Monday, November 22, 2021

93 New COVID-19 Cases Reported Since Friday

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2021 at 4:19 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 93 new COVID-19 cases today, with no new hospitalizations or deaths reported.

Today's cases — which come on the heels of 183 confirmed last week — come after laboratories processed 519 samples with a test-positivity rate of 17.9 percent. After recording a test-positivity rate of 10.1 percent in July — the highest for any month since the pandemic began — the rate in Humboldt County jumped to 15.9 percent in August and 15.2 percent in September. In October, it dipped to 12.1 percent and, through the first 22 days of the month, it sits at 13.4 percent in November, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.4 percent).

Public Health also reported that over the weekend 177 individuals were vaccinated at Public Health clinics held in Honeydew, Redway, Miranda and Arcata that included pediatric shots, first and second doses and boosters. About 60 percent of Humboldt County residents are fully vaccinated, according to Public Health's COVID-19 dashboard.

Public Health Director Sofia Pereira reported last Thursday that Health Officer Ian Hoffman was away from his position on family leave, and county spokesperson Christine Messinger later told the Journal that Kate Estlin, a local family physician with a practice in Fortuna who also works as a hospitalist at Redwood Memorial and St. Joseph hospitals, had stepped in to serve as health officer in Hoffman’s absence. Messinger clarified Friday that Hoffman's leave officially began Nov. 15 and that he's expected to return part-time this week, and remain in that capacity for "the next few weeks" before returning to his full-time role.

"Dr. Estlin will continue to back him up as needed," Messinger wrote in an email to the Journal.

Public Health reported last Thursday that the state has simplified its booster guidance and is now recommending that all fully vaccinated residents receive a booster as soon as they're eligible to do so.

Continue reading »

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Supply Chain Woes Trigger Shortages of Critical Medical Devices

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2021 at 2:43 PM

When Henry Genung was four months old, doctors cut a hole in his windpipe and inserted a tube to help him breathe. Born with a rare genetic mutation that blocked his upper airway, Henry, who is now 18 months old, will need the tube for several more years.

For three months, Henry hasn’t had a new rubber tracheostomy tube even though doctors recommend that they be replaced weekly to reduce the risk of infection. Instead, Henry’s parents have resorted to soaking his used tubes in hydrogen peroxide and boiling them for five minutes. Their medical supplier and doctor’s office told them they don’t know how soon new supplies will be available.

Henry Genung was born with CLAPO syndrome, which causes malformations of the lymph nodes and obstructs his breathing. He had a tracheostomy put in at four months and the tube is supposed to be replaced weekly, but the Genung family has been unable to get new tracheostomy tubes since September because of the port logjam and supply chain backlogs. Photo courtesy of Maya Genung
Henry Genung was born with CLAPO syndrome, which causes malformations of the lymph nodes and obstructs his breathing. His tracheostomy tube is supposed to be replaced weekly, but the Genung family has been unable to get new tracheostomy tubes since September. Photo courtesy of Myah Genung

“It’s an ongoing saga of delayed shipments,” said Myah Genung, Henry’s mother, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband Dillon and son.

With upwards of 80 container ships languishing off the coast of Southern California, patients and medical suppliers are worried that stories like Genung’s will become increasingly common.

The logjam at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — which handle 40 percent of all waterbound imports to the U.S. — has triggered shortages of everything from computer chips to paper products to kitchen appliances, and drawn the attention of President Joe Biden. But, while many people are worrying about delayed Christmas gifts, many Californians are grappling with shortages of lifesaving medical supplies. 

California hospitals say medical supplies are more difficult to acquire now or are taking much longer to be delivered. Although the Hospital Association of Southern California says no one has reported any acute shortages yet, administrators are concerned about the delayed shipments that are anchored off the coast.

Experts say the shortages and inflation will drive health care costs up, increasing insurance premiums. In addition, some medical device suppliers are considering cutting off sales to patients on Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance for low-income people, as they look for ways to reduce costs.

Where are the medical supplies?

Port gridlock is the latest chapter in a long saga of medical supply chain disruptions during the pandemic. Demand for personal protective equipment and respirators skyrocketed globally at the same time that overseas manufacturers temporarily closed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among workers.

