Thursday, April 1, 2021

Public Health: 20% of HumCo Residents 16 and Older Now Fully Vaccinated

Posted By on Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 3:20 PM

Public Health reported today that 57,326 COVID-19 vaccine doses have now been administered in Humboldt County, with 22,365 residents — almost 20 percent of the local population over the age of 16 — now fully vaccinated.

Nearly 60 percent of county residents over the age of 75 are fully vaccinated, the county reported today as vaccine eligibility was opened to include all residents age 50 and older, and those 16 to 64 with underlying health issues that make them at higher risk of critical outcomes.

Public Health also reported today that it has confirmed 13 new COVID-19 cases since Tuesday (the Joint Information Center was closed yesterday for Cesar Chavez Day) after laboratories processed 493 samples with a test-positivity rate of 2.6 percent. The county's cumulative case count now stands at 3,489.

When the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers Tuesday, it kept Humboldt County 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 2.2 percent and a daily case rate of 4.6 per 100,000, both of which decreased slightly from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 1.8 percent test-positivity rate and 4.8 cases per 100,000.

Monday, the county recorded its 36th COVID-related death and its second in three days, bringing the virus' local death toll to 36. Public Health also reported Monday that it is updating its guidance to recommend testing before and after travel outside the area, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations, though health officials still strongly discourage non-essential travel beyond 120 miles from one's residence.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced last week that California will open up vaccination eligibility to those age 16 and older beginning April 15, based on an expected increase in vaccination supply. County health officials, however, warned that a "significant increase in supply" would be necessary to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 16.

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.

The state has also announced that beginning today 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 50, 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 3,489 cases, with 135 hospitalizations and 36 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,381 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. In March, it dropped to 4.5 percent.

Nationwide, more than 30 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 549,098 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 58,090 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:


April 1, 2021 - More Than 22,000 County Residents Fully Vaccinated
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A total of 57,326 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Humboldt County at Public Health clinics and by other approved local vaccinators.

Local vaccination data has been updated on the Humboldt County Data Dashboard. Some highlights include:

22,365 county residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That represents about 16.5% of the county’s total population and 19.9% of the population age 16 or older who currently qualify for vaccination.
27% of county residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, which means more than 1 in 4 residents have some protection against the virus.
59.6% of county residents age 75 and over are fully vaccinated, and 38.2% of those age 65 to 74 are fully vaccinated.
To access the Dashboard, go to humboldtgov.org/Dashboard. To view vaccine data only, visit humboldtgov.org/VaccineData.

As of today, vaccination priority includes Humboldt County residents age 50 and over. Given the limited supply of vaccine throughout the state and nation, not all those in eligible groups will be able to receive a vaccine in the coming weeks. Groups now eligible for vaccination include:

Age 50 and over
Age 16 to 64 at higher risk
Food and agriculture
Emergency services
K-12 and early education, child care
Higher education
Phase 1A health care.
All county residents age 16 and up will qualify for vaccination on April 15. To sign up to be notified about available vaccination appointments, go to https://myturn.ca.gov/.

Outdoor Event Guidance Takes Effect Today
Updated state guidance for outdoor seated live performances goes into effect today. For Humboldt County, which is currently in the “Red” or Substantial tier, the state’s guidance calls for limiting capacity to 20 percent and delivering concessions to guests in their seats or another designated pick-up area. To read the state’s complete “Outdoor Seated Live Events and Performances” guidance, go to https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-live-performances—en.pdf.

13 New Cases Reported Since Tuesday
Thirteen new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the most recent report Tuesday. A total of 3,489 county residents have tested positive for the virus.

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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