Friday, May 7, 2021

Humboldt Sees 20 New COVID-19 Cases Confirmed Today

Posted By on Fri, May 7, 2021 at 4:45 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 20 new COVID-19 cases today, making 86 so far this week, and no new hospitalizations.

According to a state database, 11 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including three receiving intensive care.

Officials are pointing to the local presence of the B.1.1.7 variant for a recent and continuing surge in cases that saw a combined 287 cases confirmed in the past two weeks.

"Genomic sequencing of local COVID-19-positive samples has identified more than 40 total cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, now the most dominant strain of the virus in the state and nation," the county's press release states. "This variant is associated with a 50 percent increase in transmission and can lead to more severe illness as well as hospitalizations and deaths in unvaccinated individuals."

Public Health officials say the B.1.1.7 variant was present in a majority of sequenced samples, indicating that it is widespread locally.

Today's cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 352 samples, bringing the county's cumulative case total to 3,935, as health officials continue to urge Humboldt residents to get tested, with more screening sites opened throughout the region.

Public Health also reported this week that it has requested 6,600 vaccine doses next week through Blue Shield, the state's third-party administrator, though there is no guarantee it will receive all of them. Meanwhile, the county is holding second-dose mass vaccination clinics through Sunday, with nearly 5,000 residents slated to complete their two-dose series. Residents needing to schedule a first or second dose appointment are encouraged to sign up through www.vaccines.gov.

The state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers Tuesday and, despite escalating case rates, kept Humboldt County in the "moderate" or orange tier it entered last 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 6.4 percent (compared to 3.1 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 12.8 per 100,000 compared to the prior week's 5.9. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.3 percent test-positivity rate and 4.2 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 3,935 cases, with 165 hospitalizations after two were removed after being found to be due to reasons other than the virus although the patients were positive, and 39 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,757 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. In subsequent weeks, it then jumped to more than 7 percent.

Nationwide, more than 32.5 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 578,945 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 61,027 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 and other newly opened screening site information can be found here

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:

A total of 3,935 Humboldt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 after 20 news cases were reported today. 

Two previously reported hospitalizations have been removed from the county’s count. While both were positive for COVID-19, the reason they were admitted to the hospital was unrelated to the virus. 

Genomic sequencing of local COVID-19-positive samples has identified more than 40 total cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, now the most dominant strain of the virus in the state and nation. This variant is associated with a 50% increase in transmission and can lead to more severe illness as well as hospitalizations and deaths in unvaccinated individuals. 

Public Health officials say the B.1.1.7 variant was present in a majority of sequenced samples, indicating that it is widespread locally. The community will be notified if additional variants of concern are detected in the county. Health officials pointed out that all approved vaccines are highly effective against COVID-19 variants and encouraged county residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

More than 2,600 second doses of COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be administered at Public Health’s mass-vaccination clinics scheduled today through Sunday. County residents in need of a first- or second-dose of vaccine who aren’t already scheduled for an appointment can sign up through a local pharmacy. Go to vaccines.gov to check availability at all participating local pharmacies.  

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.
 


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About The Author

Kimberly Wear

Bio:
Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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