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Monday, October 19, 2020

Humboldt Sees Ninth COVID-Related Death: A person in their 30s

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 4:18 PM

Public Health reported a person in their 30s has become Humboldt County's ninth COVID-related death, with 10 new cases confirmed since Friday, bringing the county's total at 554.

County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich offered her sympathies.

“To those who have been impacted by this loss, our thoughts are with you,” she said in a news release.

Humboldt remains in the state's "minimum" risk tier but health officials have warned that a spike in cases could send Humboldt back into a more restrictive tier.
New data on Humboldt's case rate and positivity rate, as well as statewide stats, are scheduled to be released tomorrow.

Under the lower risk category, most indoor businesses — including bars — can reopen but the county can put further restrictions in place, according to the state. Only seven other counties in California are currently in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.

The Humboldt County Data Dashboard was updated last week to include hospitalization rates by age group, death rates by age group and case totals by ZIP code, the latter of which will be reported in "a range of 0 to 5 for case count until the area surpasses 5 total cases," according to a county news release.

After that threshold has been reached in a ZIP code, the exact number will be included. Both Arcata and Eureka showed an increase in cases compared to last week.

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 assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at 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.
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UPDATE: No Local Tsunami Impact from Alaska Quake

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 3:13 PM

UPDATE:

There is no tsunami threat to the West Coast.

PREVIOUS:
The Eureka office of the National Weather Service is awaiting word from the National Tsunami Warning Center about any potential tsunami warnings, watches or advisories for local areas after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska.

“We are awaiting updated information from the National Tsunami Warning Center for any *possible* tsunami impacts to the US West Coast,” its Facebook post states. “No tsunami warnings, watches, or advisories are in effect yet, but stay tuned.”

There is a tsunami warning for the Alaska Archipelago.

The NWS states it will continue to post updates.

Edit 10/19 2:55 PM: We are still waiting for more information. The National Tsunami Warning Center is evaluating the...

Posted by US National Weather Service Eureka California on Monday, October 19, 2020
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Humboldt Evacuation Warnings Lifted for August Complex

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:43 AM

Heavy equipment staging on the August Complex. - AUGUST COMPLEX INCIWEB
  • August Complex inciweb
  • Heavy equipment staging on the August Complex.
The evacuation warnings for Southern Humboldt areas due to the August Complex have been lifted, according to the Office of Emergency Services.

Residents are reminded to stay “fire ready” amid yet another devastating year in California. The 1.32 million acre August Complex is 88 percent contained, with the West Zone at 100 percent.

All traffic is being escorted through the State Route 36 closure, which is at the junction with State Route 3 for westbound traffic and South Fork Mountain Summit in Trinity County for eastbound, at 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily.

According to the August Complex inciweb page, "traffic must be in line at these times to pass through the area," and notes the schedule "is subject to change at any time."

For more information on the fire, the State Route 36 closure and the evacuation status of areas in Mendocino, Trinity and Lake click here.

Read the OES release below: 
All remaining evacuation warnings have been lifted for Humboldt County related to the August Complex Fire. The following evacuation warnings been lifted:

Zone HG: South of Hayfield Creek, east of the Eel River to the Trinity County Line, north of Stewart Ranch Road.

Zone HH: South of Stapp Road, east of Baker Creek/Little Van Duzen River to the Trinity County Line, north of Bear Creek.

Zone HI: South of Olsen Creek, west of Baker Creek/Little Van Duzen River, east of Alderpoint Road/Kneeland Road, north of Hayfield Creek.

Humboldt County residents are reminded to stay “ready” this fire season by maintaining defensible space, hardening your home and having a Wildfire Action Plan. Learn more and get your family ready for wildfire at readyforwildfire.org.

Residents are also encouraged to sign up for Humboldt Alert to receive local emergency notifications, including information regarding evacuations and emergency sheltering in the event of a wildfire, flood or other emergency incident.

Residents can sign up by going to: humboldtgov.org/alerts. For more information about how you can prepare for local emergencies, follow @HumCoOES on Facebook and Twitter or visit humboldtsheriff.org. 
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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Otter Watch Out (Spoiler Alert: Cute Video)

Posted By on Sat, Oct 17, 2020 at 6:55 PM

If you see otters, like these on a log at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, let HSU’s River Otter Citizen Science Project know. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • If you see otters, like these on a log at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, let HSU’s River Otter Citizen Science Project know.
Once COVID-19 closed down the Humboldt State University campus, professor Jeff Black realized he wouldn't be walking to campus for his wildlife lectures, so he decided to get his daily exercise by going to the Arcata Marsh, while also keeping an eye out for otters.

