Science

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Humboldt Marks 8 Months Since First COVID Case

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2020 at 4:11 PM

Eight months after Humboldt had its first confirmed COVID-19 case, becoming the first rural county in the United States to do so, the case total stands at 560, with Public Health reporting two positive tests today.

“We’ve all been living through this pandemic for quite a while, and that can take a toll,” County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a news release. “Maintaining relationships with our loved ones, getting adequate exercise and taking time to unwind are just a few healthy coping strategies that can be enjoyed while following COVID safety precautions.”

Under California Department of Public Health data released Tuesday, Humboldt County remains in the yellow or minimal tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with a positivity rate of 0.5 percent and an adjusted case rate of 1.

But health officials warn a spike in cases would be enough to push Humboldt back into a more restrictive tier.

Right now, 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.

Today's results included 296 test samples. To date, Humboldt County has seen 36 hospitalizations and nine COVID-related deaths, the most recent a 38-year-old man.
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 are 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.


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

Read the county's news release below:

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Humboldt Holds onto 'Minimal' Risk Tier

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 4:07 PM

Public Health confirmed four new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the county's total at 558. Another hospitalization was also reported.

Under new California Department of Public Health data, Humboldt County continues its stay in the yellow or minimal tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with a positivity rate of 0.5 percent and an adjusted case rate of 1.0.

But health officials warn Humboldt's hold in the tier could be fleeting.

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.

Today's results included 93 test samples. To date, Humboldt County has seen 36 hospitalizations and nine deaths, the most recent being a 38-year-old man, according to the Times-Standard, which reports Sheriff William Honsal described him as a "fairly healthy" individual with "underlying conditions" who tested positive during his autopsy, the results of which are pending.

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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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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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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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Humboldt Sees Largest Single Day COVID Case Count in October

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 4:07 PM

Public Health reported eight new confirmed COVID-19 cases today, the largest single day number in a month, bringing the county's total to 542.

“This commitment to each other’s health and well-being is a testament to the character of our community,” County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said. “As the state just released guidance for limited gatherings of up to three households and with the holidays right around the corner, now is the time to continue our focus on prevention measures. It’s vital to our success going forward.”

Under state data released this week, Humboldt remains in the "minimum" risk tier with a test positivity rate of 0.7 percent and an adjusted case rate of 1.1 per 100,000 people, an improvement from last week's 1.5 percent and 2 cases stats.

But health officials have warned that a jump in cases could relegate Humboldt into a more restrictive tier.

The statewide level is now 6.8 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate of 3.4 percent.

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 in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.

New this week, Humboldt County Data Dashboard now includes 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.


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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Humboldt Remains in State's 'Minimal' COVID Tier, Numbers Improve

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 3:56 PM

humboldt_blueprint_oct13.png
Public Health reported one new confirmed COVID-19 case today, bringing the county's total to 534, and an additional hospitalization.

Under state data released today, Humboldt remains in the "minimum" risk tier with a test positivity rate of 0.7 percent and an adjusted case rate of 1.1 per 100,000 people, an improvement from last week's 1.5 percent and 2 cases stats.

The statewide level is now 6.8 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate of 3.4 percent. 

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 in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.
New this week, Humboldt County Data Dashboard now includes 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. According to today's information, Arcata and Eureka lead the county, with 106 and 177, respectively. Fortuna was at 48 and McKinleyville showed 44.

Health official caution that the numbers don't tell the whole story, like where an individual acquired COVID-19, and precautions should be taken no matter which part of the county a person lives in, visits or works.
The county also recently revamped its risk assessment tool to better align with the state's tiered COVID risk assessment system. Read more about recent guidelines released by the state on everything from social gatherings and weddings to Halloween and Dia de los Muertos here, here, here and here.

Today's numbers include the testing of 107 samples. To date, Humboldt has seen 35 hospitalizations and eight deaths.

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Monday, October 12, 2020

Eureka, Arcata Top Humboldt's COVID Case Count

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2020 at 5:45 PM

Public Health reported four new confirmed COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the county's total to 533. Two new hospitalizations were also reported.

