Wednesday, June 16, 2021

County Marks Second COVID-19 Death in Two Days

Posted By on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 at 5:35 PM

Public Health today reported the county's second COVID-19 death in as many days and the confirmation of nine new cases of the virus. No additional hospitalizations were reported.

The person who died was in their 70s.

Today's case results came after laboratories processed 344 samples with a test-positivity rate of 2.6 percent. According to a state database, seven people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including one under intensive care.

With this week's the of California's “Blueprint for a Safer Economy," which ranked the risk rates of each county based on case and test positivty rate with corresponding restrictions, the state moves toward reopening and has lifted some COVID-19 protocols for those who are fully vaccinated. (Read more here.)

In the last of the state's COVID ranking reports released Tuesday, Humboldt County’s final adjusted case rate was 5.1 per 100,000 residents with a positivity rate of 5 percent, far outpacing the rest of California.

Meanwhile, Public Health vaccinations clinics are scheduled in Eureka and Arcata this week. All will include the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only one authorized for those 12 to 17.

Clinic schedule:

Eureka – Thursday, June 17 – 2 to 6 p.m. College of the Redwoods Gym (7351 Tompkins Hill Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Saturday, June 19 – 5 to 7:30 p.m. Arcata Ballpark/Humboldt Crabs game (888 F St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson (Free admission to the game for those who get their shots at the clinic.)

Eureka – Monday, June 21 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Humboldt Community Access & Resource Center (1001 Searles St.) Johnson & Johnson

To make an appointment in advance or view additional vaccination opportunities and to request help with transportation, visit www.vaccines.gov or www.myturn.ca.gov.

According to a county news release, 125,174 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given by Public Health and other local approved vaccinators.  More than half, or 50.5 percent, of county residents over 12 who currently qualify for vaccination are fully vaccinated. Almost 3 in 5, or 59.5 percent, of eligible county residents have received at least one dose, meaning they have some protection against the virus.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 4,451 cases, with 199 hospitalizations and 48 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 4,322 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.

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 Humboldt County resident has died with COVID-19, marking the county’s 48th death. Nine additional cases of the virus were reported today, bringing to 4,451 the total number of county residents who have tested positive.

The person who died was in their 70s. Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center staff share their condolences with this person’s friends and family members and all who have lost a loved one to the virus.

Tomorrow, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal/OSHA, is expected to approve updated masking guidance that will closely align with the state’s recent masking order. That order requires only unvaccinated people to continue masking in public settings with limited exceptions for high-risk places such as health care facilities and congregate living facilities where everyone must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. As of today, all employees are required to continue to wear masks in the workplace.

Public Health and other approved local vaccinators have administered a total of 125,174 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine section of the Data Dashboard has been updated with the latest information from the California Immunization Registry (CAIR). Some highlights include: More than half, or 50.5%, of county residents over 12 who currently qualify for vaccination are fully vaccinated. Almost 3 in 5, or 59.5%, of eligible county residents have received at least one dose, meaning they have some protection against the virus.

Of residents in the 12-15 age group who most recently became eligible for vaccination, 11.3% are fully vaccinated. This represents an increase of 7.8 percentage points over the last week, the largest increase of any age group in that time.

Data provided by the California Department of Public Health, which includes additional information not added to the CAIR database, reports that 63.1% of Humboldt County’s eligible population has received at least one dose of vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine is still widely available in the county.

Public Health has scheduled clinics this week in Eureka and Arcata, and walk-ins are welcome at all of these clinics. Those who would like to make an appointment in advance or view additional vaccination options may do so at MyTurn.ca.gov.

See the below schedule of Public Health clinics and which vaccines are offered at each clinic.

Eureka – Thursday, June 17 – 2 to 6 p.m. College of the Redwoods Gym (7351 Tompkins Hill Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson Arcata – Saturday, June 19 – 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Arcata Ball Park/Humboldt Crabs game* (888 F St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson *Free admission to Saturday’s game for those who get vaccinated at this clinic.

Eureka – Monday, June 21 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Humboldt Community Access & Resource Center (1001 Searles St.) Johnson & Johnson

The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people age 12 and older, and the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is authorized for people 18 and older. A parent or guardian must accompany minor children to the clinic. Minor consent forms are available online in English and Spanish and may be printed and filled out for each minor child before coming to the clinic. English: humboldtgov.org/MinorConsentEnglish Español: humboldtgov.org/MinorConsentEspanol COVID-19 vaccine is also available at many local pharmacies. Check availability at vaccines.gov, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to find a participating pharmacy nearby. Most pharmacies allow walk-ins. 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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Kimberly Wear

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

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