Last winter, hospitals desperate for bed space were sending less-severe COVID-19 patients home on supplemental oxygen. “We couldn’t keep oxygen concentrators on the wall, couldn’t keep them in inventory,” said Terry Racciato, who owns a durable medical equipment supply company in San Diego. “The shipping backlog prevented them from getting into the country, much less getting to patients that need them.” 

Now, specialized equipment like walkers, canes, wheelchairs, crutches, syringes, needles, catheters, surgical gloves, feeding tubes and suction canisters are increasingly hard to come by.

In September, the FDA announced nationwide shortages of ventilators. Specimen collection tubes also have been in short supply since the summer.

Compounding the issue, hospitals, which are admitting above-average numbers of patients who delayed care during the pandemic, are trying to stay ahead of any potential winter COVID-19 surge.

“With increased patient volume and supply logistic issues, we are concerned with the constraints placed on supply availability,” said Amy Ritzel, a spokesperson for Prime Healthcare, which operates hospitals throughout the state. 

Prime Healthcare has been able to shift supplies as needed between its hospitals, but has joined other health systems and the California Chamber of Commerce in requesting help from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to speed up movement of medical goods.

“We have a number of hospitals and health care suppliers saying ‘Hey we’ve got products sitting out there.’ So they’re pretty concerned about that issue in particular,” said Leah Silverthorn, policy advocate for CalChamber, which sent the letter to Newsom and the Legislature. 

Increased purchasing of all consumer goods coupled with labor shortages, outdated port infrastructure, and prior disruptions to shipping and manufacturing early in the pandemic have culminated in the offshore traffic jam.

“A number of hospitals and health care suppliers are saying ‘We’ve got products sitting out there.’ So they’re pretty concerned about that issue in particular.”

Leah Silverthorn, California Chamber of Commerce

While the two ports have reduced the backlog of idling containers by 26 percent in the past three weeks by threatening steep fines, more than 40,000 containers have sat at the terminals for at least nine days. Before the pandemic, the average wait was less than four days, according to port operations reports in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Some ships have been anchored off the coast for more than 30 days while they await a spot to dock.

“There’s some concern about a winter surge of COVID and having access to those containers,” Silverthorn said. 

CalChamber is working with its nearly 1,000 health care members to track down the container numbers for delayed shipments and identify the ships.

“It’s kind of a bottleneck of data right now,” Silverthorn said. “The data lies with each link of the shipping supply chain, and so trying to aggregate it in a convenient way is challenging.” 

Currently, no one knows how many containers may be carrying medical supplies or the quantity of goods waiting offshore. Experts say the lack of data is a systemic problem in the supply chain that makes it nearly impossible to prioritize critical health care devices. No information system connects the manufacturers, shipping companies, port terminal operators, suppliers and buyers. 

“This is already 2021, but shipping companies cannot give an accurate hour-by-hour estimation about when goods will arrive or where they are,” said Tinglong Dai, a professor of operations management and business analytics at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in health care operations.

“Public health authorities have no idea exactly how much inventory we’re going to have if and when similar (COVID) crises will arise in the future.”

Tinglong Dai, Johns Hopkins University

Dai has spent the 20 months of the pandemic advocating for supply chain transparency, particularly when it comes to medical supplies.

“What they are producing is very important to public health,” he said, “and public health authorities have no idea exactly how much inventory we’re going to have if and when similar crises will arise in the future.”

In response to the letter to Newsom and an earlier executive order, GO-Biz, the governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and other state agencies have been working to identify sites that can be used to store empty, abandoned and slow-moving containers that are exacerbating the backlog, said GO-Biz spokesperson Heather Purcell. 

“This will free up crowded dock space to move integral medical supplies. Additionally, GO-Biz is directly in coordination with a terminal operator to speed up the movement of medical supplies,” Purcell said.

However, Purcell said the state has no way to identify medical supplies other than consulting with individual buyers. Even then, the contents of specific containers are frequently unknown.

Shortages and delays

Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles has experienced supply chain problems acquiring catheters, syringes and blood collection tubes, communications director Duke Helfand said. However, the hospital has been able to rely on pre-existing reserves and alternate suppliers to avoid any impact on patients.

