Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Public Health Confirms 36 New COVID-19 Cases, Three New Hospitalizations

Posted By on Wed, Aug 18, 2021 at 4:19 PM

click to enlarge Humboldt County Public Health Microbiologist Annayal Yikum prepares patient samples for the COVID-19 testing process. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Humboldt County Public Health Microbiologist Annayal Yikum prepares patient samples for the COVID-19 testing process.

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 36 new COVID-19 cases today — making 218 so far this week — as well as three new hospitalizations.

Today's cases — which were confirmed after laboratories processed 278 samples with a test-positivity rate of 12.9 percent — come after the county confirmed 471 new cases last week . A state database, meanwhile, shows 29 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally with 10 under intensive care, as hospital capacity remains a growing concern among health officials.

With today's cases, the county has now confirmed 1,176 cases so far this month, as well as 55 hospitalizations and six deaths. After recording a test-positivity rate of 10.1 percent in July — the highest for any month since the pandemic began — the rate in Humboldt County jumped to 15.1 percent in August, far outpacing state (5.8 percent) and national (11.6 percent) rates.

On Friday, Public Health released case data for the week ending Aug. 7, broken up by vaccination status and it shows unvaccinated residents caught the virus at roughly three times the rate of their fully vaccinated peers. For the week, fully vaccinated individuals saw a case rate of 26 per 100,000 residents, while unvaccinated residents saw a case rate of 75 per 100,000 residents.

The recent spike in cases and a corresponding threat to local hospital capacity prompted Health Officer Ian Hoffman to announce a new countywide masking mandate that went into effect Aug. 7.

National, state and local health officials advise that vaccination remains an incredibly safe and effective protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COIVD-19, and the county has a host of no-cost clinics scheduled over the next week. (See the full schedule below.)

The case surge is also impacting local testing capacity, public health reports, with the county's OptumServe site and local pharmacies struggling to meet demand. The county announced today that it is expanding testing capacity locally and will open a new Eureka location to offer no-cost testing "most weekdays." Additionally, OptumServe, which provides no-cost testing seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka, also holds testing clinics fonce a week in McKinleyville, Fortuna, Hoopa and Arcata. Due to high demand, appointments are encouraged and can be made here.

Public Health also reported today that in light of the surge in local cases, many residents have turned to at-home over-the-counter rapid antigen tests to screen for COVID-19. Unlike laboratory tests, these tests require a high level of virus to trigger a positive result, meaning false-positive results are very unlikely. Consequently, Public Health advises that folks who test positive for the virus at home do not need to get a confirmatory laboratory test unless one is required for work, school or the direction of a medical professional. Instead, folks who test positive at home and are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic should isolate for 10 days and notify any close contacts — defined as anyone you spent more than a cumulative 15 minutes within 6 feet of over a 24-hour period — of their exposure.

According to a data tracker run by the nonprofit news organization CalMatters, Humboldt's COVID-19 hospitalization rate is 22 patients per 100,000 residents.

Del Norte County, meanwhile, now has the worst rate in California, with 19 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, including five under intensive care, out of a population of around 29,000, which is equivalent to 64.7 hospitalized COVID-19 patients per 100,000 residents. According to the state database, there are no ICU beds available.

Last week, Del Norte County's only hospital, Sutter Coast Hospital, announced it was opening two surge tents to treat patients while canceling all non-emergent procedures in the hospital, and issued a plea to local residents to follow public health recommendations and get vaccinated. (Read more here.)

During a press conference last week, Hoffman said he believes the highly contagious Delta variant — which data indicates may be twice as contagious as the original strain of COVID-19 — is driving the surge in Humboldt case numbers, as is the case nationally.

"Delta is very different," Hoffman said. "This is not the same virus. It's almost like we are dealing with a whole new pandemic."

Earlier this month, health officials also urged local residents to reconsider gatherings with people outside their households.

The local case news comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released new data 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 transmit the virus to others.

