Tuesday, March 23, 2021

County Receives 1,600 Additional Vaccination Doses, Expands Weekly Clinics

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 4:03 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed three new COVID-19 cases today after processing 56 samples with a test-positivity rate of 5.4 percent.

Public Health also announced that 10 previously reported cases have been removed from the county's cumulative tally, as one was a false-positive, another was a duplicate and the other eight were determined to be in people who reside outside the county. Additionally, two previously reported COVID-related deaths have been removed, with the people determined to be residents of another county.

Public Health also reported that it and partners are expanding capacity of vaccination clinics this week after receiving 1,655 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Providence health care system. Four large-scale clinics will be held this week, the county reported, estimating that more than 3,500 doses will be administered.

When the county updated its vaccine numbers last week, it reported that 43,142 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered. More than 16,000 local residents had 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 today, 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 2.3 percent and a daily case rate of 5.3 per 100,000, both of which decreased from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 2 percent test-positivity rate and 5.5 cases per 100,000.

The state 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 3,426 cases, with 135 hospitalizations and 34 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,324 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 19 days of March, it had dropped to 5.1 percent.

Nationwide, more than 29.7 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 540,503 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.5 million cases have been confirmed with 56,596 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. 23, 2021 - County Receives More Than 1,600 Additional Vaccine Doses; Three New Cases Reported

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
County Receives More Than 1,600 Additional Vaccine Doses
Humboldt County Public Health and its health care partners are expanding capacity at this week’s vaccination clinics after receiving 1,655 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Providence health care system, though overall supply remains limited.

Public Health and other approved local vaccinators will use the additional doses at four large-scale clinics for an estimated total of 3,540 doses administered this week. Vaccination appointments currently are offered by invitation only. At this time, the best way for county residents to be notified of an available appointment at a Public Health clinic is to fill out the online Interest Form.

To access the Interest Form:

English: humboldtgov.org/InterestForm
Español: humboldtgov.org/formulariadeinteres.
Humboldt County Remains in ‘Red’ Tier
The California Department of Public Health today updated county tier assignments under the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” Humboldt County remains in the “Red” or Substantial tier with an adjusted case rate of 5.3 per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 2.3%. Read more about the “Blueprint” at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.

Three New Cases Reported Today
Three new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Humboldt County today.

The Public Health Data Taskforce recently completed a routine audit of local COVID-19 data and is making the following adjustments:

Ten previously reported cases have been removed. One was a duplicate, one was a false positive result and eight were determined to be from a jurisdiction outside of Humboldt County. The total number of county residents who have tested positive now stands at 3,426.
Two deaths have been removed. The permanent residence of both individuals was assigned to another jurisdiction as mentioned above. A total of 34 county residents have died with 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. 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

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


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