Medical / Health

Thursday, November 15, 2018

UPDATE: Smoky Haze Lingering From Camp Fire as Death Toll Grows

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 9:50 AM

Scene from the Camp Fire earlier this week. - BUTTE FIRE
  • Butte Fire
  • Scene from the Camp Fire earlier this week.
The smoky haze from the Camp Fire will continue to settle over the region today at levels equal to or slightly better than yesterday, according to the National Weather Service.

Read more here and here and here.

Meanwhile, grim numbers continue to be reported by officials in Butte County, where 56 people are now confirmed dead in the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history.

As of this morning, the Camp Fire has burned 140,000 acres and is 40 percent contained, with full containment now estimated for Nov. 30. For updated information, click here.
Release from the North Coast Air Quality Management District:
Overall smoke impacts are forecast to be “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy” depending on weather and location. Smoke levels will vary depending on weather conditions and fire activity. The light northerly daytime wind has brought some improvement to coastal areas. As is typical for this time of year, overnight inversions will limit smoke dispersion until the day starts to warm up. This pattern is expected to continue for the next couple of days.
• Coastal Areas (Crescent City to Shelter Cove) - overall “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy” depending on conditions
• Southern Humboldt – “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy” depending on conditions
• Inland Humboldt and Del Norte County – “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy” depending on conditions
• Trinity County – “Moderate” with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy” depending on conditions
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Smoke from Camp Fire Continues to Impact Region

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 10:33 AM

AIRNOW
  • AirNow
Smoke from the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County — the deadliest in the state’s history with at least 48 now confirmed killed — is continuing to affect air quality in the region today.

According to a release from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District, the impacts are expected to be "Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy,” depending on weather conditions.

The Camp Fire, which all but wiped the town of Paradise off the map, has burned 135,000 acres and is 35 percent contained with 7,600 homes destroyed and another 15,500 structures threatened.

For the most updated information on the Camp Fire, click here.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wildfire Smoke Impacting Local Air Quality

Posted By on Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 10:47 AM

Smoke impacts in California. - AIRNOW
  • AIrNow
  • Smoke impacts in California.
Wildfire smoke from the Camp Fire burning in Butte County — which is now the deadliest in California history, taking at least 42 lives — is impacting air quality in Humboldt County today.

The haze that’s descended across the region is expected to stay for several days, according to a release from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management district.

As of this morning, the Camp Fire has burned 125,000 acres and destroyed more than 6,500 homes with another 15,500 currently in harm's way of the blaze that stands at 30 percent containment.

“Firefighters actively fought the fire and worked aggressively. Firefighters provided structure protection and will continue to provide structure protection throughout daytime operations,” this morning’s incident update reads. “Firefighters will work to put direct and indirect fire lines in while scouting and putting in contingency lines ahead of the fire. Many risks and hazards along with steep terrain in some areas will impede firefighting efforts.”

For the most updated information, visit here.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Update on Courthouse White Powder Incident

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 4:45 PM

A Hazmat suit protects personnel outside of the Courthouse Clerk’s Lobby as seen from inside the lobby. - COURTESY OF MICHELLE BISHOP
  • Courtesy of Michelle Bishop
  • A Hazmat suit protects personnel outside of the Courthouse Clerk’s Lobby as seen from inside the lobby.
The white substance found smeared on the outside of the county court clerk’s office was not identified as a “chemical or biological agent” in initial tests but more will be conducted by an out-of-town lab.

One person did come into contact with the powder-like material, prompting “precautionary measures” to be taken, according to a release from the county. The FBI was also contacted.

“So far, there have been no reported symptoms of concern from this incident,” the release states.

The discovery of the substance around 9 a.m. Monday led to I Street being shut down between Fourth and Fifth streets and Humboldt County Court Clerk’s Office was closed for the remainder of the day due to “public safety concerns.”

Find previous Journal coverage here.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Open Door Officially Opens in Fortuna

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2018 at 2:54 PM

The Fortuna Chamber of Commerce organized the traditional ribbon cutting for the grand opening of the new Fortuna Open Door Community Center with the help of Humboldt County Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell, St. Joseph Health Humboldt CEO Roberta Luskin-Hawk, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman, ODCHC interim CEO Cheyenne Spetzler and ODCHC Board President Kathy Moxon, among others.
  • The Fortuna Chamber of Commerce organized the traditional ribbon cutting for the grand opening of the new Fortuna Open Door Community Center with the help of Humboldt County Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell, St. Joseph Health Humboldt CEO Roberta Luskin-Hawk, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman, ODCHC interim CEO Cheyenne Spetzler and ODCHC Board President Kathy Moxon, among others.

Open Door Community Health Centers officially added a new facility to its already formidable collection Oct. 26, when officials cut the ribbon on its new state-of-the-art health center in Fortuna.

The event, which drew North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman and Second District Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell, among other notables, marked the official opening of the 32,000-square-foot outpatient medical and dental facility, which is currently accepting new patients. (Dental services aren't slated to begin until Jan. 7, 2019.) Once fully staffed, the clinic is designed to accommodate more than 200 patients per day.