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

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:

Scotia – Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Scotia Lodge parking lot (100 Main St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Orick – Thursday, Aug. 19, from noon to 2 p.m.
Orick Elementary School (120918 Hwy. 101) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Ferndale – Thursday, Aug. 19, from noon to 3 p.m.
Humboldt County Fair – Belotti Hall (1250 Fifth St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Trinidad – Thursday, Aug. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Elementary School (300 Trinity St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Ferndale – Friday, Aug. 20, from noon to 3 p.m.
Humboldt County Fair – main parking lot (1250 Fifth St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Carlotta – Friday, Aug. 20, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Cuddeback Elementary (300 Wilder Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

McKinleyville – Saturday, Aug. 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Church of the Joyful Healer (1944 Central Ave.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Ferndale – Saturday, Aug. 21, from noon to 5 p.m.
Humboldt County Fair – main parking lot (1250 Fifth St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Sunday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Carlson Park (Mad River Pkwy. E) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Ferndale – Sunday, Aug. 22, from noon to 5 p.m.
Humboldt County Fair – main parking lot (1250 Fifth St.) 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.

On Friday, 134 residents were vaccinated at clinics hosted by Six Rivers Brewery and the McKinleyville Ace Home and Garden Center, the JIC reports.

As of today, Humboldt County had confirmed 6,288 cases, with 292 hospitalizations and 59 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.

The county dashboard listed 5,060 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 37 million cases have been confirmed with 621,344 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4 million cases and 64,291 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 county's Joint Information Center release below:
August 18, 2021 - 36 New Cases Reported Today
Thirty-six new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Humboldt County today. The total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus now stands at 6,288. Three new hospitalizations were also reported, including two people in their 60s and one person in their 80s.

Given the surge in local cases, many residents are using at-home rapid antigen tests to screen for COVID-19. Unlike PCR tests, rapid antigen tests require a higher level of virus in the sample before the test will turn positive, meaning false-positive results are unlikely. As a result, local health officials have advised that a positive rapid test result does not require confirmatory PCR testing unless required for documentation purposes at work, school or if directed by a medical professional.

Instead, the infected individual is advised to isolate for at least 10 days from the date of the positive tests, even if they do not have symptoms. Symptomatic individuals should isolate for at least 10 days from the day the symptoms began. They may be released from isolation after 10 days as long as symptoms have improved and 24 hours have passed without fever.

Anyone with a positive test should also notify their close contacts of exposure. Unvaccinated close contacts should quarantine for 10 days, and fully vaccinated close contacts do not need to quarantine but should test 3-5 days after the exposure.

Vaccine remains broadly available at this time and is the most effective way to prevent COVID-19. While breakthrough cases do occur, all available vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from the virus. Vaccine is available at Public Health clinics located throughout the county, and walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment in advance, go to MyTurn.ca.gov.

See the schedule of upcoming Public Health clinics below:

Orick – Thursday, Aug. 19, from noon to 2 p.m.
Orick Elementary School (120918 Hwy. 101)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Ferndale – Thursday, Aug. 19, from noon to 3 p.m.
Humboldt County Fair – main parking lot (1250 Fifth St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Trinidad – Thursday, Aug. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Elementary School (300 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Ferndale – Friday, Aug. 20, from noon to 3 p.m.
Humboldt County Fair – main parking lot (1250 Fifth St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Carlotta – Friday, Aug. 20, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Cuddeback Elementary (300 Wilder Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

McKinleyville – Saturday, Aug. 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Church of the Joyful Healer (1944 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Ferndale – Saturday, Aug. 21, from noon to 5 p.m.
Humboldt County Fair – main parking lot (1250 Fifth St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Arcata – Sunday, Aug. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Carlson Park (Mad River Pkwy. E)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Ferndale – Sunday, Aug. 22, from noon to 5 p.m.
Humboldt County Fair – main parking lot (1250 Fifth St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson

Most local pharmacies also offer COVID-19 vaccines, and many allow walk-ins. Visit vaccines.gov to check availability, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to find a participating pharmacy nearby.

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.

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
###


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

About The Author

Thadeus Greenson

Bio:
Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

Care2 Take Action?

socialize

Facebook | Twitter

© 2021 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation