Friday, October 8, 2021

Public Health Reports Four More COVID-19 Deaths

Posted By on Fri, Oct 8, 2021 at 4:56 PM

click to enlarge PUBLIC HEALTH
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Humboldt County Public Health reported four more COVID-19 deaths today, making eight this week, as well as 35 new cases of the virus and two new hospitalizations.

The deaths were of two residents in their 60s, one in their 70s and one over the age of 80, bringing the county's cumulative pandemic death toll to 106. Public Health reported today that of the eight deaths reported over the past week, five were of people who had been fully vaccinated. The average age of post-vaccinated fatalities is 79, the county reported, while it is 65 for unvaccinated individuals.

The new cases — which come on the heels of 243 confirmed last week and make 236 this week — come after laboratories processed 238 samples with a test-positivity rate of 14.7 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 (2.5 percent) and national (6.3 percent) rates. Through the first seven days of October, Humboldt's test-positivity rate sits at 14.5 percent.

A state database shows 19 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with four under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

Public Health offered new data Friday 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 previous week were in fully vaccinated people.

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 42 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.

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.

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

McKinleyville — Sunday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
McKinleyville High School (1300 Murray Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 12, 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. 13, 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

Arcata — Thursday, Oct. 14, 4 to 6 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Oct. 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way) 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 8,833, with 405 hospitalizations and 106 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 44.1 million cases have been confirmed with 708,784 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.5 million cases and 69,507 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. 8, 2021 - 4 Deaths, 2 Hospitalizations, 35 New Cases Reported
The deaths of four Humboldt County residents due to COVID-19 were reported today, including two in their 60s, one in their 70s and one over the age of 80. The staff of the Department Operations Center shares their sympathies with the family, friends and caregivers of those who have died.

Thirty-five new cases have also been reported in the county, bringing to 8,833 the total number of county residents who have tested positive for the virus. Two hospitalizations were also reported, including one person in their 60s and one person over the age of 80.

Since the last weekly data update on Oct. 1, the county has recorded 238 new cases. Eight deaths have been reported during that same period, including five who were fully vaccinated. The average age of post-vaccinated fatalities is 79, while the average age of those who died and were unvaccinated is 65.

Of the 11 hospitalizations reported over the last week, three were fully vaccinated, seven were unvaccinated and one is under investigation. Age ranges of reported hospitalizations are as follows:

1 person in their 40s
3 people in their 50s
5 people in their 60s
1 person in their 70s
1 person over the age of 80.
The seven-day average case rate in Humboldt County is currently 22, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, about 22 people have tested positive daily over the last seven days, though that rate varies considerably depending on vaccination status. The graph below depicts average weekly case rates in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated local residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph.

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As the graph illustrates, the seven-day average case rate has risen in unvaccinated residents for the first time in five weeks to 42 per 100,000 residents, up from the previous week’s rate of 35 per 100,000 residents. The seven-day average case rate for vaccinated residents declined further from its peak rate of 29 per 100,000 in early August to 8 per 100,000 residents. Rates for both groups remain higher than the winter and spring surges.

While some people who are fully vaccinated will become infected with the virus, health officials widely agree that vaccination is the best way to prevent severe outcomes. Immunocompromised individuals may need an additional dose to generate a sufficient immune response. Officials urge those who are immunocompromised to talk to their primary care provider about whether an additional dose is right for them. As always, the county’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge.

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

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

McKinleyville — Sunday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
McKinleyville High School (1300 Murray Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 12, 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. 13, 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

Arcata — Thursday, Oct. 14, 4 to 6 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Oct. 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

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

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.

Residents, particularly unvaccinated individuals, are urged 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 is available through OptumServe seven days a week at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka. Mobile testing sites are scheduled throughout the county most weekdays. View the schedule and learn how to make an appointment at humboldtgov.org/covidtestregistration.

On Monday, Oct. 11, the OptumServe testing site at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka will be closed in observance of Columbus Day. However, the local Public Health testing team will offer PCR testing on that date at the Azalea Hall in McKinleyville from 9 a.m. noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Visit home.color.com/covid/sign-up/start?partner=cdph1060 to sign up. The Joint Information Center will be open and available to answer non-emergency calls related to COVID-19 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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 is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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