Medical / Health

Friday, April 9, 2021

County Records Lowest Weekly COVID Total in Months, Reports 11K Vax Doses Coming Next Week

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 3:31 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 10 new COVID-19 cases today, making 32 this week — the lowest weekly case tally since October — while also reporting that the county is slated to receive more than 11,000 vaccine doses next week, by far the largest weekly allocation to date.

Today's cases were reported after laboratories processed 297 samples with a test-positivity rate of 3.4, bringing the county's cumulative case count to 3,518.

Earlier today, the county announced it is opening vaccine eligibility to all local residents age 16 and over almost a week in advance of the state's planned expansion. Anyone wanting to get vaccinated is encouraged to sign up on the state's My Turn vaccine registry. Yesterday, the county announced that hundreds of vaccination appointments remained open for this weekend.

Tuesday, the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers, moving Humboldt County into its orange "moderate" tier, which allows businesses such as restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to increase indoor operations, while allowing others — including bowling alleys and family fun centers — to open.

The change came after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state had met its goal of administering 4 million doses to socio-economically challenged areas, a trigger for increasing the epidemiological tier thresholds.

The state data released today shows Humboldt County with a test positive rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a 1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt daily cases rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

Beginning April 1, the state cleared outdoor sports events and live performances to reopen with fans and spectators, so long as facial coverings are worn at all times, venues follow tier-based capacity restrictions and provide reserved, assigned seating. (Read more here.)

Continue reading »

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Humboldt Opens Up COVID-19 Vaccines to 16 and Up

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 1:05 PM

Humboldt County residents who are 16 years and older can now get in line for a COVID-19 vaccine, moving them up before the state’s April 15 date for widening eligibility.

Those interested can sign up on the state’s My Turn site.

“We are so thankful to those members of our community who waited for their turn, and now it’s here," Humboldt County Public Health Director Michele Stephens said in a release. "We encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, so we can all spend time with friends and loved ones safely and protect those under 16 who can’t yet get vaccinated.”

Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for 16- and 17-year-olds and parents will need to select a Pfizer clinic when registering their children in those age groups. At the appointment, a parent or guardian will need to be there, provide proof of age and sign a consent form, according to the county's news release.

Residents are urged to continue to follow COVID-19 protocols as vaccines are rolled out, which could take months.

“We still need more people vaccinated to reduce spread of the virus locally,” Stephens said.

The county release also states that "anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should get tested and contact a medical provider."

On Tuesday, Humboldt County was moved into the state's "orange," or moderate COVID-19 risk ranking, which allows more business sectors open and expand indoor operations capacity for restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, places of worship and other organizations. (Find out more about what that means here.)

The same day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state's tiered COVID-19 ranking system was slated to end June 15, with businesses and other activities across the state allowed to reopen to pre-pandemic levels, depending on two main factors: hospitalizations and vaccination supply numbers. Mask mandates will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, he said.

Read the full county release below:

All Humboldt County residents age 16 and over can now sign up for COVID-19 vaccination appointments through My Turn. This includes people with or without medical conditions and from all sectors and occupations.

Residents age 18 and over can go to MyTurn.ca.gov to schedule an appointment. Public Health officials encourage people to sign up quickly for the first appointment available. Hundreds of weekend appointments that were available as of 9 a.m. today filled by noon.

Humboldt County Public Health Director Michele Stephens said, “We are so thankful to those members of our community who waited for their turn, and now it’s here. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, so we can all spend time with friends and loved ones safely and protect those under 16 who can’t yet get vaccinated.”

The only vaccine approved for 16- and 17-year-olds is made by Pfizer. My Turn is not currently designed to screen clinics based on age, so residents must select a Pfizer clinic when registering. The next Pfizer clinic is scheduled for Wednesday, April 14.

Additional requirements for 16- and 17-year-olds to receive COVID-19 vaccination include the following:

  • A parent or guardian must accompany the vaccine recipient to the clinic and sign a consent form in person.
  • Proof of age is required. Vaccine recipients must be at least 16 years old at the time of vaccination.

