Thursday, April 22, 2021

38 New COVID-19 Cases, Two New Hospitalizations Confirmed

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2021 at 3:49 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 38 new COVID-19 cases today, making 110 so far this week, reporting that the majority have been linked to "a single outbreak associated with one or more super spreader events."

The cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 239 samples with a test-positivity rate of 15.9 percent. This week's case count has already shot past last week's total of 71, which was itself a doubling of the prior week. And as case counts have risen in recent weeks, so has the county's test-positivity rate.

Two new hospitalizations were also reported today.

Public Health urges all residents who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are experiencing symptoms to get tested, with a wide variety of no-cost options. (See the press release copied below.)

Meanwhile, as more vaccination doses become available to the county, which weeks ago expanded eligibility to all residents age 16 and older, the county and providers are having a difficult time filling vaccination appointments. In fact, the county recently gave San Francisco 1,0oo doses of the Pfizer vaccine that were at risk of going unused locally.

Public Health reported Friday the county expected to receive 7,440 doses of vaccine this week — a marked decrease from the more than 11,000 received last week. Those wanting a vaccine can also register online through www.myturn.ca.gov, and Public Health reports there are "many" appointments available.

Tuesday, public health reported that the Arcata Community Center will hold walk-in vaccination clinics on a first come, first served basis from 6 to 7 p.m. today through Sunday. (See the press release below for the schedule of which vaccine will be offered on which days.) But vaccinations will be given by appointment on all those days before 6 p.m. and, as of this morning, scores of appointment times were available for the clinics on the state's website.

The state of California, meanwhile, updated its COVID-19 risk tiers Tuesday, keeping Humboldt County in the moderate or "orange" tier it entered earlier this month, 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 state data released Tuesday showed that Humboldt County has a test positive rate of 2.3 percent (compared to 1.1 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 4.7 per 100,000 compared to the prior week's two. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.7 percent test-positivity rate and five 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 3,697 cases, with 141 hospitalizations and 38 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,500 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. Since then, it has jumped to 6.3 percent.

Nationwide, more than 31.6 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 566,494 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 59,992 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 22, 2021 - 38 New Cases, Most Linked to Single Event; Testing Encouraged as Cases Climb

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Thirty-eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Humboldt County today, bringing the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus to 3,697. With one day left to report, 110 cases have been reported this week.

Case information compiled by Public Health suggests the majority of recently reported cases are part of a single outbreak associated with one or more superspreader events.

Identifying cases to contain outbreaks prevents spread of disease to the broader community. Anyone who believes they have been exposed or are symptomatic is encouraged to get tested for COVID-19. Even those without symptoms can spread the virus.

No-cost walk-in testing is available seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Redwood Acres in Eureka.

Residents age 2 and older can be tested. Additional locations are available each weekday throughout the county.

See the full schedule below:

Eureka – Seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Redwood Acres, 3750 Harris St.)
Arcata – Mondays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Arcata Community Center, 321 M.L.K. Jr. Pkwy.)
Garberville – Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (SoHum Health Sprowl Creek Campus, 286 Sprowl Creek Road)
Fortuna – Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (River Lodge Conference Center, 1800 Riverwalk Dr.)
Hoopa – Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Tsewenaldin Inn, 12482 CA-96)
McKinleyville – Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Azalea Hall, 1620 Pickett Road).
To schedule, go to lhi.care/covidtesting, or call 888-634-1123. Turnaround time for results averages 48 to 72 hours.

Testing is important regardless of vaccination status. COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to prevent severe illness in the relatively small number of people who have become infected after being vaccinated. Vaccination appointments are available at the Arcata Community Center this week, and walk-in hours are scheduled each day from 6 to 7 p.m. Spanish and English speakers are available at every clinic.

All county residents age 16 and older can register, although 16- and 17-year-olds can sign up only for the Pfizer vaccine. Minors must have proof of age and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The following clinics and vaccines are available by appointment and for walk-ins.

Today — Pfizer (16 and older)
Friday — Moderna (18 and older)
Saturday — Pfizer (16 and older)
Sunday — Moderna and Pfizer (16 and older).
For specific appointment dates, times and to sign up, visit MyTurn.ca.gov.

Health officials continue to encourage preventive measures such as mask wearing, physical distancing and handwashing whether a person is fully vaccinated. Guidelines for public and private events and gatherings remain in place. Read more here: cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Guidance-for-the-Prevention-of-COVID-19-Transmission-for-Gatherings-November-2020.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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