Tuesday, August 3, 2021

HumCo Records 54th COVID Death, 31 New Cases as Surge Continues

Posted By on Tue, Aug 3, 2021 at 4:28 PM

click to enlarge Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory staff Paula Moon (left) and Alyssa McCloud catalog incoming tests. - PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Public Health
  • Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory staff Paula Moon (left) and Alyssa McCloud catalog incoming tests.
Humboldt County has lost a 54th resident — a person in their 30s — to COVID-19, Public Health reported today, while confirming 31 new cases and three new hospitalizations.

This afternoon's report — which came after laboratories processed 208 samples with a test-positivity rate of 14.9 percent — came after Public Health reported this morning that it had confirmed 124 new cases between Friday and Monday, with four new hospitalizations.

Today's tally coupled with that over the weekend makes 155 new cases reported so far this week, after the county reported 217 last week — its highest tally since the post-holiday surge in January.

According to a state database, 20 people remain hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including seven under intensive care.

In a press release today, health officials urged local residents to reconsider gatherings with people outside their households amid a spike in cases officials believe is being fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

“Everyone is frustrated that this is moving backwards given all the progress made,” Health Officer Ian Hoffman said. “Think about what level of risk you can tolerate, what makes sense for yourself, your family, when deciding what activities to continue in public.”

The local case news comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released new data Friday indicating the Delta variant is highly transmittable, even among fully vaccinated people. While data indicates the vaccines remain highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and death, the CDC warns that it leads to very high viral loads even among vaccinated, mildly symptomatic people, meaning they can still easily transmit the virus to others.

Thursday, the Humboldt County Administrative Office announced that as of tomorrow facial coverings will be required in all county facilities, warning the current surge in cases poses a "real threat" to the county's ability to provide vital services.

Days after Humboldt County Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their mask guidance, the California Department of Public Health followed suit in recommending that everyone — regardless of vaccination status – wear a mask while indoors in public spaces for regions with high levels of virus transmission, which includes Humboldt County. According to the CDC, more than 90 percent of California residents are in areas of high or substantial transmission, including Humboldt.

The recommendation to continue masking comes after the increased spread of the Delta variant, which is more contagious than other COVID-19 varieties and can result in more severe illness. The Delta variant now accounts for nearly 85 percent of new infections nationally. Earlier this week, Public Health reported that the Delta variant was found in 25 percent of samples that underwent genomic sequencing last month.

Public Health is urging residents to help limit the spread of the virus by wearing masks indoors in public, participating in contact tracing efforts and getting vaccinated.

According to the release, Public Health is prioritizing contact tracing investigations based on risk due to the surge in local COVID cases. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is urged to assist contact investigators in quickly identifying their close contacts, defined as those who have been within six feet for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period.

Public Health is urging residents who have yet to do so to get their COVID-19 vaccines, as it is the only protection against severe illness and death from the virus. This week's Public Health vaccine clinics include Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson doses. The full schedule includes:

Eureka – Thursday, Aug. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
College of the Redwoods Gym (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Pfizer/Moderna

McKinleyville – Friday, Aug. 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Six Rivers Brewery (1300 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
*$5 vouchers toward food and drink for those who get vaccinated at this clinic.

McKinleyville – Friday, Aug. 6, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Ace Hardware (2725 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
*$25 gift cards from Ace to those who get vaccinated at this clinic.

Eureka – Saturday, Aug. 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
North Coast Stand Down (Veterans Memorial Building, 1018 H St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Blue Lake – Sunday, Aug. 8, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Blue Lake Resource Center (111 Greenwood Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Eureka – Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Eureka Boat Launch (1701 Waterfront Drive under the Hwy. 255 overpass)
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.


As of Friday, Humboldt County had confirmed 5,269 cases, with 240 hospitalizations and 54 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard listed 4,830 cases as having been "cleared," though that just means they are no longer considered active 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 rose to 10.1 percent — the highest at any point in the pandemic.

Nationwide, more than 35.1 million cases have been confirmed with 611,791 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 3.8 million cases and 64,096 related deaths have been confirmed in California, according to the Department of Public Health.

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:
Aug. 3, 2021 - 1 Death, 31 New Cases Reported Today; Public Asked to Reconsider Gatherings
A Humboldt County resident in their 30s has died with COVID-19, the youngest local resident to die from the virus. Staff in the Departmental Operations Center extend their sympathies to the person’s family, friends and caregivers.

Thirty-one new cases have been confirmed in the county today, and three new hospitalizations have been reported, including two people in their 60s and one person in their 70s. The total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus is now 5,269.

To contain the spread of COVID-19, Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman urges residents to consider using safety precautions in their daily activities and to assess the risk of transmission when deciding what activities to continue, given the steep rise in cases and hospitalizations associated with Delta variant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently urged event organizers to assess for additional measures, including limiting capacity at gatherings or event postponement in areas of high transmission, such as Humboldt County.

“Everyone is frustrated that this is moving backwards given all the progress made,” Dr. Hoffman said. “Think about what level of risk you can tolerate, what makes sense for yourself, your family, when deciding what activities to continue in public.”

On July 23, Public Health recommended that everyone over the age of two should mask indoors when in public, regardless of vaccination status. Other recommended prevention measures include frequent handwashing, physical distancing in public places, getting tested following an exposure and staying home when sick.

Residents are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. All available vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Vaccine is available by appointment and to walk-ins at Public Health vaccination clinics located throughout the county, and most local pharmacies also offer COVID-19 vaccines. See the Public Health clinic schedule for the next seven days below, and sign up in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov.

Eureka – Thursday, Aug. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
College of the Redwoods Gym (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Pfizer/Moderna

McKinleyville – Friday, Aug. 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Six Rivers Brewery (1300 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
*$5 vouchers toward food and drink for those who get vaccinated at this clinic.

McKinleyville – Friday, Aug. 6, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Ace Hardware (2725 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
*$25 gift cards from Ace to those who get vaccinated at this clinic.

Eureka – Saturday, Aug. 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
North Coast Stand Down (Veterans Memorial Building, 1018 H St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Blue Lake – Sunday, Aug. 8, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Blue Lake Resource Center (111 Greenwood Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Eureka – Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Eureka Boat Launch (1701 Waterfront Drive under the Hwy. 255 overpass)
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 Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Full protection from the vaccine is achieved two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose series or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

To check availability of vaccines 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 facial covering recommendations and mandates, go to cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx.

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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