Those who are unable to meet these requirements will be turned away from clinic sites.

Sign up today at MyTurn.ca.gov.

Stephens emphasized that prevention measures like masking and avoiding large gatherings should continue following vaccination, adding that, “We still need more people vaccinated to reduce spread of the virus locally.” Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should get tested and contact a medical provider.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or during business hours by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 707-441-5000.

Some Safeway, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s and Walmart locations are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Learn who is eligible for vaccination and see if there are appointments available for your age group or sector at one of these locations by clicking on the links below.


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Vaccine Passports in California? Answers to Your Questions

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Facilty employee Domingo Comin holds his vaccination card at Carefield Assisted Living in Castro Valley on Feb. 3, 2021. - ANNE WERNIKOFF/CALMATTERS
  • Anne Wernikoff/CalMatters
  • Facilty employee Domingo Comin holds his vaccination card at Carefield Assisted Living in Castro Valley on Feb. 3, 2021.


Now that more than 7.5 million Californians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Newsom administration has set a goal of reopening the state’s economy by June 15. So what does the state plan to do when it comes to proving that people are vaccinated?

State health officials said Tuesday that verification of immunization or testing may be required before some large events are allowed. But so far, they haven’t issued any guidelines or advice for businesses on how to do that.

A theater, for example, could create a section of vaccinated people who may sit shoulder to shoulder for a performance, while requiring unvaccinated people to socially distance in a separate section. 

A convention center could hold a conference for more than 5,000 people — but only if it establishes that everyone has been vaccinated or tested, according to a state order.

How will those venues verify who’s vaccinated and who isn’t? And what about travel? Public health experts, regulators and businesses are wrestling — in a highly politicized environment — with logistical, ethical and legal questions about how and whether to verify COVID immunization status. 

For now, California has no plans to create a statewide vaccine passport or other credential. But private businesses, especially airlines, could require them in the near future.

Here are answers to six questions you may have about vaccine passports. 

What is a vaccine passport, and what are their pros and cons?

A vaccine passport or credential verifies that the person carrying it has been fully immunized against COVID-19. A related “health pass” also could verify immunization, or could confirm a negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 and some subsequent immunity. 

Supporters of vaccine passports say they can help reopen the economy more quickly, portraying them as a temporary fix needed only until enough people have been immunized to reach herd immunity. The travel industry, including airlines and cruise lines, is particularly keen to get countries to ease restrictions on international travel and has said vaccine passports could help. 

Critics say that credentials based on health status — especially if they’re digital-only — reinforce racial and economic inequities already seen throughout the pandemic and raise civil liberties and privacy concerns. 

The U.S. debate over vaccine passports has a distinctly partisan tinge, with many conservatives decrying them as government overreach. 

Does the U.S. government require any kind of vaccine passport? What about other countries?

No. White House officials have said repeatedly that the federal government will not create any kind of national vaccine passport. There is no federal mandate to be immunized against COVID-19. 

However, federal officials are working with private companies to create privacy and equity standards for private passports that are now being developed, the Washington Post recently reported

Other countries or regions are planning or already have developed national vaccine passports or health passes, including Israel, China, Japan and the European Union. Some of these countries are linking the digital passports to their national health care systems or immunization registries. 

Requiring proof of vaccination for travel isn’t new: A number of countries mandate yellow fever or other vaccinations for incoming international travelers, and the United States requires numerous vaccinations for new immigrants.

Will California require any kind of vaccine passport?

California’s top health official, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said Tuesday that the state has no plans to develop its own vaccine passport.

Despite this, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, a Republican from Rocklin, tweeted Tuesday that he plans to draft legislation “to stop the madness of vaccine passports before it starts.”

However, the state also sent some mixed messages: Businesses by June 15 “may return to usual operations…with limited public health restrictions, such as….testing or vaccination verification requirements for large-scale higher-risk events,” according to the state’s announcement.

