Friday, October 29, 2021

HumCo Records Two More COVID-19 Deaths

Posted By on Fri, Oct 29, 2021 at 4:26 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.

Two more Humboldt County residents have died of COVID-19, Public Health reported today, while confirming 28 new cases of the virus. No new hospitalizations were reported.

The new cases were reported after laboratories processed 331 samples with a test-positivity rate of 8.5 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 29 days in October, it sits at 12.1 percent, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.7 percent).

With Halloween this weekend, and Humboldt County continuing to be designated an area of high transmission by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, officials are urging folks to be mindful of health and safety protocols while celebrating. Trick or treating in small groups and other outdoor activities are preferable to indoor activities like parties or haunted houses, officials say. Masks should be worn when handing out candy to trick or treaters or trick or treating, and officials suggest setting up a table outdoors to hand out candy, while keeping interactions brief.

A state database show 10 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with two under intensive care — the lowest tallies in months. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

As of this week, Public Health reports that 67 percent of the eligible population is now fully vaccinated with about 73 percent having received at least one dose.

Today, that the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5 to 11 years old. A CDC advisory panel is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss that authorization but the California Department of Public Health anticipates rolling out vaccine to this age group as early as next week.

Public Health also reported Monday 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 today that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 11, 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 nine per 100,000 residents, while the case rate for unvaccinated residents is 13 per 100,000.

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.

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.


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

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 1, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Nov. 2, 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, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Office (727 Ceder St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Eureka — Thursday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
College of the Redwoods Gym (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,334 with 423 hospitalizations and 112 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 45.7 million cases have been confirmed with 741,566 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.6 million cases and 71,519 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. 29, 2021 - 2 Deaths, 28 New Cases Reported
Humboldt County Public Health reported today the death of two residents in their 70s from COVID-19. Staff in the Department Operations Center extend their condolences to the families, friends and caregivers.

Twenty-eight new cases were also reported, bringing to 9,334 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus.

With Halloween coming up this weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided tips for enjoying the holiday safely by wearing a mask, celebrating outdoors and avoiding crowds.

Trick-or treating in small groups and other outdoor activities like pumpkin patches and hayrides are preferable to indoor activities such as crowded parties or haunted houses.
Masks should be worn when handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Tables can be set up outdoors to hand out individually wrapped candy. Keep interactions brief, and have hand-sanitizer available.
Humboldt County continues to be designated as an area of high transmission by the CDC, which recommends limiting the number of participants in indoor gatherings, adjusting the indoor layout to allow for physical distancing and to enhance ventilation of indoor spaces.

With the return of fall weather and residents spending more time indoors, Public Health officials remind residents to continue to practice social distancing, to wash hands frequently and to follow local guidance in planning safer gatherings.

To view the holiday and gatherings guidance from the CDC and Humboldt County Public Health, visit the cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/ and Humboldt County guidance for gatherings and events resources.

Since the last weekly data update on Oct. 22, the county has recorded 155 new cases of COVID-19. Three deaths were also reported during that period, including one fully vaccinated person. A total of 112 residents have died from COVID-19 in the county. Of the three hospitalizations reported over the last week, one person was fully vaccinated, and two were unvaccinated. Age ranges of reported hospitalizations are as follows:

1 person in their 30s
1 person in their 60s
1 person aged 80 or older.
The seven-day average case rate in Humboldt County is currently 11, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 11 residents tested positive daily over the last seven days. The average case rates vary considerably depending on vaccination status, as illustrated by the graph below, depicting average weekly case rates since Dec. 2020 in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated residents.

click to enlarge document.jpg


The current seven-day average case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 13 per 100,000 residents, while the case rate for vaccinated residents is 9 per 100,000. The overall case rate has fallen from the peak during the summer and is now lower than peaks during the previous surges. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has recommended that all eligible residents who are at increased risk for hospitalization and severe COVID-19 disease should get a Pfizer or Moderna booster at least six months after their second dose. The CDPH also recommended that adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine get a booster if it has been two months since their first dose.

Boosters are being offered at all Public Health vaccination clinics and eligible people may receive a single dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines as a “mix-and-match” booster following the completion of a different primary vaccine series. For more information about the state’s booster recommendations and guidance, read the COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Questions & Answers page.

Residents who need their first or second dose are also encouraged to schedule an appointment or to walk in. 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.

Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5 to 11 years old, following the recommendation from its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee earlier this week. An advisory panel for the CDC is scheduled to meet Tuesday, Nov. 2, to discuss the FDA’s authorization. CDPH officials said the state anticipates rolling out vaccines to this age group as early as next week once the review process is complete.

Public Health officials are recommending residents, particularly those who are unvaccinated, 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.

Public Health officials stress that residents should report positive at-home test results to a health care provider or to Public Health if there is no provider so transmission of the virus in the community can be better identified.

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.

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. Those 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:

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

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 1, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
$25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Nov. 2, 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, Nov. 3, 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

Eureka — Thursday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
College of the Redwoods Gym (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Blue Lake — Friday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Blue Lake Resource Center (111 Greenwood Road)
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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