Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Public Health Confirms One COVID-19 Death, One Hospitalization, 23 New Cases

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2021 at 4:14 PM

Humboldt County Public Health today confirmed one new COVID-19 death in a resident in their 80s, one hospitalization of a resident in their 60s and 23 new cases.

Today's death brings the county's cumulative total to 108 after Public Health removed two deaths from the count yesterday as one was determined not to be COVID-related and the other was from outside the county's jurisdiction. Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,136 with 416 hospitalizations.

The new cases — which make 121 confirmed so far this week — come after laboratories processed 268 samples with a test-positivity rate of 10.30 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 shows 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.

Yesterday, 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 that 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.

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.

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.

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

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 27, 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

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.

Unvaccinated residents 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 (1 Marina Way, Eureka) and at mobile sites throughout the county most weekdays. For more information about testing, go to humboldtgov.org/covidtestregistration.

Humboldt County Public Health recommends residents report positive test results from at-home COVID-19 tests so that transmission of the virus in the community can be better identified and people can be connected with resources.

Those who require documentation of test results for employment or travel may get PCR testing through Public Health or their health care providers. For more information on PCR testing, visit the Humboldt County Home-Testing FAQ, or call the Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000.

Public Health will offer PCR testing at the Fortuna River Lodge 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.

Nationwide, more than 44.9 million cases have been confirmed with 728,125 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.5 million cases and 70,593 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. 20, 2021 - 1 Death, 1 Hospitalization, 23 New Cases Reported Today

Humboldt County Public Health reported today the death of a resident age 80 or older from COVID-19. Staff in the Department Operations Center extend their condolences to the person’s family, friends and caregivers.

The hospitalization of a resident in their 60s was also reported, as well as 23 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 9,136 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus in the county.

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.

With the increasing availability of at-home tests for COVID-19, Humboldt County Public Health recommends residents to report positive test results so that transmission of the virus in the community can be better identified and people can be connected with needed resources.

Those with a positive at-home test for COVID-19 should isolate and notify their close contacts to limit the spread of disease. Positive at-home test results should be reported to a health care provider or to Public Health if there is no provider.

Individuals who require documentation of test results for employment or travel may get PCR testing through Public Health or their health care providers. PCR follow-up testing for an at-home rapid test is most accurate 24 to 48 hours after an initial at-home positive test. For more information, visit the Humboldt County Home-Testing FAQ, or call the Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000.

Public Health will offer PCR testing at the Fortuna River Lodge 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.

In a White House press briefing today, officials discussed a plan to “ensure that vaccines for kids ages 5 through 11 are available, easy and convenient.” The plan includes administering vaccines through trusted providers such as pediatricians, family doctors, primary care providers and rural health centers.

Pediatric doses of the vaccine are expected to be 10 micrograms, a third of the size of the dose authorized for those ages 12 and older, and administered using smaller needles, according to Pfizer’s recent application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization.

The county’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. Residents who receive their first or second dose of vaccine 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.

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:

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

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 27, 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 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.

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Iridian Casarez

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Iridian Casarez is a staff writer at the North Coast Journal.

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