In addition, the state would specifically require conventions of more than 5,000 people to verify attendees’ vaccination or negative COVID test status. “Unless testing or vaccination status is verified for all attendees, conventions will be capped at 5,000 persons until October 1,” according to the state order.

Ghaly said state officials will monitor private sector development of passports for privacy, equity and fairness. 

Denise Davis, a spokeswoman for California Chamber of Commerce, said the business group will discuss with its members about whether vaccine passports are beneficial for employers and the economy. “We’ll be talking about this in the weeks to come,” Davis said. 

The San Francisco Giants will require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 for fans 12 and older attending home games, which start Friday. The condition was set by the local health department, which allows Oracle Park to reopen at 22% capacity.

San Jose’s convention center, which can accommodate more than 20,000 people but is now closed, will await more guidance from the county health department before deciding on any kind of vaccine credential, said Frances Wong, director of marketing & communications for Team San Jose, which manages the center. Logistics would be coordinated with convention sponsors, she said.

“It’s definitely a light at the end of the tunnel,” Wong said. “All convention centers are excited for this.”

What are other states doing?

Other states are considering vaccine passports, but so far only New York has actually created one: The “Excelsior Pass” verifies vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, recently signed an executive order banning any government entity from issuing a vaccine passport and any business from requiring them. Texas’ Republican governor issued a similar order

What would a vaccine passport look like?

That depends on its purpose. 

New York’s Excelsior Pass verifies vaccination or COVID test status and allows users to print a pass – like an airline boarding pass – or save it on a digital app to display to businesses before entering.

The CLEAR company, which markets an identity verification system to travelers to speed their path through airport security, is creating a digital health pass that could link to your vaccination record and laboratory to provide timely testing results. The CommonPass, developed by a Swiss nonprofit and the World Economic Forum, would employ a digital bar code that travelers could show to border officials or airline staff. Both American and international airlines are testing the pass.

I already have a vaccine card. Is it the same as a passport? What should I do with it?

Yes and no. The paper record that you receive when you’ve been vaccinated can be lost or faked, so companies are trying to develop verification systems that are harder to game as reports surface of fraudulent vaccination cards. 

That said, for now, the card you receive is the only easy way to show that you’ve been vaccinated. To protect it, keep it in a safe place. Take a picture of your card and keep it on your cell phone.

You can also document your vaccination by registering with V-safe, a digital vaccination side effect reporting system run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. 

If you lose your card, you may be able to get a copy by contacting the California Immunization Registry. And it may be too late for this advice, but don’t post your card on social media because it can invite identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

CalMatters COVID-19 coverage, translation and distribution is supported by generous grants from the Blue Shield of California Foundation and the California Health Care Foundation.

This article first appeared on CalMatters Network and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Five New COVID-19 Cases Confirmed, County Still Has Open Vaccination Appointments

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2021 at 3:52 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed five new COVID-19 cases today, while continuing to urge residents to sign up with the state's My Turn vaccine registry and fill hundreds of open local appointments this weekend.

The five cases were reported after laboratories processed 156 samples with a test-positivity rate of 3.2 percent. The county's cumulative case count now stands at 3,508 after several previously reported cases were removed, with one being deemed a duplicate reporting and a handful of others traced to non-county residents. One new hospitalization was also reported today.

Earlier today, the county announced that hundreds of vaccination appointments remain open for this weekend for those currently eligible, which include all residents over the age of 50, those age 16 to 49 with underlying medical conditions that put them at more risk, teachers and workers in the food, agricultural, public safety and healthcare sectors.

Tuesday, the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers, moving Humboldt County into its orange "moderate" tier, which allows businesses such as restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to increase indoor operations, while allowing others — including bowling alleys and family fun centers — to open.

The change came after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state had met its goal of administering 4 million doses to socio-economically challenged areas, a trigger for increasing the epidemiological tier thresholds.