Similarly, Community Medical Centers in the Central Valley have experienced periodic shortages of computers, suction canisters and masks during the pandemic, according to Lucky Malhi, vice president of supply chain management. His team has worked round-the-clock to secure supplies through alternate distributors. 

But patients requiring supplies for home use, like the Genungs’ son Henry, typically don’t have the option to find alternate suppliers, so they have felt the scarcity much more sharply.

Myah Genung said she has turned to Facebook groups where parents of “trach babies” share extra supplies. She has snagged humidifying filters for Henry’s breathing tube through social media, but more often than not, there are more people seeking supplies than there are extras.

“We’re just having to make do the best we can,” she said.

“There are people who are trying to sterilize (the tubes) themselves and reuse them. They’re risking serious infection because new supplies aren’t available.”

Terry Racciato, owner of medical supply company in San Diego

More than 100,000 tracheostomy procedures are performed annually across the country. Racchiato, whose supply company, SpecialCare, primarily distributes directly to patients, said replacement tubes are one of the most difficult things to acquire right now.

“There are people who are trying to sterilize (the tubes) themselves and reuse them. They’re risking serious infection because new supplies aren’t available,” Racciato said.

Most tracheostomy tubes are only supposed to be used once, said Maggie Kuhn, associate professor of otolaryngology at UC Davis Health. Reusing the tubes can cause serious problems, including increased risk of infection and device malfunctioning.

“We have observed complications from this practice which can be life-threatening, including mucous plugging and airway trauma,” Kuhn said.

Other devices like oxygen concentrators face months-long delays compared to typical delivery times of one to two weeks.

Complicating matters, one of the largest manufacturers of continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machines recalled millions of devices in June and is reserving its inventory for patients that need replacement machines. As a result, Racciato said she has at least 1,000 patients diagnosed with sleep apnea who have been on a waiting list without treatment for five months.

Prices increase while access decreases

Inflationary pressure on the medical supply market also has some suppliers concerned about how long they can stay in business. Scarcity of raw materials and logistical challenges along with the port backlogs have steeply driven up the cost of manufacturing and shipping, creating a volatile market. 

“(Shipping) containers have gone from $2,000 for rental to anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 for the same container,” said Steve Yaeger, a Los Angeles based medical supplier who specializes in respiratory equipment. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Yaeger said his overhead has increased 25%. 

“When you see the cost of goods go up like that, all of a sudden you’re figuring out, ‘OK are we even going to make any money this year?’”

“The natural consequence on the consumer side is…premiums will go up.” 

William Padula, USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics

Experts say inflation among medical supplies will result in higher health care costs for patients as hospitals and other providers struggle to maintain adequate profit margins.

William Padula, a senior fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, said the “supply chain disaster” will result in hospitals negotiating for higher reimbursement rates with insurers and patients paying higher premiums.

“The natural consequence on the consumer side is…premiums will go up,” Padula said. 

Already, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the highest premium increase in the program’s history for Medicare Part B and higher deductibles for other aspects of the program, in part due to increased utilization in the past year. 

“In their statement, Medicare blamed the increase of premiums on COVID and the cost of that new drug for Alzheimers, which is expected to take off, but COVID is very broad. It really is about the supply chain,” Padula said.

Although it’s too soon to tell how much premiums will increase across the board, historically commercial insurers have followed Medicare’s lead. 

“That gives a lot of commercial payers a pass to increase by a similar amount at a minimum,” Padula said.

The resultant cost hikes have also forced small and mid-sized suppliers to rethink which patients they can afford to serve, potentially leading to decreased access for those with Medi-Cal or Medicare, which have fixed reimbursement rates.

California has temporarily increased these reimbursement rates for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which is set to expire at the end of March. Beyond that, providers aren’t sure how long they can hold on. 

Ron Biasca, a medical supplier based in Eureka, said increased costs are forcing his company to reassess what services it provides to Medicare and Medi-Cal patients.

“We are evaluating all entitlements right now to look at what we’re making money on. We are going to have to make some hard decisions and just not accept the insurance payment,” Biasca said.

Maya and Dillon Genung hold their son Henry in a family portrait. Image courtesy of Maya Genung
Myah, Henry and Dillon Genung. Image courtesy of Myah Genung

Roughly one-third of all Californians rely on Medi-Cal for health care and frequently face long wait times and difficulty finding doctors and other providers who will accept their insurance. And the out-of-pocket costs are inaccessible even for people with private health insurance.

