Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Public Health Reports Four New COVID Hospitalizations, 40 New Cases

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 3:59 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 40 new COVID-19 cases this afternoon — making 149 so far this week — as well as four new hospitalizations.

Public Health also reported today that over the course of the last seven days, the ranks of Humboldt County's fully vaccinated population have grown by 909 people.

A state database shows 28 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with four 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 401 samples with a test-positivity rate of 10 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 29 days of September, it sits at 15.1 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 (22.4) and deaths per 100,000 (0.85) also far outpace those of the state, which is averaging 16.4 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 a recent even-day period, only one was vaccinated, according to Public Health.

According to the county's dashboard, 56 percent of the local population is now fully vaccinated, including nearly 65 percent of those 12 and older. Nearly 72 percent of the eligible population has now received at least one vaccine dose, according to Public Health.

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. (Read more about booster doses 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.

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

Arcata — Saturday, Oct. 2, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata Farmers’ Market (Arcata Plaza/808 G St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Monday, Oct. 4, 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, Oct. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health (77 Walnut Way) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health (727 Cedar 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 8,501, with 390 hospitalizations and 97 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 29 days of September, it sits at 15.1 percent.

Nationwide, more than 43.1 million cases have been confirmed with 691,517 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.4 million cases and 68,517 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. 29, 2021 - 4 Hospitalizations, 40 New Cases Reported
Four hospitalizations have been reported in Humboldt County today, including a person in their 40s, one in their 60s and two over the age of 80. No deaths were reported. Forty new cases of COVID-19 were also reported, bringing the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus to 8,501.

As of Tuesday, Humboldt County Public Health and other local vaccinators have administered a total of 153,957 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Since the last weekly report on Sept. 22, an additional 909 residents have been fully vaccinated, bringing the number of fully vaccinated residents to 76,730, or slightly more than 56% of the county’s total population and nearly 65% of the vaccine-eligible population age 12 and older. Nearly 72% of the vaccine-eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Yesterday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) extended the vaccination mandate for health care workers to include those who work in adult and senior care facilities, regional centers, hospice, in-home direct-care settings and in-home supportive services. CDPH designates these settings as high risk because COVID-19 transmission and outbreaks can have severe consequences for vulnerable populations. Workers have until Nov. 30 to complete their vaccination series. To read the health order, visit cdph.ca.gov.

Monoclonal antibody therapy is now available locally at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka for treatment of mild or moderate COVID-19 in adults who are at high risk of disease progression. The treatment involves infusion of the drugs casirivimab and imdevimab, also known as Regeneron or Regen-COV. Residents may contact their health care providers for information or reach out to Providence St. Joseph Hospital at 707-445-8121.

To limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community, public health officials continue to urge residents, particularly unvaccinated individuals, to get tested if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

No-cost testing for COVID-19 is available through OptumServe seven days a week in Eureka at the Wharfinger Building and at mobile testing sites throughout the county Monday through Friday. Walk-ins are welcome, but preregistration is recommended. For information or to make an appointment, visit lhi.care/covidtesting or call 888-634-1123. OptumServe reports that recent delays on test results have been resolved and estimates current turnaround time at two to three days.

Rapid testing and PCR testing are available at Public Health mobile vaccine clinics, where residents have the option of getting tested, vaccinated or both. Combo clinics will be held this week in McKinleyville, Trinidad, Garberville and Arcata. As always, testing and vaccination services are free of charge.

Appointments for Public Health vaccination clinics are not required but are strongly recommended due to an increase in demand for additional doses and boosters. 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 — 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

Arcata — Saturday, Oct. 2, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata Farmers’ Market (Arcata Plaza/808 G St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Monday, Oct. 4, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Testing NOT available

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (77 Walnut Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health (727 Cedar St.)
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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