The state data released today shows Humboldt County with a test positive rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a 1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt daily cases rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

Newsom announced last month that California will open up vaccination eligibility to those age 16 and older beginning April 15, based on an expected increase in vaccination supply. County health officials, however, warned that a "significant increase in supply" would be necessary to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 16.

With the county moving to the state's vaccination allocation and registration system, all local residents are now encouraged to sign up at www.myturn.ca.gov.

Beginning April 1, the state cleared outdoor sports events and live performances to reopen with fans and spectators, so long as facial coverings are worn at all times, venues follow tier-based capacity restrictions and provide reserved, assigned seating. (Read more here.)

Currently, local residents over the age of 50, healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, food and agricultural workers, and residents ages 16 to 65 with one of a specific list of high-risk medical conditions or disabilities are eligible to receive their shots.

Continue reading »

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Crabs to Play Ball for Limited Crowd with Locals on the Roster

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2021 at 1:53 PM

The Humboldt Crabs have announced their return to the field June 4, with three local players on the roster.

Willamette University infielder Ethan Fischel, Bethel University utility man Aidan Morris and Umpqua Community College pitcher Caleb Ruiz, who all hail from Eureka, will among those taking to the field this summer.

As for how many spectators can take themselves out to the ballgame, there's no hard number yet. Crabs President David Sharp responded to an email from the Journal, saying  the stands will welcome "somewhere between 20-33 percent capacity, so somewhere in the range of 350-450 fans." For now, entry won't require proof of vaccination, though visitors will have to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Sharp says, "Seating will be arranged in 1-4 person pods, all socially distanced throughout the bleachers and outfield grass areas. Tickets must be purchased in advance through our website." Not ready to join the crowd? Don't sweat it. Sharp adds that the games will be live streamed so nobody misses a swing.

Crabs News: The 2021 roster will feature three Eureka-born players, Willamette University infielder Ethan Fischel,...

Posted by Humboldt Crabs Baseball on Thursday, April 8, 2021
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COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Currently Available, SoHum Health has Extras Today for Walk-ins

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2021 at 11:52 AM

Need a COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

According to the county’s Joint Information Center, there are currently hundreds of doses available Friday through Sunday for those who are eligible by signing up on the state’s My Turn site.

The option does not apply to those who have already received a first dose and are awaiting their second one.

“Those who are due or nearly due for their second dose should call the Humboldt County Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000 for more information about scheduling, the JIC news release states.

Meanwhile, SoHum Health reports its walk-in clinic is taking any person 16 or older today, April 8, at 286 Sprowel Creek Road in Garberville until 4 p.m.. Those who go will need to return there for a second dose. 

TODAY April 8th our COVID-19 vaccine clinic is on a walk-in basis! Any person 16 years or older is invited to show up at...

Posted by SoHum Health - Jerold Phelps Community Hospital on Thursday, April 8, 2021

Humboldt County residents are encouraged to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment on My Turn. There are currently hundreds of doses available Friday through Sunday.

Humboldt County is inviting anyone in the following groups or workforces to sign up for an appointment:

Anyone age 50 and over

Anyone age 16 to 64 at higher risk

Emergency services workers

K-12 and early education, child care staff

Higher education staff

Health care workers

Food and agriculture workers

Veterinary services workers

Transportation workers

Janitorial staff

Utility workers

Resource Families

Disaster Service Workers.

For more information about who is eligible, go to covid19.ca.gov/vaccines.

Go to myturn.ca.gov, or call 1-833-422-4255 to schedule an appointment.

Residents should only use My Turn if they have not yet received any dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are due or nearly due for their second dose should call the Humboldt County Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000 for more information about scheduling.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or during business hours by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 707-441-5000. 

Some Safeway, CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s and Walmart locations are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Learn who is eligible for vaccination and see if there are appointments available for your age group or sector at one of these locations by clicking on the links below.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

HumCo Passes 66K Vaccine Doses Administered, Confirms Seven New COVID-19 Cases

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 3:26 PM

Nearly a quarter of all Humboldt County residents age 16 and older have now been fully vaccinated, Public Health reported today.

