Friday, September 24, 2021

Public Health: Of 12 COVID-19 Hospitalizations This Week, 11 Were Unvaccinated

Posted By on Fri, Sep 24, 2021 at 4:23 PM

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Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 23 new COVID-19 cases and two new hospitalizations today but, for the first time in more than a week, did not report a COVID-19 death locally.

A state database shows 24 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with two 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 24.

"The county has seen a slight improvement in the cases and hospitalization rates, but local health officials caution that both metrics are still higher than at any point before August, the deadliest month of the pandemic," a press release states.

Today's cases — which make 259 confirmed so far this week — were reported after laboratories processed 394 samples with a test-positivity rate of 7.4 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 24 days of September, it sits at 15.8 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." Of the 12 people hospitalized over the past week, only one was vaccinated, according to Public Health.

According to the county dashboard, 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.

Public Health reported today that the seven-day average of new cases confirmed per 100,000 residents showed that while fully vaccinated residents accounted for about 10 new cases daily per 100,000 in population, unvaccinated residents accounted for an average of 46 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

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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.

Today, the CDC also recommended Pfizer booster doses for certain at-risk groups, including people 65 and older, others with certain underlying medical conditions and those at "increased risk for COVID-19 exposure" due to their occupational or instructional settings. (Find more info in the press release below.)

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 — 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 42.6 million cases have been confirmed with 682,646 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.4 million cases and 68,087 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. 24, 2021 - CDC, Western States Workgroup Recommend Pfizer Boosters for Targeted Groups
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today recommended Pfizer booster doses for certain at-risk groups, following emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week.

The CDC announced that it will align its guidance for Pfizer boosters with the FDA’s and recommend:

people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster.
people aged 50–64 years with certain underlying medical conditions should receive a booster.
people aged 18–49 years with certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster, based on their individual benefits and risks
people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster, based on their individual benefits and risks.
The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed its review of these recommendations today and signed off on the move.

Individuals are encouraged to speak with their primary care provider to determine if a booster is right for them. Booster doses for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not been approved.

Learn more about CDC’s recommendations at cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0924-booster-recommendations-.html.

23 New Cases Reported; Case, Hospitalization Rates Remain High

Twenty-three new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Humboldt County today, bringing to 8,352 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. Two hospitalizations have also been reported, including a person in their 60s and one over the age of 80.

The county has seen a slight improvement in the case and hospitalization rates, but local health officials caution that both metrics are still higher than at any point before August, the deadliest month of the pandemic.

Since the last weekly data update on Sept. 17, the county has recorded 254 new cases. Nine deaths have been reported during that same period; none of them were fully vaccinated.

Of the twelve hospitalizations reported over the last week, only one represented a post-vaccination infection while 11 had not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Age ranges of reported hospitalizations are as follows:

1 person in their 20s
1 person in their 50s
6 people in their 60s
3 people in their 70s
1 person over the age of 80.
The graph below depicts average weekly case rates in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated local residents.


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The seven-day average case rate is currently 26, meaning that for every 100,000 county residents, about 26 people have tested positive daily over the last seven days, though that rate varies considerably depending on vaccination status.

The seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals is 10 per 100,000 residents. The rate for unvaccinated people is more than four times higher at 46 per 100,000. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph.

COVID-19 vaccine is widely available in Humboldt County in pharmacies, through primary care providers and at Public Health vaccination clinics, most of which also offer rapid and PCR testing for the virus. To check availability of a specific vaccine, visit vaccines.gov, or text your ZIP code to 438829 to locate a pharmacy offering vaccines nearby.

Appointments are not required but are now strongly recommended due to an anticipated increase in demand. Sign up 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:

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

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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