Thursday, September 23, 2021

HumCo Records Four More COVID-19 Deaths, 40 New Cases as Hospitalizations Rise

Posted By on Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 4:18 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.

Four more Humboldt County residents have died of COVID-19, Public Health reported today, while also confirming 40 new cases of the virus and four new hospitalizations.

This is the fifth consecutive day Public Health has reported a new COVID-19 death, with 10 local deaths reported over the past seven days and 40 since Aug. 1.

A state database shows 25 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with four under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients before a steadily decline over the next couple weeks. The census is creeping back up, however, as a total of 17 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Monday and there are currently 25.

Today's cases — which make 236 confirmed so far this week — were reported after laboratories processed 377 samples with a test-positivity rate of 10.6 percent. 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 15.9 percent in August. Through the first 20 days of September, it has jumped to 16.3 percent, far outpacing state (3.1 percent) and national (8.1 percent) rates.

With case rates high locally, Public Health continues to encourage people to get vaccinated, saying "health officials overwhelmingly agree that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent severe outcomes."

According to a county press release yesterday, 56 percent of local residents were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, with 71 percent of residents over the age of 12 having received at least one dose.

Pfizer announced Monday that trials have shown its COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11 and that the company will seek emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month to make it available to this age group.

Public Health reported Friday that the seven-day average of new cases confirmed per 100,000 residents showed that while fully vaccinated residents accounted for about 11 new cases daily per 100,000 in population, unvaccinated residents accounted for an average of 53 new daily cases per 100,000 residents. Further, Public Health also reported reported Friday that of the the county's then-84 COVID-19 deaths, seven had been fully vaccinated, while 334 of the county's then-368 hospitalizations — 91 percent — had been of unvaccinated residents.

click to enlarge document.jpg

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently published a study indicating unvaccinated individuals are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than their fully vaccinated counterparts.

Earlier this month, Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman announced that, due to staffing limitations, Public Health will shift its resources away from communitywide contact tracing to places with the most vulnerable populations and with greater ability to control the spread of the virus through vaccination, masking, distancing and ventilation, including schools, long-term care facilities, shelters and other congregate living settings.

National, state and local health officials advise that vaccination remains 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.

Arcata — Thursday, Sept. 23, 4 to 6 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
PCR and rapid testing available

Arcata — Friday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m. to noon
D Street Neighborhood Center (1301 D St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Sept. 24, 1 to 4 p.m.
Transition-Age Youth Division (433 M St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Arcata — Saturday, Sept. 25, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Church of the Joyful Healer (1944 Central Ave.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Arcata — Saturday, Sept. 25, noon to 2 p.m.
Carlson Park (5201 Carlson Park Drive) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Redway — Sunday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 West Coast Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Monday, Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health (529 I St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Testing NOT available

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Public Health (77 Walnut Way) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Garberville — Wednesday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Public Health (727 Cedar St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

McKinleyville — Thursday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dollar General (1180 Murray Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Trinidad — Thursday, Sept. 30, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

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.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 8,329, with 378 hospitalizations and 93 COVID-19 related deaths.

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 before jumping to 15.9 percent in August. Through the first 23 days of September, it sits at 16.3 percent.

Nationwide, more than 42.5 million cases have been confirmed with 680,688 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.4 million cases and 67,928 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's report below.
Sept. 23, 2021 - 4 Deaths, 4 Hospitalizations, 40 New Cases Reported
Four Humboldt County residents have died from COVID-19, including a person in their 50s, two in their 60s and one over the age of 80. Department Operations Center staff share their sympathies with the family, friends and caregivers of those who have died.

Four hospitalizations have also been reported, including three people in their 60s and one in their 70s. Forty new cases of COVID-19 have been reported, bringing to 8,329 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus.

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shot for people 65 and older and other vulnerable residents six months after completing their first two doses, but excluded those at risk because of their jobs. Additional reviews are pending.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials reported today that “as part of the long-established, multi-step process CDPH follows for every COVID-19 vaccine related decision, we will take recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup on administrating booster doses before taking action. CDPH is working with local partners and health care providers to ensure California is ready to immediately begin administering booster doses to eligible Californians once these recommendations have been made.”

A news release issued by the Governor’s office this morning said that when final approvals have been received, the MyTurn vaccination scheduling platform will launch a booster eligibility screener and appointment finder so residents can find walk-in opportunities and appointments near them. The site will also text residents when they are eligible for a booster, the news release stated. State preparations are also underway on the vaccine’s supply side to make sure providers can meet the demand for additional doses.

The CDC continues to recommend avoiding large events and gatherings in areas of high COVID-19 transmission, which includes Humboldt County. Public Health officials encourage organizers to consider postponing or canceling local events at this time.

For those who choose to hold a gathering or event, CDC offers guidance to help prevent the spread of the virus, and officials strongly recommend the use of as many of these risk reduction measures as possible. Those include masking, physical distancing, enhanced ventilation, modified layouts, handwashing, vaccination verification, pre-entry questionnaires, pre-entry testing, signage and other messaging that clearly instructs attendees on the use of these measures.

CDC says virtual events are the safest alternative to in-person gatherings. The CDC’s guidance on safer events can be read at Activities, Gatherings & Holidays. Local guidance is available in English and Spanish at the county’s COVID FAQ page at humboldtgov.org/COVIDFAQs.

Residents who are unvaccinated, experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus are advised to get tested for COVID-19.

Testing is available at most Public Health vaccine clinics, with options for testing, vaccination or both, and these services are provided free of charge. Combo clinics will be held over the next week in multiple locations from Redway to Trinidad.

COVID-19 testing continues in Eureka from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week at the Wharfinger Building at 1 Marina Way. The test site is operated by OptumServe and located in the Bay Room on the lower floor of the building. The site is closed from 11 a.m. to noon and 4 to 5 p.m. for staff meal breaks. Walk-ins are welcome, but preregistration is recommended. Sign up at lhi.care/covidtesting.

Walk-ins are welcome at most locations, and appointments can be made in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov. For instructions in English and Spanish on how to use My Turn, go to humboldtgov.org/VaccineInfo.

See the schedule below for specific clinic dates, times, locations and available services

Arcata — Friday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m. to noon
D Street Neighborhood Center (1301 D St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Sept. 24, 1 to 4 p.m.
Transition-Age Youth Division (433 M St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

McKinleyville — Saturday, Sept. 25, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Church of the Joyful Healer (1944 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Arcata — Saturday, Sept. 25, noon to 2 p.m.
Carlson Park (5201 Carlson Park Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Redway — Sunday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 West Coast Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Monday, Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Testing NOT available

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Public Health (77 Walnut Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Garberville — Wednesday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Public Health (727 Cedar St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

McKinleyville — Thursday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dollar General (1180 Murray Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Trinidad — Thursday, Sept. 30, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

COVID-19 vaccination is also available at local pharmacies. To check availability of a specific vaccine, visit vaccines.gov, or text your ZIP code to 438829 to locate a pharmacy offering vaccines nearby. Most pharmacies allow walk-ins.

Pfizer is authorized for those 12 and older, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older. County residents age 16 and 17 can receive a vaccination at Public Health clinics without a parent or guardian physically present as long as they have a signed consent form. Children under 16 still must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.

View the Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download data from a previous time.

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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