The county reported that more than 66,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered locally, with 26,085 residents now fully vaccinated and 32 percent of the population having received at least one dose of the vaccine. Nearly 80 percent of residents age 75 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the county reported, with 62.5 percent fully vaccinated.

Public Health also reported today that it has confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases after processing 390 samples with a test-positivity rate of 1.8 percent, bringing the county's total cumulative case count to 3,507.
on was also reported today.

Yesterday, the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers, moving Humboldt County into its orange "moderate" tier, which allows businesses such as restaurants, gyms and movie theaters to increase indoor operations, while allowing others — including bowling alleys and family fun centers — to open.

The change came after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state had met its goal of administering 4 million doses to socio-economically challenged areas, a trigger for increasing the epidemiological tier thresholds.

The state data released today shows Humboldt County with a test positive rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a 1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt daily cases rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last month that California will open up vaccination eligibility to those age 16 and older beginning April 15, based on an expected increase in vaccination supply. County health officials, however, warned that a "significant increase in supply" would be necessary to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 16.

With the county moving to the state's vaccination allocation and registration system, all local residents are now encouraged to sign up at www.myturn.ca.gov.

Beginning April 1, the state cleared outdoor sports events and live performances to reopen with fans and spectators, so long as facial coverings are worn at all times, venues follow tier-based capacity restrictions and provide reserved, assigned seating. (Read more here.)

Currently, local residents over the age of 50, healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, food and agricultural workers, and residents ages 16 to 65 with one of a specific list of high-risk medical conditions or disabilities are eligible to receive their shots.

Continue reading »

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Forum Tonight on Plan to Close Redwood Memorial Maternity Services

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 12:31 PM

Providence Health officials will be part of a 6 p.m. public forum tonight to discuss the healthcare provider's controversial decision to close down the obstetrics program at Redwood Memorial Hospital and shift all deliveries 20 miles north to St. Joseph Hospital.

It's the second time in less than a decade that the hospital system overseeing the Fortuna location, which has seen more than one generation of some Humboldt families born there, has discussed shutting down the maternity services.

In a Feb. 26 announcement, the health care system cited declining birth rates in the county, and especially the Eel River Valley, for the move slated to take place July 1, as well as a shortage of "women's services physicians."

Under an agreement with the California Attorney General's Office, which approved the 2016 merger between St. Joseph Health Care and Providence, the system was obligated to retain maternity service at Redwood Memorial for five years.

A similar move proposed back in 2013 was also met with strong objections, especially from the southern portions of the county, with concerns raised about potential risks to mothers and babies due to extended travel times those who live in the outer reaches of the county would face going to Eureka, especially if there was an emergency.

At the time, more than 1,500 people signed a petition calling for the maternity center and OB services to remain at Redwood Memorial. A petition currently being circulated has more than 4,000 signatures.

Questions can be submitted to norcalmarcomm@providence.org and the community forumc click here: http://provhealth.org/6189HIich



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Orange Tier Means Some Restrictions Lifted, Modifications

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 10:30 AM

Blueprint for a Safer Economy - CALIFORNIA DEPT. OF PUBLIC HEALTH
  • California Dept. of Public Health
  • Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Humboldt County's move to the state's "moderate" or orange COVID-19 risk tier yesterday — coupled with new state guidelines on events and performances — means things will be opening up here on the North Coast.

Crabs fans may be excited to learn that outdoor sporting and other seated spectator events are now allowed. In the orange their, venues must limit attendance to 33 percent of capacity, though they can increase that to 67 percent if they require guests to show proof of a vaccine or negative test results within 72 hours of attendance.

Those some attendance limitations will apply to school graduation ceremonies held this spring.

Indoor events like concerts and theatrical performances, meanwhile, will be allowed beginning April 15, with capacity capped in the orange tier at 15 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer. That would increase to 35 percent with vaccination and testing requirements in place.

