Friday, April 16, 2021

Public Health Confirms 9 New COVID-19 Cases, Expects 7.5K Vaccine Doses Next Week

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2021 at 3:41 PM


Humboldt County Public Health confirmed nine new COVID-19 cases today, making 71 this week — a more than doubling from last week's tally.

Public Health also reported the county expects to receive 7,440 doses of vaccine next week — a marked decrease from the more than 11,000 received this week. The county has scheduled walk-in clinics from 4 to 7 p.m. today and Sunday at the Arcata Community Center, where anyone age 16 and older can show up and register on site for the first-come, first served clinic. Those wanting a vaccine can also register online through www.myturn.ca.gov.

The county also announced today that 10 local residents have contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated in what the Centers for Disease Control has dubbed "breakthrough" cases, some 5,800 of which have been reported nationwide in the 77 million people fully vaccinated to date.

These breakthrough cases are expected, officials say, noting that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have shown to be at least 94 percent effective at preventing severe disease and death (Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, has shown to be 66 percent effective). And that's why officials still urge residents to follow prevention measures, like mask wearing, distancing and hand washing , even after being vaccinated.

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 218 samples with a test-positivity rate of 4.1 percent, bringing the county's cumulative case total to 3,587.

Last week, the county opened vaccine eligibility to all local residents age 16 and over almost a week in advance of the state's planned expansion and announced that the county was slated to receive 11,000 vaccine doses this week, a record to date. Anyone wanting to get vaccinated is encouraged to sign up on the state's My Turn vaccine registry.

On Tuesday, Public Health announced it was following federal guidance and "pausing" administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after six women in other areas of the country reported getting blood clots within weeks of receiving the vaccine.

The county's pause of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will continue for the next week while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reviews additional information about the six cases.

Humboldt County still sits the state's moderate or "orange" tier it entered last week, which allowed 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 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 on Tuesday showed that Humboldt County has a test positive rate of 1.1 percent (compared to 2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 2 per 100,000 compared to the prior week's 4.6. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.8 percent test-positivity rate and 4.8 cases per 100,000.

On April 1, the state cleared outdoor sports events and live performances 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.)

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 3,587 cases, with 137 hospitalizations and 37 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,466 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. Through the first seven days of April, it sat at 1.9 percent.

Nationwide, more than 31.3 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 562,296 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 59,587 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 16, 2021 - County to Receive Nearly 7,500 Vaccine Doses Next Week

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Humboldt County will receive 7,440 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for next week, including 3,600 Moderna and 3,840 of Pfizer. There will be first- and second-dose clinics available for both. There will be no Johnson and Johnson due to the pause which is expected to continue into next week. Additional clinic schedules will be announced Monday or Tuesday.

Walk-in Vaccination Appointments Available Today and Sunday
Humboldt County Public Health and its health care partners are announcing walk-in vaccination clinic hours from 4 to 7 p.m. today and Sunday, April 18, at the Arcata Community Center located at 321 Dr. M.L.K., Jr. Pkwy. in Arcata. Those interested can register onsite to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Please note that openings are first-come, first-served, and vaccine supply could run out. Those 16 and older can receive only the Pfizer vaccine and must have proof of age and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Appointments for other Pfizer clinics are available this weekend through MyTurn.ca.gov, and all county residents age 16 and older can register.

9 New Cases Reported Today
Nine new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Humboldt County today. One previously reported case was determined to be from another county and was removed. That brings the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus to 3,587.

10 Local ‘Breakthrough’ Cases Reported
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week approximately 5,800 of the nearly 77 million individuals in the United States have contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated in what are being called “breakthrough” cases. Humboldt County Public Health today reported 10 local residents have contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated, with cases dating back to January 2021.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been shown to be at least 94% effective at preventing severe disease and death. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is just over 66% effective. These breakthrough cases are to be expected, health officials say, and are a reminder to continue using prevention measures such as wearing a mask and distancing.

For more information about breakthrough cases, visit cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/health-departments/breakthrough-cases.html.

New CDPH Guidance
California Department of Public Health this week released two guidance documents that address gatherings and recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

Guidance for Gatherings can be found here: cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Guidance-for-the-Prevention-of-COVID-19-Transmission-for-Gatherings-November-2020.aspx

Guidance for the Fully Vaccinated can be found here: cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID-19-Public-Health-Recommendations-for-Fully-Vaccinated-People.aspx

View the Humboldt County Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download today’s data.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 707-441-5000.

Some Safeway, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s and Walmart locations are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Learn who is eligible for vaccination and see if there are appointments available at one of these locations by clicking on the links below.

Safeway: mhealthappointments.com/covidappt
CVS Pharmacy: cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine?icid=cvs-home-hero1-link2-coronavirus-vaccine
Rite Aid: https://www.riteaid.com/covid-19
Walgreen’s: walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19
Walmart: walmart.com/cp/1228302

Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination: MyTurn.ca.gov
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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