Emergency

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Public Health Announces Six New Positive Cases of COVID-19, Bringing the Total to 27

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 5:20 PM

Public Health announced today that it has recorded six new positive COVID-19 cases.

Humboldt County's number of COVID-19 cases continued to climb yesterday, as Public Health announced three new positive cases. Today's announcement brings the county-wide total to 27. All but one of those have been reported in the last 11 days, including news last week of Humboldt County's first COVID-19 related hospitalization. (Officials have declined to release any information about the hospitalized patient or their condition.)

HUMBOLDT COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
  • Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services
Humboldt County Public Health workers are conducting extensive contact investigations to determine when and how they became infected.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Humboldt County has spiked sharply since the second positive test was reported March 20 in someone who had recently returned from traveling in a "high-risk" country. (The county's first positive test was announced Feb. 20 in someone who'd just returned from China and has since recovered.)

On March 24, the county announced three additional cases, including positive tests from two members of a group that had recently returned from international travel. The following day, it announced five additional positives, all related to the same traveling group. Two more tests came March 28, followed by four more March 28 and three on March 30.

To date, the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory has processed 364 tests, while corporate laboratories have processed an additional 332 samples. Public Health reports it has supplies on hand locally to conduct another 750 tests.

Statewide, California has recorded 6,932 positive cases and 150 deaths related to COVID-19.


Basics of COVID-19
The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

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. St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals have opened tents on their campuses to begin screening patients who have “significant” symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus. The general hours of operation for the tents is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but that is subject to change.

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 www.providence.org/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus-advisory.

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.

See the full press release copied below:



Three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed today, bringing the total to 27 local cases since the outbreak in Humboldt County began.

The method of transmission for these new cases is under investigation.

Following the updated shelter-in-place order and social distancing guidelines continue to be the most effective way to prevent spread of COVID-19. Read the updated order here: humboldtgov.org/DocumentCenter/View/84939/Shelter-in-Place-Order-signed-033020







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Arcata Fire District Will Close One of its Fire Stations April 1

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 2:44 PM

Firefighters at the scene of a fatal apartment fire in the 100 block of Samoa Boulevard on Feb. 2. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARCATA FIRE DEPARTMENT
  • Photo courtesy of the Arcata Fire Department
  • Firefighters at the scene of a fatal apartment fire in the 100 block of Samoa Boulevard on Feb. 2.

The Arcata Fire District is closing one of the three fire stations in its area of service tomorrow as a result of the voters defeating Measure R, a special property tax that would have increased the district's budget by $2.2 million and allowed for maintaining current staffing levels and rebuilding depleted reserve funds.


“The failure of Measure R comes with layoffs and demotions to critical frontline personnel of the fire district,” reads the press release from AFD.


The Arcata Fire District Board of Directors will rotate station closures weekly to evaluate which station will permanently close.

Source: Arcata Fire Department - © 2020 NORTH COAST JOURNAL / SHUTTERSTOCK
  • © 2020 North Coast Journal / Shutterstock
  • Source: Arcata Fire Department

“Unfortunately, due to station closures and the rise in overlapping calls for service,

we may be delayed getting to your emergency. With our District covering 62 square miles, this means potentially waiting significantly longer to receive our services when you are in need. Please, when you need our service, call 911 EARLY,” the release states.

However, the department is emphasizing that the safety of the community is its top priority. 


Read the full release below:


Continue reading »

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Sheriff Declares Local Emergency Amid COVID-19

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 5:19 PM

Sheriff William Honsal - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Sheriff William Honsal
Sheriff William Honsal today declared a local emergency in response to the coronavirus, a move described as a proactive step to allow the county of Humboldt “to request all available response and recovery assistance from state and federal agencies.”

“[T]he imminent threat posed by aforesaid conditions warrant and necessitate the proclamation of a Local Emergency to enable the County of Humboldt and other local government entities to adequately plan, prepare and preposition resources to be able to effectively respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and to warn Humboldt County residents and visitors of the threat posed by COVID-19 and enable them sufficient time to plan and prepare,” he says in a release.

The local emergency declaration is for seven days, which the board of supervisors can extend.

Things have escalated quickly on the region’s coronavirus front, which saw its first confirmed case in mid-February. The latest available numbers from Public Health today showed 21 active cases, up three from Saturday's numbers, several of which were under investigation as to transmission cause.


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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Open Door Announces Changes, Explains COVID-19 Efforts

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2020 at 3:48 PM

Open Door Community Health Centers sent out a trio of press releases today announcing a variety of changes at its clinics, including that staff is currently  evaluating all scheduled appointments to determine which can be rescheduled to a future date in an effort to reduce pressure on the local healthcare system and potential COVID-19 exposure for staff and patients.

"The current COVID-19 pandemic is a unique and rapidly changing event for our country and the world," one of the releases states. "We acknowledge the necessity for clear, transparent and frequent communication."
Open Door Community Health Centers' Eureka Community Health and Wellness Center on Tydd Street. - FILE
  • FILE
  • Open Door Community Health Centers' Eureka Community Health and Wellness Center on Tydd Street.
Open Door says it is following guidance from state, federal and local public health officials, that it is vital that the network remain open, and that Open Door is "developing stringent guidelines to mitigate spread of the disease."

