Friday, April 23, 2021

Public Health Reports 20 New COVID-19 Cases, Two New Hospitalizations, Dwindling Vaccine Allocation

Posted By on Fri, Apr 23, 2021 at 3:23 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 20 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing this week's tally to 130, as the county continues to see a steep upward case trajectory.

Public Health reported that a significant portion of recent cases have been linked to an outbreak at the Eureka Pentecostal Church and today its Communicable Disease Response Team was on site at the church to offer testing.

Two new hospitalizations were also reported today.

Today's cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 194 samples with a test-positivity rate of 10.3 percent. This week's case count 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.

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, the county reported today that due to a low recent vaccine uptake rate in Humboldt County, the county will receive 4,140 doses of vaccine for next week — far less than the 7,440 doses received this week and less than half the 11,000 doses received the week before. The county has repeatedly urged residents to schedule vaccination appointments, saying "many" spaces remain open for clinics this weekend. The low local uptake rate led the county to recently give San Francisco 1,0oo doses of the Pfizer vaccine that were at risk of going unused locally.

 Those wanting a vaccine can also register online through

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 3,717 cases, with 143 hospitalizations and 38 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,516 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 6.5 percent.

Nationwide, more than 31.7 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 567,352 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 60,086 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 [email protected] or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at [email protected] 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 23, 2021 - 20 New Cases Reported Today
707-441-5000 ; [email protected] ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Twenty 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 3,717.

After seeing the case rate decline for weeks, Humboldt County is currently experiencing an uptick in cases, many of which are related to one or more superspreader events.

In response to a recent outbreak at Eureka The Pentecostal Church, the Humboldt County Public Health Communicable Disease Response Team was on-site today offering testing to members of the church who may have been exposed.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman thanked church officials and members for their responsiveness and collaboration with Public Health. “We’re grateful for all they’re doing to protect each other and the community as a whole,” Dr. Hoffman said.

Community residents who think they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 can get tested at no cost seven days a week. For a list of testing locations and times, go to, or call 888-634-1123.

Walk-In Appointment Hours to Expand Next Week
Vaccination appointments are available at the Arcata Community Center this weekend, 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 — 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

Beginning next week, walk-in vaccine hours will expand to 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Scheduling an appointment in advance is encouraged. As of today, only 25% of available first dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments for the week of April 19-25 have been booked or attended. There are still many spaces available in clinics this weekend.

As a result of low vaccine uptake, Humboldt County will receive 4,140 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for next week, including 1,800 Moderna and 2,340 of Pfizer. There will be no Johnson & Johnson due to the pause. Additional clinics will be announced Monday or Tuesday depending on allocation.

Humboldt County Public Health declined 1,000 additional doses of Moderna vaccine. This is the first week the county turned away doses offered by the state due to a lack of demand from the community and providers.

View the Humboldt County Data Dashboard online at, or go to to download today’s data.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit or Local information is available at or by contacting [email protected] 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.

CVS Pharmacy:
Rite Aid:

Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination:
Local COVID-19 vaccine information:
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard:
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert:


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Thadeus Greenson

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

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