Monday, April 26, 2021

Public Health Confirms 68 New COVID-19 Cases, Four New Hospitalizations

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 4:55 PM

Humboldt County Public Health reported it has confirmed 68 new cases since Friday, continuing a surge that saw 130 cases recorded last week, the most in a single week since early February.

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 559 samples with a test-positivity rate of 12.2 percent. Public Health also reported four new hospitalizations today.

The 130 new cases last week were up from 71 the prior week, which itself was a doubling of the week before. 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.

Meanwhile, the county reported Friday that due to a low recent vaccine uptake rate in Humboldt County, the county would receive 4,140 doses of vaccine this 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, and Public Health reported that it declined 1,000 additional doses for this week, as well, the first time it has declined an allocation of vaccine doses from the state.

This week, the county will hold vaccination clinics in Arcata and Fortuna, with Arcata's clinics held at the Arcata Community Center on Wednesday through Sunday, with walk-ins welcome from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Appointments are encouraged to reduce wait times.) Fortuna's clinic, meanwhile, will be held Saturday.

Those wanting a vaccine can also register online through www.myturn.ca.gov.

Public Health also reported today that it will resume administering the Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control cleared it resume doing so last week. (Read more in the press release below.)

The state of California, meanwhile, updated its COVID-19 risk tiers last  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 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 3,785 cases, with 147 hospitalizations and 38 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,580 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 31.8 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 569,272 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 60,203 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 26, 2021 - 68 New Cases Reported Since Friday; Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Cleared for Use

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
68 New Cases Reported Since Friday
A total of 3,785 Humboldt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, after 68 additional cases were recorded since the most recent report on Friday.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Cleared for Use
The recommended pause in administration of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine has been lifted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A joint statement issued by the two federal agencies stated that “available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.” The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also reviewed the data and concluded that use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should resume.

The pause was implemented after six cases of an extremely rare but severe type of blood clot developed in women between the ages of 18 and 59 who had received this specific vaccine. A total of 15 cases were identified out of more than 6.8 million doses administered. Information about the low risk of blood clots and alternative vaccines will be shared with recipients, and the CDC and FDA will continue to monitor all vaccines currently authorized for emergency use.

Read more about the CDC review panel’s findings at https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/fda-cdc-lift-vaccine-use.html.

Clinics Scheduled in Fortuna and Arcata This Week
COVID-19 vaccination clinics are planned in Fortuna and Arcata this week for both first and second doses.

All appointments available this week through My Turn are for the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine authorized for 16- and 17-year olds. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and provide proof of age. County residents due for a second dose of the Moderna vaccine should call the Humboldt County Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000 for scheduling information.

See the schedule of Pfizer clinics below:

Arcata Community Center – Wednesday, April 28 through Sunday, May 2
Fortuna High School – Saturday, May 1.
Walk-ins hours are scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this week at the Arcata Community Center, though appointments are encouraged to reduce wait times and help prevent wasted doses.

For appointment times and to register, go to MyTurn.ca.gov.

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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