Friday, October 1, 2021

Public Health Confirms 40 New COVID-19 Cases, Two New Hospitalizations

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 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 40 new COVID-19 cases today — making 243 this week — as well as two new hospitalizations.

Public Health also offered new data on so-called breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated individuals, noting that one of the five deaths and two of the 14 hospitalizations recorded over the past week were in fully vaccinated people.

A state database shows 26 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.

In today's press release, the county notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued ah health advisory yesterday strongly urging pregnant women to get vaccinated due to an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

"Of the more than 125,000 cases reported in pregnant people in the U.S., more than 22,000 were hospitalized and 161 have died," the press release states. "In the month of August alone, 22 COVID-related deaths of pregnant people were recorded, the highest number in a single month since the pandemic began.  COVID-19 infection also increases the risk of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. As of mid-Sept, only 31 percent of pregnant people were fully vaccinated before or during their pregnancy."

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 351 samples with a test-positivity rate of 11.4 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 and 15.2 percent in September, far outpacing state (3.1 percent) and national (8.1 percent) rates.

Due to the high rates of local transmission, Health Officer Ian Hoffman today issued a statement recommending physical distancing in all public meetings and urging virtual alternatives, where possible.
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 today that the seven-day average of new cases confirmed per 100,000 residents showed that while fully vaccinated residents accounted for about eight new cases daily per 100,000 in population, unvaccinated residents accounted for an average of 34 new daily cases per 100,000 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.

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.

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

Eureka — Thursday, Oct. 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
College of the Redwoods main parking lot (7351 Tompkins Hill Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Thursday, Oct. 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
College of the Redwoods main parking lot (7351 Tompkins Hill Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Agricultural Building (5630 S. Broadway St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Hoopa — Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hoopa High School (101 Loop Road) 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 8,595, with 394 hospitalizations and 98 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 and 15.2 percent in September.

Nationwide, more than 43.4 million cases have been confirmed with 696,603 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.4 million cases and 68,796 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.
Oct. 1, 2021 - 2 Hospitalizations, 40 Cases Reported Today
Forty additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in Humboldt County today, bringing to 8,595 the total number of county residents who have tested positive. Two new hospitalizations were also reported, including one person in their 30s and one person in their 70s.

Since the last weekly data update on Sept. 24, the county has recorded 243 new cases. Five deaths have been reported in that time, including one death of a fully vaccinated individual.

Of the 14 hospitalizations reported over the last seven days, one was fully vaccinated, 12 were unvaccinated and one is under investigation. Age ranges of reported hospitalizations are as follows:

1 person in their 20s
3 people in their 30s
2 people in their 40s
1 person in their 50s
2 people in their 60s
2 people in their 70s
3 people over the age of 80.
The graph below depicts average weekly case rates in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated local residents.

click to enlarge document.jpg

As the graph illustrates, case numbers continue to decline in both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents, though the case rates for both groups remain high. The seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals is 8 per 100,000 residents, while the rate for unvaccinated people is 34 per 100,000. See the case rate graph for a more detailed depiction. While case rates have decreased significantly from their peak, hospitalizations continue to be at the highest rates they have been, double what they were in the winter and spring.

Public Health officials encourage community members to continue to mask and follow other precautions that are proven to reduce transmission, including testing for the virus.

Residents experiencing symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested. No-cost testing is available through OptumServe seven days a week at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka and at mobile testing sites throughout the county each weekday. To make an appointment, visit lhi.care/covidtesting or call 888-634-1123. Both rapid and PCR tests are available at Public Health mobile vaccination clinics, where residents have the option of getting tested, vaccinated or both. As always, testing and vaccination services are provided free of charge.

Due to an increase in demand for additional doses and boosters, appointments at Public Health vaccination clinics are strongly recommended but not required. 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:

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

Eureka — Thursday, Oct. 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
College of the Redwoods main parking lot (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Agricultural Building (5630 S. Broadway St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Hoopa — Saturday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hoopa High School (101 Loop Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

To check availability of a specific vaccine at a local pharmacy, visit vaccines.gov or text a ZIP code to 438829.

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.

In other vaccine news, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today plans to require all K-12 students be vaccinated against COVID-19 once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approves the vaccine for children.

The state will require students to be vaccinated for in-person learning by the beginning of the first school term after the vaccine is approved for their age group. In an announcement today, the governor’s office said the requirement will be implemented in two phases based on grade level, first in grades 7-12 followed by grades K-6. The state anticipates the requirement would apply to the first group starting in July 2022 based on current projections but could be implemented as soon as January 2022 if the FDA grants full approval sooner.

The state will also put in place a requirement for staff to be vaccinated with the first group and will no longer allow the option of regular testing. For more information, read the news release from the governor’s office at gov.ca.gov/2021/10/01/california-becomes-first-state-in-nation-to-announce-covid-19-vaccine-requirements-for-schools/.

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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