Thursday, March 18, 2021

Public Health Confirms 15 New COVID-19 Cases, Reports 5K Vaccine Doses Coming

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2021 at 4:11 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 15 new COVID-19 cases today, making 61 this week and bringing the county's cumulative total to 3,406.

Today's cases were reported after labs processed 262 samples with a test positivity rate of 5.7 percent.

On the vaccine front, the county also reported today that the state has allocated it 5,210 doses of vaccine for next week.

The county updated its vaccine numbers yesterday, reporting that 43,142 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered as of yesterday — an increase of 7,314 over the prior week. More than 16,000 local residents have now been fully vaccinated and 20 percent of local residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, while more than half of residents age 75 and older are fully vaccinated, the county reported.

Vaccination clinics remain by appointment only and residents are urged to fill out a vaccine interest form so they can be notified when they are eligible.

When the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers Tuesday, Humboldt County remained in the red "substantial" tier, meaning restaurants, movie theaters, churches and other organizations are allowed to continue limited indoor operations.

Data shows the county with a seven-day average test-positivity rate of 2.8 percent and a daily case rate of 8.3 per 100,000, both of which increased slightly from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 2.3 percent test-positivity rate and 6.5 cases per 100,000.
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.)

Currently, local residents over the age of 65, healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, food and agricultural workers, and residents ages 16 to 65 with one of a specific list of high-risk medical conditions or disabilities are eligible to receive their shots, with the first vaccine clinic for the food and ag sector set for next week. 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 3,406 cases, with 135 hospitalizations and 35 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,272 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 15 days of March, it had dropped to 5.1 percent.

Nationwide, more than 29.4 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 535,217 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.5 million cases have been confirmed with 55,595 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 release below:


Mar. 18, 2021 - County Allotted 5,210 Vaccine Doses for Next Week; 15 New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
The State of California has allocated Humboldt County a total of 5,210 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for next week. Of those, 2,340 are Pfizer and 2,870 are Moderna. The state did not allocate any doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the county for the next week.

Fifteen additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in Humboldt County today. One previously reported case was removed after it was determined the person was from another jurisdiction, so the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus now stands at 3,406.

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. See if there are appointments available for your age group or sector 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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