Monday, October 25, 2021

Public Health Confirms 51 New COVID-19 Cases, One Hospitalization

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2021 at 4:28 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 reported today that it has confirmed 51 new COVID-19 cases and one new hospitalization since its last report Friday.

The case tally — which comes after the county saw 164 new cases of the virus confirmed last week — comes after laboratories processed 466 samples with a test-positivity rate of 10.9 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 21 days in October, it sits at 12.2 percent, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.7 percent).

A state database show 14 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 also reported today that it is urging all eligible residents to get COVID-19 booster shots after federal regulators accepted recommendations last week to expand booster options to Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

"Vaccines are how we end this pandemic," said California Public Health Officer Tomás Aragón, adding that "boosters will play a critical role moving forward."

Boosters, which are now being offered at all local clinics.

Moderna boosters can be administered to those 65 years and older, those residing in long-term care facilities, people 50 and older with underlying medical conditions putting at them of increased risk and those at increased risk of exposure and transmission due to high-risk work setting, who received their initial vaccination six months or more ago. All residents age 18 and older who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can receive a booster dose if at has been at least two months since their initial dose.

Public Health reported last week that 1,057 vaccine doses had been administered over the prior seven days, with 686 people having newly completed their vaccine series to become fully vaccinated. Roughly two-thirds of the county's vaccine-eligible population is now fully vaccinated.

Public Health reported Friday that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 15, meaning that for every 100,000 residents,15 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 eight per 100,000 residents, while the case rate for unvaccinated residents is more than two-and-a-half times higher at 21 per 100,000.

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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.

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. 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

Arcata — Thursday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Arcata Veterans Building (1425 J St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Petrolia — Friday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Mattole Resource Center (167 Sherman St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Honeydew — Friday, Oct. 29, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

McKinleyville — Saturday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Church of the Joyful Healer (1944 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,230 with 421 hospitalizations and 109 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 45.3 million cases have been confirmed with 734,752 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.6 million cases and 70,884 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. 25, 2021 - 1 Hospitalization, 51 New Cases Reported Since Friday
Humboldt County Public Health reported today the hospitalization of a resident aged 80 or older due to COVID-19. An additional 51 new cases were reported since Friday, bringing to 9,230 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is urging all eligible residents to get a COVID-19 booster shot of the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine following the move by federal regulators to accept recommendations to expand booster options last week.

"Vaccines are how we end this pandemic,” said California Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón, adding that, “boosters will play a critical role moving forward.”

According to the CDPH guidance, Moderna boosters can be administered to eligible individuals if it has been at least six months since the second dose. People who are at increased risk for hospitalization and severe COVID-19 disease should get a booster, including:

People aged 65 years and older
People aged 18 years and older residing in a long-term care facility
People aged 50 through 64 years with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities.
Eligible individuals who may receive the Moderna booster include:

People aged 18 through 49 years with underlying medical conditions
People at increased risk of social inequities
People aged 18 through 64 years who are at risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting.
Residents who are aged 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should receive a booster dose if it has been at least two months since their initial dose.

The “mixing and matching” of vaccine types, allowing anyone eligible for a booster dose to receive a brand different from the one they received initially, was also recently approved. For more information about the state’s booster recommendations and guidance, read the COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Questions & Answers page.

Boosters are being offered at all Public Health vaccination clinics. Appointments 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.

Vaccines are widely available at local pharmacies. To check the availability of a specific vaccine or booster, visit the vaccines.gov page, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a nearby pharmacy offering vaccines.

Over the weekend, 284 vaccine doses were administered by Public Health at mobile vaccination clinics held in McKinleyville, Fortuna and Rio Dell. Health officials continue to urge anyone in the community who is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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 Tuesdays, OptumServe will offer mobile testing on an alternating basis in Trinidad and Garberville. On Oct. 26 it will be held at the Trinidad City Hall testing site located at 409 Trinity St. and runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The site will be closed from 11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m. OptumServe’s mobile testing site in Garberville will be held the same hours on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Jerold Phelps Hospital at 733 Cedar St.

Due to the increasing use of at-home tests for COVID-19, Public Health recommends residents report positive test results so 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. False positive test results are unlikely when an antigen test is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, according to the CDC’s antigen testing guidance page. Public Health officials stress that 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.

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.

See the schedule below for specific vaccination and testing clinic dates, times, locations and available services:

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

Arcata — Thursday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Arcata Veterans Building (1425 J St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Petrolia — Friday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Mattole Resource Center (167 Sherman St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Honeydew — Friday, Oct. 29, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

McKinleyville — Saturday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Church of the Joyful Healer (1944 Central Ave.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

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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