Friday, November 19, 2021

Public Health Confirms 39 New COVID-19 Cases, Health Officer's Return Expected Next Week

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2021 at 3:44 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 confirmed 39 new COVID-19 cases today — making 183 this week — with no new hospitalizations reported.

Today's cases — which come on the heels of 204 confirmed last week — come after laboratories processed 349 samples with a test-positivity rate of 11.2 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. In October, it dipped to 12.1 percent and, through the first 19 days of the month, it sits at 14.3 percent in November, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.4 percent).

Public Health Director Sofia Pereira reported yesterday that Health Officer Ian Hoffman was away from his position on family leave, and county spokesperson Christine Messinger later told the Journal that Kate Estlin, a local family physician with a practice in Fortuna who also works as a hospitalist at Redwood Memorial and St. Joseph hospitals, had stepped in to serve as health officer in Hoffman’s absence. Today, Messinger clarified that Hoffman's leave officially began Nov. 15 and that he's expected to return part-time next week, and remain in that capacity for "the next few weeks" before returning to his full-time role.

"Dr. Estlin will continue to back him up as needed," Messinger wrote in an email to the Journal.

Public Health reported yesterday that the state has now simplified its booster guidance, and is now recommending that all fully vaccinated residents receive a booster as soon as they're eligible to do so.

A state database show 10 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with four under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5 to 11 years old and local pharmacies and pediatricians have begun making appointments, while Public Health announced it will hold several pediatric and family vaccination clinics — with the first pediatric clinic scheduled tomorrow in Eureka — for children ages 5 to 11. Appointments will be required and can be made on the state’s www.MyTurn.ca.gov vaccination portal. Boosters will not be available at these clinics.

Public Health reported today that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 15.8, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 15.8 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days. But the case rate varies by vaccination status.

click to enlarge screen_shot_2021-11-19_at_3.42.18_pm.png

The current seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals is nine per 100,000 residents per day, while the average daily case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 16 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph here.

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 Family Clinic — Friday, Nov. 19, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Arcata Family Clinic – Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Redway – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 W Coast Rd.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Miranda Family Clinic – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 22, 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
Appointment required. No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11. Pfizer only.
Appointment required. No testing available.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,836 with 441 hospitalizations and 117 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 47.3 million cases have been confirmed with 764,473 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.7 million cases and 73,000 related deaths have been confirmed in California, according to the Department of Public Health.

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 before dipping to 12.3 percent last month.

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.

Nov. 19, 2021 - 39 New Cases Reported
Humboldt County Public Health reported today 39 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 9,836 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. No deaths or hospitalizations were reported.

Public Health officials are continuing to urge all eligible Californians aged 5 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and for partially vaccinated individuals to complete their vaccination series. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an unvaccinated person is 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than a vaccinated person.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) simplified its booster guidance and is encouraging all vaccinated residents to receive a booster as soon as they're eligible.

All adults aged 18 and older can make appointments on MyTurn.ca.gov to receive a booster dose of their choice — as long as it’s been at least six months since their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months since their Johnson & Johnson shot.

Since the last weekly data update on Nov. 12, the county has recorded 183 new cases of COVID-19. No deaths were reported during that period. All three of the hospitalizations reported over the last week were unvaccinated residents. Age ranges of reported hospitalizations are as follows:

1 person in their 30s
1 person in their 60s
1 person in their 70s

The seven-day average case rate in Humboldt County is currently 15.8, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 15.8 tested positive daily over the last seven days. Case rates vary considerably by vaccination status, as illustrated by the graph below, which depicts average weekly case rates since Dec. 2020 in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated residents.

click to enlarge screen_shot_2021-11-19_at_3.42.18_pm.png

The current seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals is 9 per 100,000 residents while the case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 16 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph.

Humboldt County’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. Although walk-ins are allowed at most regular Public Health clinics and many pharmacy vaccination sites, a sharp increase in demand for boosters has caused delays at some locations. As a result, appointments are required for pediatric clinics and for clinics at Public Health’s main office. Appointments are strongly recommended for all other clinics and are the best way to ensure a shot is available during your visit. Appointments can be made at MyTurn.ca.gov.

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

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

Arcata Family Clinic – Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Redway – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 W Coast Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Miranda Family Clinic – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 22, 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
Appointment required. No testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose.
Appointments required.

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11. Pfizer only.
Appointment required. No testing available.

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 1-707-441-5000.

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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