Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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

Posted By on Tue, Oct 19, 2021 at 3:29 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.

Another Humboldt County resident has died of COVID-19, Public Health reported today, while confirming 42 new cases of the virus and five new hospitalizations, including one of a child under the age of 10.

The death — the county's 107th due to the disease since the pandemic's start, after Public Health today removed two previously reported deaths from the county's tally, as one was determined not to be COVID-related and the other from outside the county's jurisdiction — was of a resident in their 60s.

The new cases — which make 98 confirmed so far this week — come after laboratories processed 196 samples with a test-positivity rate of 21.4 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. Through the first 18 days in October, it sits at 13 percent, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.7 percent).

A state database show 21 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with five under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

Earlier today, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors received a written report from Health Officer Ian Hoffman, who relayed that while the county continues to see breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated people, unvaccinated residents are accounting for a disproportionate number of hospitalizations and deaths. Specifically, Hoffman noted that 80 percent of the county's 224 hospitalizations and 75 percent of deaths recorded since June have been unvaccinated residents, despite the demographic now making up a minority of county residents.

Hoffman added the during the current case surge fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, the average age of those hospitalized with the disease has been 57 years old for unvaccinated individuals but 75 for those who are fully vaccinated.

"This is also true of deaths based on vaccination status (66 years of age for unvaccinated deaths, 79 years of age average for post-vaccine infection deaths)," Hoffman wrote.
click to enlarge A screenshot of a graph in Health Officer Ian Hoffman's report to the board of supervisors.
  • A screenshot of a graph in Health Officer Ian Hoffman's report to the board of supervisors.
According to the county's dashboard, 58 percent of the local population is now fully vaccinated, with nearly 72 percent of those 12 and older having received at least one dose. 
Public Health reported Friday that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 19.9, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, just under 20 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days, adding that the current seven-day average case rate for vaccinated individuals is 8 per 100,000 residents, while the case rate for unvaccinated residents is more than four times higher at 34 per 100,000.

click to enlarge unvaccinated_v_vaccinated_graph_covid_results.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.

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.

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 19, 3 to 5 p.m.

Public Health Office (77 Walnut Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (727 Cedar St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Orick — Thursday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Orick Elementary School (120918 US-101) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Trinidad — Thursday, Oct. 21, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 4 pm.
Veterans Hall (1018 H St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

McKinleyville — Saturday, Oct. 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
McKinleyville High School (1300 Murray Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Rio Dell — Sunday, Oct. 24, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dollar General (44 W. Davis St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Fortuna — Sunday, Oct. 24, 3 to 5 p.m.
Veterans Hall (1426 Main St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Monday, Oct. 25, 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
No testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 26, 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
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,113 with 415 hospitalizations and 107 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 44.9 million cases have been confirmed with 726,206 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.5 million cases and 70,437 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. 19, 2021 - 1 Death, 5 Hospitalizations, 42 New Cases Reported Today
Humboldt County Public Health reported today the death of a resident in their 60s from COVID-19. Staff in the Department Operations Center extend their condolences to the family, friends and caregivers of those who died.

Five hospitalizations were also reported, including a child under the age of 10, a person in their 30s, one in their 60s, one in their 70s and another age 80 or older. An additional 42 new cases of COVID-19 were reported today, bringing to 9,113 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus.

Two previously reported deaths have been removed from the count as one was determined not to be related to COVID and the other was from outside the county’s jurisdiction.

The county remains designated as an area of high transmission for the virus. Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman reported to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that increasing vaccination in the community is the best tool to end the pandemic.

Hoffman also noted that about 6% of the county’s population is still only partially vaccinated and stressed the importance for those residents to complete their vaccination series.

Residents, particularly those who are unvaccinated, are advised to get tested if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Testing is available through OptumServe seven days a week at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka and at mobile sites throughout the county most weekdays. For more information about testing, go to humboldtgov.org/covidtestregistration.

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, the OptumServe testing site at the Fortuna River Lodge will be closed. Instead, Public Health will offer PCR testing at that site on Friday, Oct. 22, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is required. To sign up, visit the Color test registration page.

Residents who receive their first or second dose at a vaccination clinic located at a Public Health office in Eureka, Willow Creek or Garberville can choose a $25 Renner Petroleum or Coming Attractions Theatres gift card. Incentives are offered on a first-come, first-served basis at those locations only.

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 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:

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (727 Cedar St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Orick — Thursday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Orick Elementary School (120918 US-101)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Trinidad — Thursday, Oct. 21, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Friday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Veterans Hall (1018 H St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

McKinleyville — Saturday, Oct. 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
McKinleyville High School (1300 Murray Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Rio Dell — Sunday, Oct. 24, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dollar General (44 W. Davis St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Fortuna — Sunday, Oct. 24, 3 to 5 p.m.
Veterans Hall (1426 Main St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Eureka — Monday, Oct. 25, 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
No testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 26, 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
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

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 a Public Health clinic 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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