Friday, July 2, 2021

County Confirms Five New COVID Cases, Warns of Delta Variant Spread

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2021 at 3:34 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed five new COVID-19 cases today after laboratories processed 110 samples with a test-positivity rate of 4.5 percent.

No new hospitalizations were reported today but, according to a state database, eight people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including three under intensive care.

Public Health reported yesterday that local health officials see "strong evidence" that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective against all four variants of the virus that have been identified locally since November. In a press release, the officials also noted concern that while the variants appear to be more contagious and cause more severe illness in young people, vaccination rates continue to lag in that demographic.

"Making up less than a third of the county population, young adults represent nearly half of the county's total COVID-19 cases," a press release states. "At the same time, vaccination rates are lagging behind in that age group, especially in 20 to 29 year olds, with fewer than 36 percent of them fully vaccinated."

In today's press release, the county notes that an unspecified number of "additional cases" locally have been confirmed to be the Delta variant, which now accounts for one in four infections nationally. Health Officer Ian Hoffman said vaccination is the only thing that will curb spread of the virus and its variants.

“We are seeing cases in younger folks and sicker people hospitalized, even people in their teens,” Hoffman said in the press release. “Variants like Alpha appear to be more infectious, more contagious, to make people sicker, and hit younger folks harder than the previous versions of the virus. Until people are vaccinated, this virus will continue to circulate among unvaccinated folks, and the potential for serious illness is still very high even in the younger age group.”

All of the Public Health vaccinations clinics scheduled this week will include the one-shot Johnson & Johnson and the Pfizer vaccine, the only one authorized for those 12 to 17.

Clinic schedule:

 
Arcata – Friday, July 2 – 5 to 7:30 p.m. Arcata Ball Park/Humboldt Crabs game* (888 F St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson *Free admission and a hot dog dinner to the first 100 people who get vaccinated at this clinic.

Rio Dell – Saturday, July 3 – noon to 2 p.m. Dollar General (44 W. Davis St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Fortuna – Tuesday, July 6 from noon to 2 p.m. Dollar General (650 S. Fortuna Blvd.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Samoa – Wednesday, July 7 from 3 to 6 p.m. Samoa Women’s Club (115 Rideout Ave.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Fortuna – Thursday, July 8 from 3 to 6 p.m. Humboldt Senior Resource Center (3200 Newburg Road) Pfizer/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.

Last week, an advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found a likely link between certain mRNA vaccines and extremely rare instances of heart inflammation, which most commonly occurred in young men and ususally cleared itself or with minor treatment. Both the CDC and the FDA continue to recommendation vaccinations for those 12 and older.

To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 4,586 cases, with 211 hospitalizations and 50 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 4,431 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 but fell back to 5.9 percent in June.

Nationwide, more than 33.5 million cases have been confirmed with 602,731 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 3.7 million cases and 63,141 related deaths have been confirmed in California, 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 the Wharfinger Building 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 testing site moved to the Wharfinger Building. Read more 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 JIC release below:


July 2, 2021 - Five New Cases Reported Today; Delta Variant Continues to Spread

Five new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Humboldt County today. One previously reported case was removed because it was determined to be a duplicate. The total number of county residents who have tested positive now stands at 4,586.

Additional cases of the significantly more contagious Delta variant were identified in Humboldt County this week. Delta is anticipated to become the predominant strain locally as in the rest of the country, where it is responsible for one in every four new infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Public health officials urge community members to get vaccinated and continue to follow common-sense measures to protect themselves, as well as children and medically vulnerable members of the community.

Wear a face covering in high-contact situations or poorly ventilated spaces
Practice good hand hygiene
Follow safety measures when traveling
Get tested if you have been exposed, even if you are asymptomatic
Stay home if you feel sick.
Public health officials agree that vaccination remains the best tool available to protect against COVID-19. Vaccines are also proving to be effective at protecting against all the variants, including Delta. Given the local increase in hospitalizations in younger people, now is the time for everyone age 12 and older to get vaccinated as the best way to prevent serious illness and death from the COVID-19 virus.

The highly transmissible Delta variant infects unvaccinated people almost exclusively, and full vaccination appears to provide greater protection than a partial dose. Those getting the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine should make sure and get both doses.

Vaccine is available at Public Health clinics and at most local pharmacies. Walk-ins are welcome or sign up in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov. See the clinic schedule for the next seven days below.

Arcata – Friday, July 2 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Arcata Ball Park/Humboldt Crabs game (888 F St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Free admission and a hot dog dinner for the first 100 people who get vaccinated at this clinic.

Rio Dell – Saturday, July 3 from noon to 2 p.m.
Dollar General (44 W. Davis St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Fortuna – Tuesday, July 6 from noon to 2 p.m.
Dollar General (650 S. Fortuna Blvd.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Samoa – Wednesday, July 7 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Samoa Women’s Club (115 Rideout Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Fortuna – Thursday, July 8 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Humboldt Senior Resource Center (3200 Newburg Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for children as young as 12 years old. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is authorized for those 18 and older.

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.

OptumServe testing sites will be closed Sunday, July 4, and the COVID-19 Call Center will be closed Monday, July 5, in observance of Independence Day.

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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