Monday, September 27, 2021

Public Health Reports Another COVID-19 Death, Four New Hospitalizations

Posted By on Mon, Sep 27, 2021 at 4:26 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 reported today that it has confirmed 63 new COVID-19 cases since Friday, with four new hospitalization and another COVID-19 death, the county's 94th.

The resident who died was in their 50s, according to Public Health, with one resident each in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s accounting for the new hospitalizations.

A state database shows 27 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with seven under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients, then steadily declined over the next couple weeks before creeping back up over the past week.

"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 Friday press release stated.

Today's cases — which come after 259 were confirmed last week — were reported after laboratories processed 668 samples with a test-positivity rate of 9.4 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 27 days of September, it sits at 15.3 percent, far outpacing state (3.1 percent) and national (8.1 percent) rates.

Humboldt County's seven-day average daily rates of new cases per 100,000 residents (24.7) and deaths per 100,000 (1) also far outpace those of the states, which is averaging 17.3 new cases and 0.2 deaths daily per 100,000 in population.

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 Friday 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. Further, the county reported Friday that of the 12 local residents who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 over the prior seven days, 11 were unvaccinated.

click to enlarge document_2_.jpeg

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.

Friday, the CDC 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.

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.

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

Garberville — Friday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Garberville Farmers’ Market (Garberville Town Square.) 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 8,415, with 384 hospitalizations and 94 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 27 days of September, it sits at 15.3 percent.

Nationwide, more than 42.8 million cases have been confirmed with 686,639 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.4 million cases and 68,362 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. 27, 2021 - 1 Death, 4 Hospitalizations, 63 New Cases Reported Since Friday
A Humboldt County resident in their 50s has died from COVID-19, marking the 94th death in the county. Department Operations Center staff share their condolences with the family, friends and caregivers of those who have died.

Four hospitalizations have also been reported since Friday, including a person in their 20s, one in their 30s, one in their 40s and one in their 50s. Sixty-three new cases of COVID-19 have been reported, bringing to 8,415 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus.

Executives at Pfizer said the company will seek emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, indicating they will submit data and a formal request for authorization to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the coming days. While FDA officials have not provided a specific timeframe, the agency took a little more than a month to review the data before authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year olds earlier this year. An estimated 9,724 Humboldt County residents are children ages 5 to 11. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

No cost testing for COVID-19 is available seven days a week in Eureka at the Wharfinger Building and at mobile testing sites operated by OptumServe throughout the county Monday through Friday. Walk-ins are welcome, but preregistration is recommended.

For questions about testing, or to make an appointment, visit lhi.care/covidtesting or phone 888-634-1123. Turnaround times for test results through OptumServe average 48 to 72 hours. Delays have been reported recently. Anyone who hasn’t received their results from OptumServe should call them at 888-634-1123. Public Health does not have access to OptumServe test results.

Appointments for Public Health vaccination clinics 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:

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

Garberville — Friday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Garberville Farmers’ Market (Garberville Town Square.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Check availability of a specific vaccine at vaccines.gov, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a pharmacy offering vaccines nearby.

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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