Genung said she has tried to purchase the tracheostomy tubes her son needs online but they cost between $300 to $600 each. “You would be spending thousands and thousands of dollars a month just to purchase it yourself,” she said.

Reusing the tubes fills her with worry. Henry’s condition requires him to be immunosuppressed, and reusing tubes increases the risk of infection or breakage as the equipment wears down. 

“It’s not foolproof because you’re not in a sterile environment. You’re at home, you’re in your kitchen, doing your best to make it work,” Genung said.

A week ago, Henry was admitted to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with pneumonia. Doctors told his parents there’s no way of knowing if the infection was caused by the reuse of tubes.

The only small silver lining is that the hospital gave Genung two new tracheostomy tubes, enough to get Henry through another month.

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Saturday, November 20, 2021

UPDATED: Supes to Consider No-confidence Vote in Auditor-Controller

Posted By on Sat, Nov 20, 2021 at 6:56 AM

Karen Paz Dominguez. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Karen Paz Dominguez.
UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 on Monday in support of a vote of no confidence in the job performance of elected Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez. Supervisors Michelle Bushnell, Rex Bohn and Virginia Bass voted in favor of the symbolic rebuke, with Mike Wilson and Steve Madrone dissenting.

PREVIOUS:

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will meet in special session Monday to consider a vote of no-confidence in the job performance of elected Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez.

The agenda for Monday's meeting posted yesterday afternoon, after a payroll processing error caused delays in county employees getting their direct deposits and many reportedly getting payments for incorrect amounts. Paz Dominguez and other county staff reportedly worked through the night Thursday trying to rectify the error by manually entering payroll information. It's unclear if the payroll issues played any part in the no-confidence vote being agonized.

A staff report for the vote offers a blunt assessment: "Karen Paz Dominguez's tenure as Auditor-Controller has been marred with deficiencies," before offering a bulleted list of more than two dozen issues, ranging from ongoing delays in closing the county's 2019-2020 single audit to "failure to take responsibility for her actions." Read the full staff report and accompanying list here.

If the board does move forward with a no-confidence vote — as the Fortuna Unified High School District Board and the county Workforce Development Board already have — it would be almost entirely a symbolic gesture or protest and public rebuke. Paz Dominguez is an elected official — up for re-election next year — and the board has no power to remove her from office.

Elected in 2018 after raising alarm that the county's auditing practices amounted to little more than a rubber-stamp, leaving the county gravely at risk of fraud and waste, Paz Dominguez has proven a polarizing figure. Several outside reports have seemingly buttressed her statements that the county's accounting practices were inadequate and her office was short staffed, but her office has repeatedly failed to meet basic deadlines and perform essential functions, which county department heads and outside agencies have said is putting revenue streams at risk. Read more about the situation here.
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Friday, November 19, 2021

Public Health Confirms 39 New COVID-19 Cases, Health Officer's Return Expected Next Week

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2021 at 3:44 PM

Humboldt County Public Health Microbiologist Annayal Yikum prepares patient samples for the COVID-19 testing process. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Humboldt County Public Health Microbiologist Annayal Yikum prepares patient samples for the COVID-19 testing process.

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 39 new COVID-19 cases today — making 183 this week — with no new hospitalizations reported.

Today's cases — which come on the heels of 204 confirmed last week — come after laboratories processed 349 samples with a test-positivity rate of 11.2 percent. After recording a test-positivity rate of 10.1 percent in July — the highest for any month since the pandemic began — the rate in Humboldt County jumped to 15.9 percent in August and 15.2 percent in September. In October, it dipped to 12.1 percent and, through the first 19 days of the month, it sits at 14.3 percent in November, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.4 percent).

Public Health Director Sofia Pereira reported yesterday that Health Officer Ian Hoffman was away from his position on family leave, and county spokesperson Christine Messinger later told the Journal that Kate Estlin, a local family physician with a practice in Fortuna who also works as a hospitalist at Redwood Memorial and St. Joseph hospitals, had stepped in to serve as health officer in Hoffman’s absence. Today, Messinger clarified that Hoffman's leave officially began Nov. 15 and that he's expected to return part-time next week, and remain in that capacity for "the next few weeks" before returning to his full-time role.

