Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Public Health Confirms 48 New COVID-19 Cases, One Hospitalization

Posted By on Wed, Dec 29, 2021 at 3:34 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 48 new COVID-19 cases today, as well as one new hospitalization.

Today's cases — which make 807 so far this month — come after laboratories processed 247 samples with a test-positivity rate of 19.4 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 14.5 percent through the first 29 days of December.

While the seven-day average test-positivity rate for the nation has risen to 14.2 percent and California's has jumped to 11.2 percent, Humboldt County's is 16.6 percent.

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, ventilate indoor spaces, get tested immediately regardless of vaccination status if any cold- or flu-like symptoms develop and stay home when sick. Eligible residents, health officials say, should get their booster shots, as well.

Public Health also reported today that 1,093 local residents have become fully vaccinated since its last report Dec. 15, and 62 percent of the county's population is now fully vaccinated.

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.

A state database shows nine people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with none under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized boosters for everyone age 16 and older 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.

Public Health reported Dec. 17 that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 14, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 14 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days. But the case rate varies by vaccination status, with the unvaccinated seeing an average case rate of 16 per 100,000 residents compared to nine for the fully vaccinated.

click to enlarge document.jpeg

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 COVID-19, and the county has a host of no-cost clinics scheduled over the next week. With the upcoming holidays and high demand for testing and vaccine, Public Health highly recommends scheduling an appointment for either.  


Eureka — Monday, Jan. 3, 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 adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required.

Eureka — Tuesday, Jan. 4, 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 16 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required.

Eureka Pediatric — Tuesday, Jan. 4, 1:15 to 4 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11
Pfizer only
No testing available
Appointments required.

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Jan. 4, 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.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 10,859 with 473 hospitalizations and 122 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 53.2 million cases have been confirmed with 818,444
deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 5 million cases and 75,629 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. 29, 2021 - 1 Hospitalization, 48 New Cases Reported
Humboldt County Public Health reported today 48 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 10,907 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. One new hospitalization, a resident in their 50s, was also reported.

As of Wednesday, Public Health and other local vaccinators have administered a total of 169,381 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Local vaccination data has been updated on the Humboldt County Data Dashboard (humboldtgov.org/dashboard). Highlights include:

Since the last weekly report on Dec. 15, a total of 2,017 vaccine doses have been administered, and 1,093 additional residents have completed their vaccine series.
Just over 62% of the county’s total population has been fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.
A total of 84,552 residents, or slightly more than 71% of the county’s vaccine-eligible population aged 5 and older, have been fully vaccinated. Approximately 7% of the population aged 5 and older have been partially vaccinated as of this reporting period.
As Californians travel and gather indoors for the holidays, Public Health is urging residents to get vaccinated and boosted to protect themselves from the Delta and Omicron variants. Those aged 5 and older are eligible to get vaccinated and anyone aged 16 and older is encouraged by Public Health to get a booster if it’s been six months or more since the completion of their initial vaccine series.

Health officials remain confident that vaccination and booster shots can lessen the impacts of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, including hospitalizations and deaths. Currently, samples from people who test positive for COVID-19 locally are sent to the state for genome sequencing if travel to areas impacted by the Omicron variant is reported. To date, Humboldt County has received the sequencing results on two samples, both showing the Delta variant. However, the Omicron variant has been confirmed throughout the country, and incidence of the variant is anticipated to rise over the next several weeks following holiday gatherings.

California remains in a statewide mandatory mask order that requires all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in all indoor public settings through Jan. 15, 2022.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend anyone who is sick or unvaccinated and has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 forego travel. All travelers are recommended to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms after travel.

OptumServe testing sites in Eureka and Arcata will operate with reduced hours this weekend in observance of the New Year’s holiday. The Wharfinger Building site in Eureka will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31 and closed Saturday, Jan. 1. It will reopen for regular hours starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2. The OptumServe mobile testing site in Arcata will be open on Friday, Dec. 31, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments are required and can be made at lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 888-634-1123. Turnaround times for test results through OptumServe average two to three days.

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 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 Public Health vaccination and testing clinic dates, times, locations and available services:

Eureka — Monday, Jan. 3, 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 adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required.

Eureka — Tuesday, Jan. 4, 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 16 and older
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required.

Eureka Pediatric — Tuesday, Jan. 4, 1:15 to 4 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11
Pfizer only
No testing available
Appointments required.

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Jan. 4, 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.

View the Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download data from a previous time. Due to staffing considerations during the holidays, some weekly dashboard data will not be updated until the following week. 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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