Friday, May 14, 2021

Public Health Confirms Another COVID Death, 26 New Cases

Posted By on Fri, May 14, 2021 at 3:14 PM

Humboldt County has lost a 42nd resident — a person in their 50s — to COVID-19, Public Health reported today, while confirming 26 new cases, making 138 this week.

The cases were reported after laboratories processed 272 samples with a test-positivity rate of 9.6 percent.

Officials are pointing to the local presence of the B.1.1.7 variant as a reason for the recentsurge in cases, with Public Health reporting Friday that genomic sequencing has identified more than 40 local cases of the variant, which is associated with a 50 percent increase in transmission and more severe illness.

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

Public Health reported yesterday that the county has now administered more than 107,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 55 percent of residents ages 16 and older having received at least one dose and 44 percent of those eligible now fully vaccinated.

Health officials continue to urge Humboldt residents to get tested, with more screening sites opened throughout the region.

Public Health also reported today that it has requested 1,170 additional doses  of the Pfizer next week through Blue Shield, the state's third-party administrator, though there is no guarantee it will receive all of them. The county specifically requested the Pfizer doses in preparation of the expansion of vaccination to 12 to 15 year olds, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently authorized. Residents needing to schedule a first or second dose appointment are encouraged to sign up through

The county announced today it will hold three Pfizer clinics in the coming weeks at College of the Redwoods on May 20, May 27 and June 2, all from 2 to 6 p.m.

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 4.2 percent (down from 7.4 percent last week) and a daily case rate of eight per 100,000 compared to the prior week's 12.8. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1.2 percent test-positivity rate and 3.7 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.) Today, the county announced it will no longer be certifying event plans, but urged organizers to follow safety measures and contact local jurisdictions with questions. (Read more in the press release at the bottom of this post.)

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 4,072 cases, with 171 hospitalizations and 42 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 3,845 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, it then jumped to 7 percent.

Nationwide, more than 32.6 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 581,573 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 61,417 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 [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:

May 14, 2021 - 1 Death, 26 New Cases Reported Today; 3 Pfizer Vaccination Clinics Coming Up

707-441-5000 ; [email protected] ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
A Humboldt County resident has died with COVID-19, and 26 new cases of the virus were reported today. A total of 4,072 county residents have tested positive.

The community member who died was in their 50s, marking the third death this week and the county’s 42nd COVID-related death. Public Health and emergency response staff extend their sympathies to the person’s friends, loved ones and caregivers.

Three Pfizer first-dose vaccination clinics are scheduled over the next three weeks. All county residents age 12 and older can sign up to receive this vaccine at Appointments are encouraged but not required.

These Pfizer clinics are held at College of the Redwoods located at 7351 Tompkins Hill Road in Eureka. See the schedule of first-dose clinics below.

Thursday, May 20 – 2 to 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 27 – 2 to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, June 2 – 2 to 6 p.m.
In addition to stating a child’s age when signing up on My Turn, parents or guardians of minors must provide written consent in person at the vaccination clinic. A consent form will be provided.

Anyone with questions about signing up through My Turn can call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-422-4255.

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.

Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination:
Check for vaccine availability at a local pharmacy:
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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