"Dr. Estlin will continue to back him up as needed," Messinger wrote in an email to the Journal.

Public Health reported yesterday that the state has now simplified its booster guidance, and is now recommending that all fully vaccinated residents receive a booster as soon as they're eligible to do so.

A state database show 10 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with four under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5 to 11 years old and local pharmacies and pediatricians have begun making appointments, while Public Health announced it will hold several pediatric and family vaccination clinics — with the first pediatric clinic scheduled tomorrow in Eureka — for children ages 5 to 11. Appointments will be required and can be made on the state’s www.MyTurn.ca.gov vaccination portal. Boosters will not be available at these clinics.

Public Health reported today that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 15.8, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 15.8 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days. But the case rate varies by vaccination status.

screen_shot_2021-11-19_at_3.42.18_pm.png

The current seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals is nine per 100,000 residents per day, while the average daily case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 16 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph here.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently published a study indicating unvaccinated individuals are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than their fully vaccinated counterparts.

National, state and local health officials advise that vaccination remains incredibly safe and effective protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COIVD-19, and the county has a host of no-cost clinics scheduled over the next week.

Honeydew Family Clinic — Friday, Nov. 19, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Arcata Family Clinic – Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Redway – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 W Coast Rd.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Miranda Family Clinic – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Appointment required. No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11. Pfizer only.
Appointment required. No testing available.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,836 with 441 hospitalizations and 117 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 47.3 million cases have been confirmed with 764,473 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.7 million cases and 73,000 related deaths have been confirmed in California, according to the Department of Public Health.

The county’s test positivity rate has gone from 3.6 percent in November, to 7.3 percent in December and 9.9 percent in January, before dropping to 6.5 percent in February. In March, it dropped to 4.5 percent before inching back up to 5.9 percent in April. In May, it jumped to 8.3 percent but fell back to 5.9 percent in June. In July, it rose to 10.1 percent before jumping to 15.9 percent in August and 15.2 percent in September before dipping to 12.3 percent last month.

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 assessing risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found 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 JIC's report below.

Nov. 19, 2021 - 39 New Cases Reported
Humboldt County Public Health reported today 39 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 9,836 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. No deaths or hospitalizations were reported.

Public Health officials are continuing to urge all eligible Californians aged 5 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and for partially vaccinated individuals to complete their vaccination series. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an unvaccinated person is 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than a vaccinated person.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) simplified its booster guidance and is encouraging all vaccinated residents to receive a booster as soon as they're eligible.

All adults aged 18 and older can make appointments on MyTurn.ca.gov to receive a booster dose of their choice — as long as it’s been at least six months since their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months since their Johnson & Johnson shot.

Since the last weekly data update on Nov. 12, the county has recorded 183 new cases of COVID-19. No deaths were reported during that period. All three of the hospitalizations reported over the last week were unvaccinated residents. Age ranges of reported hospitalizations are as follows:

1 person in their 30s
1 person in their 60s
1 person in their 70s

The seven-day average case rate in Humboldt County is currently 15.8, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 15.8 tested positive daily over the last seven days. Case rates vary considerably by vaccination status, as illustrated by the graph below, which depicts average weekly case rates since Dec. 2020 in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated residents.

screen_shot_2021-11-19_at_3.42.18_pm.png

The current seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals is 9 per 100,000 residents while the case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 16 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph.

Humboldt County’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. Although walk-ins are allowed at most regular Public Health clinics and many pharmacy vaccination sites, a sharp increase in demand for boosters has caused delays at some locations. As a result, appointments are required for pediatric clinics and for clinics at Public Health’s main office. Appointments are strongly recommended for all other clinics and are the best way to ensure a shot is available during your visit. Appointments can be made at MyTurn.ca.gov.

Vaccines, including boosters, are widely available at local pharmacies. To check the availability of a specific vaccine, visit the vaccines.gov page, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a nearby pharmacy offering vaccines.

See the schedule below for specific vaccination and testing clinic dates, times, locations and available services:

Arcata Family Clinic – Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Redway – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 W Coast Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Miranda Family Clinic – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available.
Appointments strongly recommended.

