Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Public Health Confirms 1 New Case, 1 New Hospitalization

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 3:00 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed just one new COVID-19 case today, while removing two others from the county's cumulative count because they were from patients who reside outside the county, resulting in a net reduction of local cases.

Today's case was reported after laboratories processed 66 samples with a test-positivity rate of 1.5 percent, which with the cases removed, leaves the county case count at an even 3,500. One new hospitalization was also reported today.

Earlier today, the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers, it moved Humboldt County into its orange "moderate" tier, which allows businesses such as restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to increase indoor operations, while allowing others — including bowling alleys and family fun centers — to open.

The change came after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state had met its goal of administering 4 million doses to socio-economically challenged areas, a trigger for increasing the epidemiological tier thresholds.

The state data released today shows Humboldt County with a test positive rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a 1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt daily cases rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

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

Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced last month 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.

With the county moving to the state's vaccination allocation and registration system, all local residents are now encouraged to sign up at www.myturn.ca.gov.

The state has also announced that beginning April 2 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.

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 3,500 cases, with 136 hospitalizations and 36 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,421 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 30.6 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 554,420 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 58,541 deaths, according to the Department of Public Health.

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 6, 2021 - Humboldt County Moves into Orange or ‘Moderate’ Tier
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Humboldt County has moved into the “Orange” or Moderate tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” meaning many local business sectors can further expand capacity with COVID-19 prevention measures in place. These changes take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7.

The California Department of Public Health announced today that Humboldt County’s adjusted case rate and positivity rate are 3.5 and 2% respectively. This puts the county firmly in the Orange tier due to a change in the blueprint metrics triggered by the state meeting its vaccination equity goal of 4 million doses administered in targeted communities.

Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services Public Health Director Michele Stephens said, “This is another step out of the pandemic and toward recovery, and we at Public Health are so grateful to everyone in our community for their commitment to each other’s health and safety.”

But, Stephens added, now is not the time to get complacent. “Variants of concern are popping up all over the state and country as more people are traveling. We’re in a race to get as many people vaccinated as possible to protect those who are not yet vaccinated and prevent another surge in cases caused by a vaccine-resistant variant.”

Stephens said county residents can contribute to that effort by continuing to wear masks, maintain distance and wash hands, including those who are fully vaccinated.

Some of the changes under the Orange tier include:

Restaurants — Open indoors at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer.
Gyms and Fitness Centers — Open indoors at 25% capacity, indoor pools open; saunas and steam rooms remain closed.
Retail — Open indoors without capacity limits.
Shopping Centers, Malls, Swap Meets — Open indoors without capacity limits; closed common areas; reduced food court capacity at 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer.
Museums, Zoos and Aquariums — Open indoors at 50% capacity.
Places of Worship — Open indoors at 50% capacity.
Movie Theatres — Open indoors at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer.
Hotels and Lodging — Fitness centers open at 25%; indoor pools open.
Family Entertainment Centers — Open indoors at 25% maximum capacity or 50% if all guests are tested or show proof of fully vaccination. Food/beverage consumption must be restricted to designated areas separated from activity area and service of alcohol without meals must follow bar guidance (outdoor only).
Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries — Open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
Bars — Open outdoors.
Office Work — Open indoors while encouraging telework.
Read a full list of requirements under the Orange tier at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.

One New Case Reported Today
One new case of COVID-19 was reported in Humboldt County today. Two previously reported cases were determined to be out of jurisdiction, bringing the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus to 3,500.

Testing rates have fallen recently, with 66 tests processed from Public Health and commercial labs for today’s metrics. Public Health officials say more robust testing is needed to get a more accurate reflection of the presence of the virus in the county and identify people who could be positive and expose others.

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, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid and Walgreen’s locations are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Learn who is eligible for vaccination and 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

Rite Aid: https://www.riteaid.com/covid-19

Walgreen’s: https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19

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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