Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Public Health Announces 10 New COVID-19 Cases, 9% of Population Now Fully Vaccinated

Posted By on Wed, Mar 10, 2021 at 4:03 PM

Public Health confirmed 10 more COVID-19 cases today, making 60 so far this week.

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 yesterday, keeping Humboldt County in the red "substantial" tier, meaning restaurants, movie theaters, churches and other organizations are allowed to continue limited indoor operations.

Beginning today, the county will no longer include current hospitalization numbers or available local intensive care unit capacity in its dashboard, saying it would be added back should the county see another surge in hospitalizations.

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 here.)

A total of 35,828 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered locally, according to a county press release, and now 9.15 percent of the local population has been fully vaccinated — 12,441 people — with another 8.05 percent — 10,947 people — having received at least one vaccine dose. More than 40 percent of 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 yesterday, 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 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 3,326 cases, with 134 hospitalizations and 34 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,174 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 29 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 526,213 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.5 million cases have been confirmed with 54,621 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. 10, 2021 - 35,000+ Vaccine Doses Administered
Humboldt County Public Health and other approved local vaccinators have administered 35,828 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of yesterday, Tuesday, March 9. This information is reflected in today’s weekly update of the Humboldt County Data Dashboard.

The Dashboard now includes information about Humboldt County residents who have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This new metric shows the count and percentage of the local population that have at least some protection against the virus, which currently stands at 23,388 or 17.2%.

Other highlights include:

12,441 Humboldt County residents are fully vaccinated, which represents 9.15% of the county’s total population.
An additional 10,947 residents or 8.05% of the county’s total population are partially vaccinated.
About 41% of county residents age 75 and over are fully vaccinated.
As of today, the “Current Hospital Information” section of the Data Dashboard will be removed due to declining hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions related to COVID-19. Public Health officials called this another sign that the county may be moving past the worst part of the pandemic, while noting that hospital capacity information could be added back in the event of another surge in hospitalizations.

To access the Dashboard, go to humboldtgov.org/Dashboard. To view vaccine data only, visit humboldtgov.org/VaccineData.

10 New Cases Reported Today
Ten new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Humboldt County today. A previously reported case has been removed after it was determined the person lived in another jurisdiction. A total of 3,326 county residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

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.

Some Safeway and CVS Pharmacy locations are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments in partnership with the federal government. Learn who is eligible for vaccination and sign up for an appointment at one of these locations by clicking on the links below.

Safeway: https://www.mhealthappointments.com/covidappt

CVS Pharmacy: https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine?icid=cvs-home-hero1-link2-coronavirus-vaccine.


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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