Thursday, May 27, 2021

Public Health Confirms 13 New COVID Cases

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2021 at 3:28 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 13 new COVID-19 cases after laboratories processed 238 samples with a test-positivity rate of 5.5 percent, bringing this weeks tally to 83.

Last week, the county confirmed 127 new cases and eight new hospitalizations.

The county announced yesterday that it is hosting vaccine clinics today and June 2 at College of the Redwoods from 2 to 6 p.m., and another at Eureka High School from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 5. (Get more info on them in the press release copied below.) Earlier today, state officials announced vaccinated residents will be eligible to receive millions of dollars in prizes, including 10 payouts of $1.5 million each, in a drawing June 15.

The county also reported Tuesday that Humboldt remains in the state's orange "widespread" COVID-19 risk tier, despite rising numbers that land Humboldt County's case and test-positivity rates as the worst of California's 58 counties.

Officials are pointing to the local presence of the B.1.1.7 variant as a reason for the recent spike in cases, with Public Health reporting last week 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, eight people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including two receiving intensive care.

The county reported Friday that state officials believe California is on track to move beyond its current blueprint for COVID-19 restrictions June 15, after which almost all business sectors can resume usual operations with limited exceptions, mostly for large events with 5,000 attendees or more. But the reopening will add risk for non-vaccinated individuals, and the state is urging residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Public Health reported last week that the county has administered more than 110,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 38 percent of local population now fully vaccinated, including nearly 75 percent of residents over the age of 65. Further, Public Health reported that residents can now text their ZIP code to 438829 or call (800) 232-0233 to find a pharmacy near them offering the vaccine, and the county has two Pfizer vaccine clinics scheduled at College of the Redwoods on May 27 and June 2, both from 2 to 6 p.m. The county is also urging employers to play a part in getting employees vaccinated.

The county currently has more than 13,500 vaccine doses on hand and said did not request additional doses from the state for this week.

Health officials continue to urge Humboldt residents to get tested, with more screening sites opened throughout the region. Residents needing to schedule a first or second vaccine 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 7 percent and a daily case rate of 12.5 per 100,000 compared to the prior week's nine. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 1 percent test-positivity rate and 2.8 cases per 100,000.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 4,279 cases, with 185 hospitalizations and 43 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 4,097 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 before inching back up to 5.9 percent in April. In May, it has jumped to 8.3 percent.

Nationwide, more than 33 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 589,547 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 61,855 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:

State Introduces ‘Vax for the Win’ Program to Incentivize Vaccination; 13 New Cases Reported Today

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today introduced “Vax for the Win,” a campaign to provide cash incentives to state residents who get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

CDPH will offer $50 gift cards to the next 2 million state residents who get fully vaccinated. Gift cards will be distributed digitally following completion of a two-dose series or after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

All Californians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be entered into a drawing for cash prizes. Thirty state residents will win $50,000 each, with half of the winners chosen on June 4 and half on June 11. Ten state residents will win $1.5 million each, and winners will be selected on June 15, the day the state plans to fully reopen the economy.

Learn more about “Vax for the Win” at covid19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win or by calling 833-993-3873.

COVID-19 vaccine is widely available in Humboldt County. Public Health has two mass-vaccination clinics scheduled in Eureka over the next two weeks. Go to MyTurn.ca.gov to sign up. Appointments are encouraged but not required. See the schedule and which vaccines are offered below.

Wednesday, June 2 — 2 to 6 p.m. — College of the Redwoods — Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson
Saturday, June 5 — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Eureka High School — Pfizer
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is authorized for people 18 years and up. All county residents age 12 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Many local pharmacies are also offering the COVID-19 vaccine, and all that do allow walk-ins. Go to vaccines.gov to check availability at participating pharmacies.

A total of 4,279 Humboldt County residents have tested positive after 13 new cases were reported today.

With nearly 11,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on hand, Humboldt County Public Health will request 1,170 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the State of California for next week.

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.

Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination: MyTurn.ca.gov
Check for vaccine availability at a local pharmacy: Vaccines.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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