Monday, December 6, 2021

Public Health Confirms 80 New COVID-19 Cases

Posted By on Mon, Dec 6, 2021 at 3:36 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 this afternoon that it confirmed 80 new COVID-19 cases with one new hospitalization since Friday's report.

Public Health reported the new Omicron variant has now been confirmed in about a third of the United States. While there are not yet any known cases in Humboldt County, health officials are asking doctors to ask their patients about travel histories so they can identify and test anyone who may have been exposed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends international travelers get a COVID-19 test three to five days after travel regardless of vaccination status. Residents who test positive for the virus with at-home tests and have traveled internationally in the previous 14 days are asked to call the county's Joint Information Center at 441-5000 to report results to Public Health.

Today's cases come after laboratories processed 458 samples with a test-positivity rate of 16.1 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 but rose to 14.2 percent in November and sits at 15 percent through the first six days of December — a concerning upward trend as Humboldt County enters the holiday season with its pressures and pulls to travel and gather.

Last November, Humboldt County confirmed 329 new cases with a test-positivity rate of 3.6 percent, kicking off a holiday case surge that saw those numbers jump to 865 new cases with a 7.3 percent test-positivity rate in December, followed by 995 and 9.9 percent last December.

Public Health officials continue to stress that the best way for residents to protect themselves from COVID-19 and variants like Omicron is to get vaccinated, wear masks indoors and in crowded places, get tested immediately regardless of vaccination status if any cold- or flu-like symptoms develop and stay home when sick.

The CDC has designated Humboldt County as an area of high community transmission and recommends holding gatherings outdoors when possible, limiting the number of participants in indoor gatherings, adjusting the indoor layout to allow for physical distancing and enhancing the ventilation of indoor spaces.

Public Health Officer Ian Hoffman went on family leave on Nov. 15 and is expected to return in a part-time capacity for the next few weeks before returning to his full-time role. In the meantime, 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.

A state database shows 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.

The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized boosters for all eligible adults who are at least six months past their second shot of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and two months past their shot of Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The FDA also 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. Appointments will be required and can be made at www.vaccines.gov. Boosters will not be available at these clinics.

Public Health reported Friday that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 12, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 12 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days. But the case rate varies by vaccination status.

The seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals was five per 100,000 residents per day, while the average daily case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 14 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph here.

click to enlarge document.jpg

The CDC 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, Dec. 7, 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 adults receiving a first or second dose.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Redway — Wednesday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
DHHS Office (3156 Redwood Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose.

Trinidad Family Clinic— Thursday, Dec. 9, 2 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka— Friday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m – FULL
College of the Redwoods Gym Lobby (7351 Tompkins Hill Road).
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.

Hoopa Family Clinic — Saturday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hoopa High (101 Loop Road, Hoopa)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.

Eureka — Sunday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ag Building (5630 South Broadway, Eureka)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 10,145 with 452 hospitalizations and 119 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 49 million cases have been confirmed with 785,655 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.8 million cases and 74,209 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.

Dec. 6, 2021 - One Hospitalization, 80 New Cases Reported Since Friday
Humboldt County Public Health reported today 80 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, bringing to 10,259 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. One new hospitalization of a resident in their 70s was also reported.

Over the weekend, 346 individuals were vaccinated at Public Health clinics held in Eureka and Fortuna that included pediatric, first and second doses, as well as additional doses and boosters.

Omicron has been detected in about a third of U.S. states, including in the Northeast, South, Great Plains and on the West Coast. Wisconsin and Missouri are among the latest to confirm cases. But Delta remains the dominant variant, making up more than 99% of cases and driving a surge in hospitalizations.

The consensus among researchers so far is that vaccines will likely continue to protect against severe COVID-19, but the Omicron variant may prove to spread faster than Delta, even among people who are fully vaccinated or have been previously infected.

There are currently no known cases of the Omicron variant in Humboldt County, but health officials are continuing to request that doctors ask patients about their travel history so that those who may have been exposed can be identified and tested.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) stricter COVID-19 testing requirements for all travelers entering the United States took effect today. The new rule requires each traveler flying into the U.S. from another country, regardless of vaccination status, to test negative one day before their departure. This changes rules that had allowed inbound travelers to test up to three days before entering the country.

Additionally, the CDC recommends that all international travelers get a COVID-19 test three to five days after travel regardless of vaccination status. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 after travel should test immediately.

Residents who travelled internationally in the past two weeks and test positive on at-home tests are asked to call the Joint Information Center at 1-707-441-5000 to report their results to Public Health. Those who have not travelled outside the U.S. and test positive with an at-home test for COVID-19 should notify their primary care provider, or Public Health if there is no provider, and isolate to limit the spread of disease.

All eligible adults aged 18 and older are encouraged to get a booster. Health officials also stress that those who are partially vaccinated should complete their vaccination series. Someone who is fully vaccinated is half as likely to pass on the infection as someone who is unvaccinated. According to data from the CDC, an unvaccinated person is nearly six times more likely to get COVID-19 and 14 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than a vaccinated person.

Public Health is offering family vaccination clinics throughout December to give priority to children aged 5 to 11 and provide family members a convenient way to get their vaccines.

Vaccines, including boosters, are 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.

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.

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

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Dec. 7, 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 adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments strongly recommended.

Redway — Wednesday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
DHHS Office (3156 Redwood Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Trinidad Family Clinic— Thursday, Dec. 9, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka— Friday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – FULL
College of the Redwoods Gym Lobby (7351 Tompkins Hill Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.

Hoopa Family Clinic — Saturday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hoopa High (101 Loop Road, Hoopa)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.

Eureka — Sunday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ag Building (5630 South Broadway, Eureka)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid 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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