More specifically, Open Door says it is working with local partners to align efforts to increase community capacity for COVID-19 screenings, while also limiting the number of people physically in its health centers by developing infrastructure that allows staff to work from home and treat patients remotely when possible, and asking patients not to bring companions to their appointments.

The clinic will also be deferring routine appointments and preventative dental services.

"These necessary protective measures require a temporary reduction in our dental workforce," one of the releases states, adding that "essential dental services" will still be provided.

"We ask our community to please contact us if they are in need of emergency services that cannot be put off," the release states.

Also, effective Monday, all medical clinical staff in high-risk groups will begin working from home.

Open Door, meanwhile, urges local residents to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community by practicing social distancing, avoiding non-essential contact with other people, refraining from travel, washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, avoiding touching their faces, doing their best to eat healthy, stay active and get adequate rest, and by recognizing that routine, non-urgent medical appoints will need to be rescheduled.


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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Watch Live: COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Order Press Conference

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 2:00 PM


Courtesy of Access Humboldt.
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UPDATED: County to Issue Shelter in Place Order, Effective at Midnight

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 11:27 AM

Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich has scheduled a press conference this afternoon at which time she will announce an order directing local residents to shelter in place beginning at midnight tonight in an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The news conference will be live streamed here.

Counties from the Bay Area north through Mendocino have already issued similar orders.

The Mendocino order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most basic and essential needs, and prohibits transient lodging for non-essential purposes. Read Mendocino's order here.

As of March 19, Humboldt County had not seen any new confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a total of 61 individuals tested by public agencies — six by the Centers for Disease Control and the rest by the Public Health Lab.

(Read more about how the county is prioritizing who gets tested here.)

One person who tested positive last month after traveling to China has since been cleared and another indeterminate case was also cleared. The numbers do not reflect testing done by commercial laboratories and it is unclear when data from those labs will be publicly available.

The county is updating testing numbers and results daily Monday through Saturday and that information can be found here. Public Health is not reporting out the results of tests conducted at commercial laboratories and it remains unclear how or when those would be released to the public.

California, as of 6 p.m. March 18, has a total of 675 positive cases and 16 deaths (including one non-California resident). As of the same time, officials also reported that 16,900 tests had been conducted statewide, with results still pending on about 10,000 of them. According to the California Department of Public Health, that total does not include passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship currently docked in Oakland.

What to watch for:

The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. 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. St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals have opened tents on their campuses to begin screening patients who have “significant” symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus. The general hours of operation for the tents is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. but that is subject to change.

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 www.providence.org/patients-and-visitors/coronavirus-advisory.

For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

5.2 Earthquake Hits West of Petrolia

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 3:18 PM

An earthquake struck about 8 miles west of Petrolia shortly after 3 p.m. today with a prelmimarny magnitude of 5.2, rattling much of Humboldt County.

We're trying to field reports to see if there was any damage. Let us know in the comments what you felt where.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Latest COVID-19 Testing Results: No New Positive Cases

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 3:32 PM

COVID-19 testing in the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory. - COURTESY OF THE HUMBOLDT COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
  • Courtesy of the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services
  • COVID-19 testing in the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory.

The latest COVID-19 lab reports show no new positive cases in Humboldt County since yesterday after the results of five additional people were released.

The county is releasing new daily data at humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert Monday through Saturday.

From March 7 to March 17, the public health lab ran 28 of the 34 tests administered to Humboldt County residents, all of which came back negative. The county has seen one confirmed case to date and that person has seen been cleared. Another indeterminate case has also been cleared.

The lab currently has 195 tests remaining on hand, according to today’s release. The turn-around time for results is about 48 hours.

Public Health is not reporting out the results of tests conducted at commercial laboratories and it remains unclear how or when those would be released to the public.

For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.

Read the Public Health Lab Report below:

March 17, 2020 - Public Health Lab Report

*Numbers below do not reflect testing by commercial laboratories.

People tested before the Public Health Laboratory came online March 7:

• 6 tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or California Department of Public Health

People whose tests were run by the Public Health Laboratory: • 28 Results

Summary to date:

• 34 total patients tested
o 1 positive, cleared
o 1 inconclusive, cleared
o 32 negative

Current test capacity:

• Public Health currently has a total capacity of approximately 195 tests and can process 20 samples a day with an approximate turnaround time of 48 hours.


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We Got You, Get Us at Home

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 12:19 PM

ncj-isolationdelivery-square.jpg

We know staying connected to your community and getting vital information about what's happening with Covid-19 is important. We also know you're taking the self-isolation/shelter in place guidelines seriously and that means getting your triple-washed hands on a physical copy of the North Coast Journal is not in the picture right now. And good on you!

