Thursday, April 29, 2021

Public Health Reports 19 New COVID-19 Cases, 12 Hospitalizations

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2021 at 4:34 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 19 new COVID-19 cases today — making 118 so far this week, while also reporting a dozen new hospitalizations, six of which occurred since yesterday's report and six more from over the past week.

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 231 samples with a test-positivity rate of 8.2 percent, bringing the county's cumulative case total to 3,833.

The county also reported today that nearly a third of eligible residents are now fully vaccinated.

Tuesday, Public Health reported that the federal government had confirmed a positive local case of the UK variant of COVID-19, which has proven to be more contagious than other varieties. Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman said at a press conference yesterday that officials suspect the variant played a role in the super-spreader event that has led to the recent surge in local cases, which Public Health announced today has also led to 17 hospitalizations over the past week.

The 130 new cases confirmed 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.

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 showed that Humboldt County has a test positive rate of 3.1 percent (compared to 2.3 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 5.9 per 100,000 compared to the prior week's 4.7. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.5 percent test-positivity rate and 4.7 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 3,833 cases, with 160 hospitalizations and 38 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,606 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 7.4 percent.

Nationwide, more than 32 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 571,297 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 60,362 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 29, 2021 - Nearly a Third of Eligible County Residents Fully Vaccinated
707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A total of 3,833 Humboldt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 after 19 additional cases were reported today.

Today’s report includes twelve new hospitalizations. Of those, six people were hospitalized in the current reporting period, and six others were admitted to the hospital over the last week but were unreported. A total of 17 hospitalizations have been reported this week.

Humboldt County Public Health and other approved local vaccinators have administered a total of 90,976 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. About 32% of county residents age 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

Local vaccination information has been updated on the Humboldt County Data Dashboard. Some highlights include:

58,703 residents have received at least one dose and have some protection against the virus. That represents 43% of the county’s total population and 52% of the population who are 16 and older and currently qualify for vaccination.
About 2 in 3 county residents age 65 and older are fully vaccinated.
16% of the 20-29 age group, which has been the largest driver of local cases, is fully vaccinated.
Public Health officials urge county residents who have not yet received a first dose of vaccine to sign up for an appointment at a clinic this week. Given the need to administer thousands of second doses in the coming weeks, first-dose mass vaccination clinics are unlikely to be scheduled again until June, and county residents who want to receive a first dose before then will have to visit a local pharmacy or schedule with their primary care provider.

All county residents age 16 and older can sign up through MyTurn.ca.gov for the Pfizer vaccine at this week’s clinics in Arcata or Fortuna. Minors must provide proof of age and be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Appointments are encouraged but not required.

See the schedule of Pfizer clinics below:

Arcata Community Center (321 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway)
Thursday, April 29 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday, April 30 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, May 1 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 2 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fortuna High School (379 12th St.)
Saturday, May 1 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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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