Monday, July 19, 2021

Public Health Confirms 46 New COVID-19 Cases as Test-positivity Rate Continues to Rise

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 4:04 PM

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Humboldt County Public Health reported today that it has confirmed 46 new COVID-19 since Friday, as well as a new hospitalization, as local infection rates continue to climb.

The cases announced today, which came after a total of 84 new cases were confirmed last week, were reported after laboratories processed 345 samples with a test-positivity rate of 13.3 percent. According to a state database, seven people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including two under intensive care. The newly hospitalized resident is in their 40s, according to public health.

"Since the last weekly update on July 12, the county has reported 99 new cases of COVID-19, three new hospitalizations and two deaths," states the county's press release. "Of the residents who were hospitalized, one was in their 40s, one in their 60s and one in their 70s. One of the residents who died was in their 60s and the other in their 70s. ...  As the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant triggers a rise in cases across the state, a growing number of California counties are urging residents to wear masks indoors. Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the state, has reinstated its indoor mask requirement, while more than a dozen other counties strongly recommend them."

In recent weeks, local officials have been warning that residents age 19 and younger are increasingly accounting for case spread locally amid an upwelling in cases of the Delta variant, which now accounts for one in four infections nationally. The Delta variant is believed to be more contagious than other COVID-19 varieties and to result in more severe illness.

On the vaccination front, the county reported last week that roughly 55 percent of the eligible local population is are now fully vaccinated. Sixty-two percent of eligible residents have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to a press release.

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:


Eureka – Tuesday, July 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eureka Boat Launch (1701 Waterfront Dr.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Fortuna – Wednesday, July 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. River Lodge Conference Center (1800 Riverwalk Dr.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Thursday, July 22, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Arcata Transit Center (925 E St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Redway – Friday, July 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dean Creek RV Park (4112 Redwood Drive) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Fortuna – Saturday, July 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Redwood AutoXpo (Veterans Memorial Building, 1426 Main St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Saturday, July 24, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Arcata Farmers’ Market (Arcata Plaza, 808 G St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Sunday, July 25, from noon to 4 p.m. Adopt-a-Park Community Event (Mad River Pkwy. E)
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 4,775 cases, with 219 hospitalizations and 53 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard lists 4,525 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. In July, it has risen to 8.3 percent even as vaccinations have rendered fewer local resident susceptible to infection.

Nationwide, more than 33.8 million cases have been confirmed with 606,618 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 3.7 million cases and 63,649 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 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 19, 2021 - 46 New Cases Reported Since Friday
Forty-six new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Humboldt County since the most recent report Friday. A previously reported case has been removed after it was determined to be a duplicate. The total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus now stands at 4,775.

One new hospitalization of a resident in their 40s has also been reported since Friday.

Since the last weekly update on July 12, the county has reported 99 new cases of COVID-19, three new hospitalizations and two deaths. Of the residents who were hospitalized, one was in their 40s, one in their 60s and one in their 70s. One of the residents who died was in their 60s and the other in their 70s. To date, the county has reported a total of 219 hospitalizations and 53 deaths.

As the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant triggers a rise in cases across the state, a growing number of California counties are urging residents to wear masks indoors. Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the state, has reinstated its indoor mask requirement, while more than a dozen other counties strongly recommend them.

Statewide, unvaccinated residents over the age of two are required to wear facial coverings in indoor public spaces. To find out more about the role of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/effective-masks.html.

Public Health officials reiterate that eligible members of the community get vaccinated. Vaccine is available at Public Health clinics and at most local pharmacies. Walk-ins are welcome at all Public Health clinics, or sign up in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov. See the clinic schedule for the next seven days below.

Eureka – Tuesday, July 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Eureka Boat Launch (1701 Waterfront Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Fortuna – Wednesday, July 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
River Lodge Conference Center (1800 Riverwalk Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Thursday, July 22, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Arcata Transit Center (925 E St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Redway – Friday, July 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dean Creek RV Park (4112 Redwood Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Fortuna – Saturday, July 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Redwood AutoXpo (Veterans Memorial Building, 1426 Main St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Saturday, July 24, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Arcata Farmers’ Market (Arcata Plaza, 808 G St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Sunday, July 25, from noon to 4 p.m.
Adopt-a-Park Community Event (Mad River Pkwy. E)
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.

To check availability of these vaccines, as well as Moderna, at local pharmacies, visit 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.

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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