And, he's asking others to do the same.

Spearheaded by Black, the River Otter Citizen Science Project started in 1999 looks to describe the distribution and populations of otters in the coasts, wetlands and watersheds of Humboldt, Del Norte and adjacent counties. Anytime residents or visitors spot an otter at any of these locations, they can document the data by reporting it on the River Otter Citizen Science website.

Out of the hundred times Black estimates he's visited the marsh in recent months, he says he's spotted otters about 80 times, maybe due to luck or because he’s learned a lot about how to find otters and the places where they tend to gather.

Since he began visiting the Arcata Marsh at the beginning of the pandemic, Black has seen two otters with a pup (he says if there was a way to grab the DNA of the second otter, we would be able to see that the otter is the daughter of the mother otter and  helping her with her newborn pup, as recent studies have shown). Black says he has seen the mother otter teach her pup where to hunt for food at different areas of the marsh.

Black has also seen a group of seven otters come through the marsh from Humboldt Bay, and a group of four hunt for food.

“It’s been really fun seeing the otters making use of the marsh,” Black says.

Black says that the number of otter sightings at the marsh haven’t changed during the pandemic, with about 400 sightings being reported to the River Otter Citizen Science Project — the same as past years.

With that being said, the city of Arcata recently reminded visitors and residents alike of the need to drive slowly near the marsh, especially on I Street, with not just otters but other wildlife making their way across local streets.

If you see an otter, no matter where you are, report it to the HSU’s River Otter Citizen Science Project here.
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Slater Fire: Pressed Containment Lines Held

Posted By on Sat, Oct 17, 2020 at 11:54 AM

2020_10_17-10.31.38.771-cdt.jpeg
Slater and Devil Fires: 156,618 acres Containment: 80 percent

While pressed during the red flag conditions over the last two days, containment lines of the Slater Fire, which saw moderate activity, due in part to residual moisture from recent rains, held.

“Aerial and ground observers reported little fire activity near the perimeter,” the latest update stats. “Patrols will continue along containment lines today.” Near Swan Peak, line are being secured while over around the Knopki and Chicago Creek drainages, water drops are continuing to hit hot spots.

“Containment is improving in this area, and crews are making good progress connecting containment lines to the 2018 Natchez Fire footprint,” the update states. “Aviation assets remain available for reconnaissance and bucket operations as needed.”

Tree removal is continuing along “Grayback Road, which fire managers are emphasizing is closed to the public along with other roads due to safety concerns, “with one team working from Happy Camp north toward Oregon, and another from the north end of the road working southward.”

The Devil Fire remains in patrol status using air and drone surveillance.

Evacuations remain in place for the intersection of Indian Meadows Road and Indian Creek Road in Happy Camp. Read more about the Slater-Devil Fires here.
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Red Salmon Complex: Fire Remained in Planned Containment Lines

Posted By on Sat, Oct 17, 2020 at 11:26 AM

Helicopter water bucket drops for fire suppression. - RED SALMON INCIWEB
  • Red Salmon inciweb
  • Helicopter water bucket drops for fire suppression.
Red Salmon Complex: 142,766 acres Containment: 63 percent

Fire activity increased around the South Fork Salmon River, Methodist Creek, Plummer Creek, East Fork New River and Horse Linto Creek during the Red Flag Warning period of the last two days.

Between helicopter drops and crews using firehose on hot spots, the fire stayed within the planned containment lines, according to today’s update. remained within planned containment lines. There is no rain in the immediate forecast and warm temps, low humidity and some winds continue but, with an increase in humidity, fire activity is expected to be moderate.

The focus for today is monitoring containment lines on the western flank as patrols and mop ups happen along the Salmon River in the northeast to keep the fire on the south side of river. Over on the southeast, work is being done to keep the fire to the east of Miller Ranch and west of the East Fork New River.

