7.5 percent, bringing the county's case count to 3,317.

The state of California, meanwhile, updated its COVI-19 risk tiers today, keeping Humboldt County in the red "substantial" tier, meaning restaurants, movie theaters, churches and other organizations are allowed to continue limited indoor operations.

According to the county's report four people are currently hospitalized due to the virus, with one in intensive care, and local available intensive care unit capacity sits at 25 percent.

The state, meanwhile, has announced that beginning April 1 outdoor sports events and live performances will be cleared to reopen with fans and spectators, so long as facial coverings are worn at all times, venues follow tier-based capacity restrictions and provide reserved, assigned seating. (Read more 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 Thursday, the county expected to receive a total of 5,010 vaccine doses this week, including 200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The state, meanwhile, announced last week 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.

When the state of California updated its COVID risk tier assignments today, it kept Humboldt County in the state's red tier, which the county moved into Feb. 23 for the first time since January.

The state data shows the county with a seven-day average test-positivity rate of 2.3 percent and a daily case rate of 6.6 per 100,000, both of which dipped slightly from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 2.8 percent test-positivity rate and 8.1 cases per 100,000.

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.

Earlier this month, 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.

Currently, local residents over the age of 65, healthcare workers, teachers, food and agricultural workers 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 3,317 cases, with 134 hospitalizations and 34 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,153 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 dropped to 4.9 percent.

Nationwide, more than 28.9 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 524,695 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.5 million cases have been confirmed with 54,395 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:
Mar. 9, 2021 - One Death, 9 New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A Humboldt County resident has died after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and nine new cases of the virus were reported today. A total of 3,317 county residents have tested positive for the virus.

The individual who died was in their 70s. This marks the 34th death related to COVID-19. Humboldt County Public Health and Emergency Operations Center staff extend their condolences to the person’s friends and family and all who have lost loved ones to the virus.

Humboldt County Remains in ‘Red’ Tier
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that Humboldt County will remain in the “Red” or Substantial tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with an adjusted case rate of 6.4 and a positivity rate of 2.3%.

Public Health officials said that the community can help the county stay in Red and improve to the “Orange” or Moderate tier by following COVID-19 prevention measures and taking the first vaccination appointment offered. County residents can sign up online to be notified when a vaccination appointment is available for their sector or age group.

To complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form in English, visit humboldtgov.org/InterestForm.

Para completar el formulario de interés de vacunas en español, visite humboldtgov.org/formulariadeinteres.

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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