With Humboldt's move into the orange tier, movie theaters and restaurants can now increase indoor capacity to 50 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer, while retail shops are now able to open without capacity restrictions so long as they have other modifications in place.

Outdoor playgrounds and recreation facilities, hair salons and barber shops, personal care services can all be open with modifications.

Places of worship can all be opened at 50 percent capacity, as can museums, zoos and aquariums.

Family entertainment centers can open indoor operations with modifications, like masking except for when eating, restricting food and beverage consumption to designated areas. Capacity will be capped at 25 percent capacity, though that can increase to 50 percent if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination prior to entry.

Bars, meanwhile, can open outdoors with modifications.

According to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy (which can be found here), private indoor gatherings are still highly discouraged but allowed with modifications, like social distancing, masks and limiting the maximum number of households gathering to three.

Beginning April 1, private outdoor events — like meetings, receptions and conferences — will be capped at 100 people unless all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination, which would increase capacity to 300 people. For indoor events, if all guests are tested and show proof of full vaccination, a maximum of 150 people will be allowed to gather.

The state moved Humboldt County into it's orange risk tier yesterday after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state had met a goal of administering 4 million vaccines in socio-economically disadvantaged zip codes in the state, which triggered higher thresholds for the state's risk tiers and gave Humboldt the chance to move into the less restrictive tier.

The state data released yesterday showed that Humboldt County has a test positivity rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a 1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt's daily case rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

Newsom also announced yesterday that the state's tier system is slated to end June 15, with businesses and other activities across the state allowed to reopen to pre-pandemic levels, depending on two main factors: hospitalizations and vaccination supply numbers. Mask mandates will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, he said.
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Hoffman to Meet with LatinoNet Friday

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 7:00 AM

County Health Officer Ian Hoffman - HUMBOLDT COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Humboldt County Public Health
  • County Health Officer Ian Hoffman
As part of Humboldt County Public Health’s ongoing effort to work with the local Latinx community, Public Health Officer Ian Hoffman will be meeting this Friday with LatinoNet, a nonprofit organization formed by a network of service providers for the Latinx community, to discuss county COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the county’s efforts with community partners to outreach the Latinx community.

“Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman is one of the guest speakers at the upcoming LatinoNet meeting April 9," Department of Health and Human Services Spokesperson Christine Messinger wrote in an email to the Journal. "Dr. Hoffman worked with the Latino community in the Bay Area for more than a decade prior to joining the county in December and looks forward to continuing to do so here locally,”

The LatinoNet meeting with Hoffman comes as Public Health is working to address health disparities in the county’s Latinx population, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In July of last year, Humboldt County’s COVID-19 dashboard highlighted the disproportionate COVID-19 case rates in the local Latinx and Hispanic communities, noting they accounted for 22 percent of COVID-19 cases while only making up 12 percent of the population. As of yesterday, Humboldt County Latinx people make up 25 percent of positive COVID-19 cases locally.

And now with vaccine rollout, Public Health is working to address health inequities and make sure all persons are able to receive a vaccination. In a media availability last Thursday, Lindsey Mendez with the Humboldt County Vaccine Task Force said that Public Health is working with community groups like Paso a Paso, the Promotores and TrueNorth to address language barriers and cultural competency within vaccine rollout.

“In an emergency response, which we are right now performing during the pandemic and doing vaccinations, we are always trying to do a check-and-balance system in the Public Health Department to ensure that we are vaccinating with equity and that we are using the right methods and the right partnerships to accomplish this goal,” Mendez said in the media availability. “We are currently using meeting and quality improvement tools and looking internally and allowing our partners externally to discuss with us how we are performing and how we can do better, right now and in the future.”

According to the county's dashboard, 8.46 percent of the local Latinx population has been fully vaccinated to date, compared to 16.45 percent of the general population, while 6.31 percent of the local Latinx population is partially vaccinated, compared to 10.57 of the general population.

Public Health Officer Ian Hoffman's meeting with the LatinoNet organization is scheduled for Friday from noon to 1:30 via Zoom, and can be viewed here.
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