“Structure defense crews continue to evaluate needs for structure defense systems in Denny, Miller Ranch, Cecilville, Forks of the Salmon, Godfrey, Blue Ridge, and Black Bear and are beginning to remove systems where the fire is contained,” the update stats.
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August Complex: Focus on Containment

Posted By on Sat, Oct 17, 2020 at 10:53 AM

US Marines help mop up hot spots on the Northeast Zone of the August Complex, - AUGUST COMPLEX INCIWEB
  • August Complex inciweb
  • US Marines help mop up hot spots on the Northeast Zone of the August Complex,
August Complex: 1,032,209 acres Containment: 80 percent

While there is no Red Flag Warning today, humidity levels are expected to be around 15 to 20 percent with north-northwest winds at 5 to 10 mph and the potential of 15 mph gusts in some areas.

Northwest Zone – This area saw an increase in fire activity amid high winds, low humidity and hot temperatures , with areas Bradburn Creek burning and containment lines around Coffee Pot area pressed as firefighters patrolled along the fire perimeter, “paying close attention to the Kettenpom, Zenia, and Coffee Pot areas,” the update states.

Work continues on patrolling and upgrading containment lines, removing hazards and making plans for repairs to areas with fire suppression damage. PG&E crews are working on getting the power back on.

Northeast Zone – Crews worked to connect the fire line from west of Bear Wallow Mountain into the east and south sides of the 2017 Buck Fire to box the fire. At night, firefighters hit hot spots on the perimeter.

The focus today is to continue to enhance lines near Progeny, Bear Wallow Mountain, South Fork Trinity River, Rattlesnake Creek and Beegum Creek. Winds are expected to continue pushing fire activity back into the main fire footprint.

“Firefighters will continue to secure and fortify fire lines,” the update states. “Caltrans is working on replacement and repair of guardrail, and removal of hazardous trees along State Route 36.”

The West Zone has reached 100 percent containment.

Read more about the fire here
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Friday, October 16, 2020

The Yurok Tribe Receives $2.2 million Grant for Homelessness

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2020 at 4:44 PM

yurok_tribe.jpg
The Yurok Tribe received a $2.2 million grant from California's Homekey Program to address homelessness, the same grant St. Joseph Health received for its Providence Eureka housing project.

According to a release, the Yurok Indian Housing Authority will purchase a motel in Eureka for permanent housing for 30 people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At least 25 percent of units will be reserved for Native Americans and will provide housing no later than mid-December.

"Native Americans in Humboldt County represent the highest group/race of unsheltered persons in Humboldt County, and also face increased risk of COVID-19 complications," the release states.

The Homekey Program is California's $600 million effort to purchase and rehabilitate housing — including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties — and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness, who are at high risk for serious illness, and are impacted by COVID-19.

Read the full release below.

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced $30.7 million in the fifth round of Homekey awards — California’s nation-leading $600 million program to purchase and rehabilitate housing – including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties – and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness, who are at high risk for serious illness, and are impacted by COVID-19. (View press release)

The Yurok Tribe in Humboldt County receives $2.2 million in Homekey awards

The Yurok Indian Housing Authority will purchase a motel in Eureka for use as permanent housing for 30 people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Native Americans in Humboldt County represent the highest group/race of unsheltered persons in Humboldt County, and also face increased risk of COVID-19 complications. At least 25 percent of units will be reserved for Native Americans and will provide permanent housing no later than mid-December.
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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Tri-County Independent Living Services Pilots Program for PG&E PSPS Services

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2020 at 5:20 PM

TCIL
  • TCIL
Tri-County Independent Living (TCIL) is piloting a Disability Disaster Access and Resource program that will help seniors and people with disabilities prepare for a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff.  

The TCIL program, in partnership with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers “CFILC” and PG&E, will ensure that people with disabilities and seniors who use assistive technology or medical devices that require electricity can get the assistance and support they need during a PSPS event.

Continue reading »

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High Winds and Low Humidity May Increase Fire Activity

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2020 at 1:51 PM

red_flag_warning_oct._15.png
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning in some areas near each of the surrounding fires (Red Salmon, August and Devil-Slater fires), meaning that there's potential for easier fire starts and rapid fire spread.

High winds with gusts of up to 40 mph and low levels of humidity are expected through Friday in most of the regions.

PG&E initiated a Public Safety Power Shutoff yesterday due to the Red Flag Warning. The PSPS will affect some Humboldt County homes including an estimated 187 Humboldt customers in the Bridgeville, Blocksburg and Alderpoint areas around 4 p.m. today lasting through 10 p.m. Friday.

Read the full fire update press releases below.

Continue reading »

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