Wednesday, June 2, 2021

County Reports Hundreds of Open Vaccination Appointments, Confirms Two New Cases

Posted By on Wed, Jun 2, 2021 at 3:56 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed two new COVID-19 cases today after laboratories processed 65 samples with a test-positivity rate of 3 percent. No new hospitalizations were reported.

The county also announced hundreds of vaccine appointments remain open and it will be holding clinics from 2 to 6 p.m. today at College of the Redwoods, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Eureka High School and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jun 9 at the Mattole Grange. (More details on those below.) Last week, 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.

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, 10 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 118,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 57 percent of the eligible local population now having received at least one dose and more than half of residents age 40 and older now fully vaccinated. 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 yesterday and, despite escalating case rates, kept Humboldt County in the "moderate" or orange tier it entered in April, 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 5.6 percent and a daily case rate of 8.2 per 100,000 compared to the prior week's 12.5. California overall, meanwhile, reports a 0.8 percent test-positivity rate and 2.2 cases per 100,000.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 4,325 cases, with 190 hospitalizations and 43 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 4,186 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 jumped to 8.3 percent.

Nationwide, more than 33 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, with 592,232 related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In California, more than 3.6 million cases have been confirmed with 62,044 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:

Two New Cases Reported; Hundreds of Appointments Available at Eureka High Saturday

707-441-5000 ; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us ; Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm Opens in new window
Only two new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Humboldt County today, bringing to 4,325 the total number of county residents who have tested positive.

Hundreds of appointments are still available at a Public Health mass-vaccination clinic planned at Eureka High School for this Saturday, June 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be offered by appointment and to walk-ins as long as doses remain available. Spanish speakers will be on-site to assist.

All residents age 12 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is authorized for people 18 and older.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also be offered at a clinic scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9 at the Mattole Grange located at 36512 Mattole Road in Petrolia.

Walk-ins are available at all Public Health clinics, but making an appointment in advance is encouraged and helps to prevent wasted doses. To book an appointment or to view the full clinic schedule, go to MyTurn.ca.gov.

COVID-19 vaccines are also available at many local pharmacies, and most allow walk-ins. Go to vaccines.gov to check availability. Residents can also text their ZIP code to 438829 to find a vaccination site nearby.

Local vaccination data provided by the state’s California Immunization Registry (CAIR) has been updated on the Humboldt County Data Dashboard. Some highlights include:

Humboldt County Public Health and other approved local vaccinators have administered a total of 118,561 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Nearly 50% of the county’s total population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, meaning they have some protection against the virus, and 57% of residents age 12+ who are currently eligible for vaccination have received at least one dose.
More than half of county residents age 40 and older are fully vaccinated, and about 75% of those over the age of 65 are fully vaccinated.
Please note that the CAIR database does not include all information about vaccine doses administered through the federal government’s various vaccination programs. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) yesterday reported that 60.4% of Humboldt County’s eligible population has received at least one dose of vaccine, more than 3% higher than the report from the CAIR database.

CDPH has launched a program called “Vax for the Win” to offer cash incentives to state residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19. Two million Californians will receive $50 gift cards after being fully vaccinated, and 40 state residents will win cash prizes ranging from $50,000 to $1.5 million. Learn more about the program at covid19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win.

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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