The Humboldt County Data Dashboard now includes 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 news release.

After that threshold has been reached in a ZIP code, the exact number will be included. According to today's information, Arcata and Eureka lead the county, with 106 and 177, respectively. Fortuna was at 48 and McKinleyville showed 44.

“Case location is assigned to a person’s permanent residence, so it doesn’t indicate where a person may have contracted the virus,” County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a news release. “The best way to protect ourselves, our families and our economy is to practice prevention measures that limit spread of COVID-19 everywhere we go."

Last week, the county revamped its risk assessment tool to better align with the state's tiered COVID risk assessment system, which recently upgraded Humboldt County to "minimal" risk due to the county being the only one in California to meet a new "equity metric."

While that's good news, health officials caution that the designation could be fleeting if Humboldt County sees a rise in case counts. To date, the county has seen 34 hospitalizations and eight deaths.

Today's numbers include the testing of 505 samples.

Humboldt currently has a test positivity rate of 1.5 percent and 2 cases per 100,000 individuals, according to data released last Tuesday. New numbers will be released tomorrow. The statewide level is 7.1 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate of 3.2 percent.
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 six other counties in California are in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.

As the Journal reported last week, the state has released new guidance regarding social gatherings, which limit gatherings to no more than three households and require they be held outdoors.

"Those households should be stable over time to reduce the risk of virus transmissions," a county press release states. "Gatherings should be held outdoors, and the space should be large enough to allow for physical distancing between households at all times. This is intended for private and family gathering and does not replace existing sector guidance."

In a news release today, the county noted that the state "does not permit concerts or live musical events, whether located indoors or outdoors" and if a three-household or fewer gathering were to include singing, chanting or the playing of instruments, social distancing should be maintained.

"Playing wind instruments, such as a flute or a clarinet, is strongly discouraged," the release states. Read more here.

“We recognize that as this pandemic goes on, it is a struggle for people to avoid gathering altogether,” Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in the release. “This guidance helps us all to minimize the inherent risk in coming together by limiting the size of the gathering and the number of different households coming together, while using all of the prevention strategies that have helped to keep our community safer.”



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Fire Weather Watch Issued

Posted By on Mon, Oct 12, 2020 at 1:34 PM

The Eureka office of the National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for eastern areas of Humboldt County starting late Wednesday into Friday due to forecasts of high winds and low humidity. 
The Fire Weather Watch areas is shown in beige. - NWS
  • NWS
  • The Fire Weather Watch areas is shown in beige.

Upper slopes and ridges above 2,000 feet are expected to be affected, with east and northeast winds in the 15 to 25 mph range and gusts to 35 mph. Winds are expected to be at their peak around sunrise Thursday and Friday, according to the NWS.

A Fire Weather Watch means conditions are conducive for the rapid spread of new fires or ongoing fires. The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services is urging residents of areas under the watch to be prepared to fire activity and to visit https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire.

Meanwhile, the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program forecasts the current respite from smoky conditions will end in the coming days with increased fire activity expected.
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Thursday, October 8, 2020

County Sees 1 Confirmed Case Today

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 4:23 PM

Public Health reported one new confirmed COVID-19 cases today, bringing the county's total to 528.

The county's overall alert level is now at one or the "new normal" risk level green, which is defined as cases being somewhat sporadic with contact tracing being a way to control the virus' spread along with enhanced everyday precautions. Visit humboldtgov.org/dashboard to view the county’s Alert Level Assessment tool.

Under the state's four-tier system, Humboldt's risk rate was upgraded to "minimal" this week, mainly due to the county being the only one in California to met a new "equity metric."

However, health officials cautioned this week that a rise in case counts could easily tip the county back into a more restrictive level.

Humboldt currently has a test positivity rate of 1.5 percent and 2 cases per 100,000 individuals, according to data released Tuesday. The statewide level is 7.1 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity rate of 3.2 percent.

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

To date, Humboldt County has seen 32 hospitalizations and eight deaths. Today's results include the processing of 229 samples.

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.

Read the county's release below.


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