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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Crab Season Opener For Patrick's Point North Delayed by Domoic Acid

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 12:08 PM

As crab season nears, domoic acid raises its ugly head. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • As crab season nears, domoic acid raises its ugly head.
It’s official: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has “enacted a delay” of the recreational Dungeness crab season for areas stretching from Patrick’s Point north to the Oregon border due to “unhealthy levels” of domoic acid.

The remainder of the state is set for an opening on Nov. 3. Read previous Journal coverage of the elevated levels of the toxin found in local testing samples here.

“This closure shall remain in effect until the Director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with the State Public Health Officer at CDPH, determines that domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health and recommends lifting the fishery closure in this region,” the fish and wildlife release states. “CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab to determine when the Dungeness crab recreational fishery in this area can safely be opened.”


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SECOND UPDATE: Warning Issued on Dungeness Crab After Testing Shows Toxin

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 10:21 AM

As crab season nears, domoic acid raises its ugly head. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • As crab season nears, domoic acid raises its ugly head.
SECOND UPDATE:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has “enacted a delay” of the recreational Dungeness crab season for areas stretching from Patrick’s Point to the Oregon border due to “unhealthy levels” of domoic acid.

UPDATE: The California Department of Public health is now warning the public against eating Dungeness crab caught from Patrick’s Point near Trinidad to the Oregon border due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

“Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in the body meat and internal organs of Dungeness crab from this region,” the release states. “Cooking crabs neither decreases nor destroys the toxin.”

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, or OEHHA, in consultation with CDPH, is now recommending a delay in the opening of the recreational crab season in these areas. The season was slated to begin Nov. 5.

PREVIOUS:

The most recent round of domoic acid testing in Dungeness crab shows a few “hot spots” of elevated test levels, including samplings off Trinidad and George Reef in Del Norte County.

California Department of Public Health results of the six samples taken at those locations between late September and early this month show elevated levels were found in varying degrees. One location in the Bay Area, Bodega Bay, also showed higher domoic acid levels while San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Monterey and Morro Bay sectors tested clear.

Domoic acid, as most of us will remember, all but destroyed the 2015 season. This year’s recreational season is currently slated to start Nov. 3 with the commercial season opening on Nov. 15.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hospital Cuts, Awkward Railroad Talks, Shelter Funding on Tap in Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 3:33 PM

eureka.jpg
Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers are expected to ask the Eureka City Council tonight to press St. Joseph Hospital officials to reverse course on the elimination of 35 positions and call a public meeting on patient care issues, including staffing levels.

News of the layoffs, which the union has described as retaliatory, came in September after an informational rally on staffing issues was held outside the Eureka hospital. The health system has described the employee reductions as workforce realignments designed “to provide a more efficient and value-based care delivery system.”

Of the 35 jobs being lost, 10 were open positions that will not be filled. The cuts will impact both St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka and Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna. Read previous Journal coverage here.

The comments by union members will come at the start of the 6 p.m. meeting, which includes an agenda item on whether to request that the California Attorney General’s Office conduct an “investigative review” into a $10 billion railroad-to-port investment proposal that has been touted at Humboldt Bay Working Group meetings.

That could prove somewhat awkward seeing as Councilmember Marian Brady — who terms out this year and is running for a seat on the harbor district board — has voiced support for the endeavor and was quoted in local media reports as saying to “naysayers” that the project is “doable” with today’s modern technology.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

We #BelieveChristine and All Survivors Rally in Arcata

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 4:22 PM

Protesters gathered on the Arcata Plaza in support of Christine Blasey Ford. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Protesters gathered on the Arcata Plaza in support of Christine Blasey Ford.

Some 40 people gathered at the Arcata Plaza today to show their support for Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning about a high school party during which she says she was sexually assaulted by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

There was also a minute of silence at the We #BelieveChristine and All Survivors noon rally to show solidarity with Ford and all those who have experienced sexual violence, often bearing the burden alone.

Some who attended carrying signs reading “Thank you, Dr. Ford” and “I Believe you Dr. Blasey Ford, Just as I Still Believe Dr. Hill,” while others held up their hands with the words “I Believe” written across the palms. See photographer Mark McKenna’s slideshow of the We #BelieveChristine and All Survivors gathering below.

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Huffman, Other Dems Call For Postponement of Kavanaugh Nomination Process

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 10:49 AM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
On the same morning Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a high school party at which she says U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, Congressman Jared Huffman called for his confirmation proceedings to be postponed.

In a letter signed by Huffman and 65 other Democratic members of Congress, the representatives called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to suspend the process until the FBI can conduct a thorough investigation into Ford’s account, as well as those of other women who have now come forward.

“We urge you to give these allegations the respect and seriousness they deserve,” the letter states. “Anything short of that is an insult to women and girls everywhere and sends a chilling message that survivors should not come forward because they will not be believed.”

Kavanaugh, who has denied the allegations, is scheduled to testify later today.

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