But we're still putting out a paper. And we want you to have it. Stay informed without leaving home with a mail subscription to the Journal. We're offering a five-weeks-for-$5 subscription special during the isolation period, and you can always sign up for a full year for $39. Follow the link to order yours and be well.

www.ncjshop.com/product/Special/28

And of course, keep up with the latest right here at www.northcoastjournal.com. We're all in this together.
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HSU Campus Closed to General Public, Instruction Going Virtual Until End of Year

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 10:11 AM

Humboldt State University - FILE
  • File
  • Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University President Tom Jackson announced this morning that the campus will operate virtually until the end of the semester and all facilities have been closed to the general public due to COVID-19 precautions.

How to mark graduation outside of the traditional ceremonies is being reviewed, with Jackson saying, “We are a very creative campus and we will find alternative ways to celebrate our students' success.”

"Every day, nearly every hour it seems, we are asked to pivot and address a new challenge in our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” his message states. “Our guiding light remains the health and safety of our Lumberjack family while also helping our students to progress in their education. At times these efforts may appear in conflict but they are not. At the root of all we do is our humanity and our underlying willingness to do what must be done.”

As of today, non-essential staff are being asked to telecommute. Between March 23-25, faculty will prepare for a complete shift to virtual instruction by Thursday, March 26.

With the aim to reduce the number of people on campus as much as possible, any student who can is asked to move to off-campus housing but Jackson notes that HSU “will not displace students who are facing housing insecurities or homelessness.”

“As a campus we must continue to carefully practice social distancing techniques for those essential individuals who remain on campus, including students in our residence halls who truly have no other place to reside, and the food services and other staff who are supporting those students,” Jackson’s message states.

All sports and recreational facilities are closed and those services that are remaining open to the campus community — the library, student health center, and university center — will be operating with reduced staffing with social distancing practices being implemented.

Jackson says he understands there are still many questions and the campus will be doing its best to answer them in a timely manner. In the meantime, he praised the campus community for their efforts and asked for patience.

“This pandemic is challenging us but it will not break us. We are Humboldt, and while we may be socially distant for now, we remain close at heart,” he wrote. “Thank you for all that you are doing. I ask you to be flexible and understanding as we work together to protect the health and safety of the campus community. You are appreciated.”

Read the full HSU release below:
Message from President Tom Jackson on Plans for the Semester Dear Campus Community:

Over the last week, I have had the privilege of observing the amazing work of so many people in their efforts to assist others.

The work by all of you to not only protect yourself, but to care for your family and our students is beyond remarkable. We are a very caring Lumberjack Family and I thank you.

Things are changing rapidly and these updates are subject to change based on the fluidity of this situation. Every day, nearly every hour it seems, we are asked to pivot and address a new challenge in our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Our guiding light remains the health and safety of our Lumberjack Family while also helping our students to progress in their education. At times these efforts may appear in conflict, but they are not. At the root of all we do is our humanity and our underlying willingness to do what must be done.

The time has come for HSU to implement a number of additional contingency plans and bolster our COVID-19 precautions. While there are no known active COVID-19 cases in our County at this time, and there have been none on campus, these additional precautions are consistent with recent federal and state health directives.

In short, we must now do more to protect the health and safety of our campus and local communities. HSU will operate virtually through the end of the semester.

Beginning today, we will shift as quickly as possible to virtual operations. Non-essential employees, including student staff, are to work remotely (telecommute) once they have received direction from their supervisor.

Please continue to work with your supervisor on your work assignments and technology support needs. It is important we reduce the number of people on campus. We encourage students who can return to a home off-campus to do so. We will not displace students who are facing housing insecurities or homelessness. More information will follow.

From Monday to Wednesday, March 23-25, the faculty will prepare for a complete shift to virtual instruction by Thursday, March 26. All professional development and preparation activities will now occur remotely.

For the remainder of Spring 2020, all instruction is to be virtual and the primary operational state of campus is to be virtual. There will be no face to face meetings, events, instruction, exams, instructional labs, field trips, live performances, or small group seminars.

We have closed all access to campus facilities to the general public.

Most campus facilities will be closed to the campus community, including all sports and recreation facilities. We have also suspended all intramural and recreational activities for students.

Any services remaining open for students - such as the library, student health center, and university center - will be operating with reduced staffing and must implement social distancing. As a campus we must continue to carefully practice social distancing techniques for those essential individuals who remain on campus, including students in our residence halls who truly have no other place to reside, and the food services and other staff who are supporting those students.

Lastly, and sadly, we must review other ways to celebrate degree recipients instead of the traditional Commencement. We are a very creative campus and we will find alternative ways to celebrate our students' success.

There are many questions to be answered, and we will do our best to answer them in a timely way. We will share more information soon as we prepare campus to shift to virtual operations.

We are resilient. From the Marching Lumberjacks doing what they do, to alumni making a difference in the world, to hiking in the Redwoods, to kayaking in the great Pacific Ocean, we are Humboldt. This pandemic is challenging us but it will not break us.

We are Humboldt, and while we may be socially distant for now, we remain close at heart. Thank you for all that you are doing. I ask you to be flexible and understanding as we work together to protect the health and safety of the campus community. You are appreciated.

Respectfully, Tom Jackson, Jr. President
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