Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Public Health Confirms Record 188 New COVID-19 Cases

Posted By on Tue, Jan 4, 2022 at 4:05 PM

click to enlarge A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test. - PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Public health
  • A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test.

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 188 new cases of COVID-19 and one new hospitalization today, a day after reporting the highly contagious Omicron variant has been confirmed to be circulating locally.

Today's cases — a single day record locally to date — come after 400 were reported yesterday from testing over the holiday weekend. For context, more than 5 percent of the cumulative cases the county has confirmed since its first recorded positive test 681 days ago have now come since Dec. 30.

Health Officer Ian Hoffman said in a press release that he believes Delta is still the dominant strain locally but monitoring is ongoing to determine to what degree Omicron is circulating locally.

"We hope to know more by the end of the week but this is likely the beginning of a surge," he said.

Yesterday, the county reported that genomic sequencing on two samples taken between Dec. 19 and Dec. 21 were determined to be Omicron, meaning the variant has likely been circulating in the county for at least a couple of weeks.

Hoffman urged local residents to protect themselves and their families from all variants by masking in public settings and getting vaccinated and boosted when eligible.

Today's cases come after laboratories processed 221 samples with a test-positivity rate of 85 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 December. So far January, it has leapt to 38.8 percent.

Over the past seven days, Humboldt County has confirmed 681 new cases, or approximately 72.1 per day per 100,000 residents, while recording a test-positivity rate of 30.4 percent. California, meanwhile, has confirmed an average of 70.6 new cases daily per 100,000 residents with a test-positivity rate of 20.4 percent, while the nation has seen an average of 275 new cases confirmed daily per 100,000 residents and a test-positivity rate of 23 percent over the past seven days.

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 Thursday that 1,093 local residents had 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 12 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with three 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 Thursday that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is approximately 15, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 15 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 20 per 100,000 residents compared to 16 for the fully vaccinated.

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 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.  

Fortuna — Wednesday, Jan. 5, noon to 6 p.m.
Fortuna River Lodge (1800 Riverwalk Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended.

Trinidad — Thursday, Jan. 6, 2 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka— Friday, Jan. 7, 1. to 8 p.m
Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
No rapid testing available at this clinic. PCR testing offered through OptumServe by appointment on the lower floor of the Wharfinger Building.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka Family Clinic— Saturday, Jan. 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Jefferson Community Center (1000 B St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members. No boosters.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna.
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka — Monday, Jan. 10, 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. 11, 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 Clinic — Tuesday, Jan. 11, 1:15 to 3:45 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11
Pfizer only
No testing available
Appointments required.

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Jan. 11, 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 11,540 with 479 hospitalizations and 123 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 56.3 million cases have been confirmed with 825,106
deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 5.4 million cases and 75,924 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.

Jan. 4, 2022 - 1 New Hospitalization, 188 New Cases Reported
Humboldt County Public Health reported today 188 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 11,540 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. One new hospitalization, a person aged 80 or older, was also reported.

Public Health reported Monday that the Omicron variant was detected among two local COVID-19 cases taken from samples between Dec. 19 and Dec. 21. Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman said Delta still appears to be the dominant variant locally, and monitoring is ongoing to determine to what degree Omicron is circulating in the community. “We hope to know more by the end of the week,” he said, “but this is likely the beginning of a surge.”

Public Health officials state that it is important that residents, especially those who are unvaccinated, continue to protect themselves and their families from all COVID-19 variants by wearing masks in public settings, socially distancing and getting vaccinated or boosted when eligible to do so.

Hoffman said, “Those who are recently vaccinated and not due for a booster or those who are boosted are getting COVID less frequently, for fewer days, and are mostly asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.”

As always, 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, an 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 your 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:

Fortuna — Wednesday, Jan. 5, noon to 6 p.m.
Fortuna River Lodge (1800 Riverwalk Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended.

Trinidad — Thursday, Jan. 6, 2 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka — Friday, Jan. 7, 1. to 8 p.m
Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
No rapid testing available at this clinic. PCR testing offered through OptumServe by appointment on the lower floor of the Wharfinger Building
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka Family Clinic — Saturday, Jan. 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Jefferson Community Center (1000 B St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members. No boosters
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka — Monday, Jan. 10, 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. 11, 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 Clinic — Tuesday, Jan. 11, 1:15 to 3:45 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11
Pfizer only
No testing available
Appointments required.

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Jan. 11, 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. 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: @HumCoCOVID1
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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