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Appointment required. No testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose.
Appointments required.

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11. Pfizer only.
Appointment required. No testing available.

View the Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download data from a previous time.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 1-707-441-5000.

Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination: MyTurn.ca.gov
Check for vaccine availability at a local pharmacy: Vaccines.gov
Local COVID-19 vaccine information: humboldtgov.org/VaccineInfo
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/Dashboard
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert
###



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Eureka Council Moves Forward Ranked Choice Voting, New Ward Maps

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2021 at 12:25 PM

The Eureka City Council cast unanimous votes on two election-related items this week, including a major change to the way residents in Humboldt County’s largest city select their representatives.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the council moved forward what’s known as ranked choice voting by introducing an ordinance to implement the method supported by Eureka voters in November of 2020 when they passed Measure C with 61 percent of the vote.

Ranked choice essentially works like an instant runoff by allowing voters to rank candidates by preference. For example, in a three-person race, a voter would order the candidates as their first, second or third choice.

If any candidate were to receive a majority of "first" designations, the process ends there. However, if that doesn't happen, the person with the fewest "first" votes is out of the race and anyone who voted for them would have their second choice selection counted.

The process continues from there until one candidate takes a majority of the votes in the mayor and council races only and will not apply to county, state or federal offices, or to any ballot measures.

Continue reading »

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UPDATE: County Employees Expected to Get Direct Deposits by End of Day, Workforce Board Issues No-Confidence Vote in Auditor-Controller's Office

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2021 at 9:57 AM

Humboldt County Courthouse - FILE
  • file
  • Humboldt County Courthouse
UPDATE:
Humboldt County Deputy County Administrative Officer Sean Quincey released an update on the county’s payroll problems this afternoon, saying U.S. Bank has confirmed it has what it needs to make direct deposit payments to county employees by the close of business today.

“We are in the process of printing out paper checks for employees who do not normally receive direct deposits,” Quincey wrote. “In addition, a small subset of employees who receive direct deposits had errors in their banking information and will receive paper checks.”

The Humboldt County Courthouse will remain open until 6 p.m. today, Quincey wrote, giving employees who need to pick up paper checks a bit of additional time to do so. Any checks not picked up today will be mailed Saturday morning.

In related matters, while county Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez was working to sort out the payroll issues this morning, the Humboldt County Workforce Development Board voted overwhelmingly to issue a statement of no-confidence in her office, citing ongoing issues that have prevented completion of the county’s 2019-2020 single audit, which the board fears could put state and federal funding streams in jeopardy.

PREVIUOSLY:
Humboldt County employees who receive their checks via direct deposit did not get paid on schedule this morning due to a payroll error that staff worked through the night to remedy, manually inputting all the information needed to issue paychecks.

“We still expect to have [Nov. 19’s] direct deposits out to employees by the end of the business day,” states an interoffice memo sent to all county employees shortly after midnight by County Administrative Officer Elisha Hayes and Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez that First District Supervisor Rex Bohn posted to his Facebook page at 7:57 a.m. today.


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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Public Health Reports 28 New COVID-19 Cases, Changes in Youth Sports Mask Guidelines

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 4:21 PM

A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test. - PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Public health
  • A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test.
Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 28 new COVID-19 cases today — making 144 so far this week.

In a short video released earlier today discussing changes to masking guidelines for youth sports, Public Health Director Sofia Pereira mentioned that Health Officer Ian Hoffman is currently out on "family leave" but offered no additional details. The Journal has inquired for additional information but has not yet received a response.

(Update: Moments after this article posted, county spokesperson Christine Messinger responded to the Journal’s inquiry to say Kate Estlin, a local family physician with a practice in Fortuna who also works as a hospitalist at Redwood Memorial and St. Joseph hospitals, has stepped in to serve as health officer in Hoffman’s absence. Estlin, Messinger added, has been aiding the local pandemic response by “supporting COVID investigations for outbreaks in schools and congregate settings as extra help.” Messinger did not answer Journal questions regarding exactly when Hoffman’s leave began or how long its expected to last, or provide a copy of any letter or email he sent to the county notifying it of the leave, as the Journal requested. She said she would check with county Employee Services tomorrow to see what further information could be released.)

Today's cases — which come on the heels of 204 confirmed last week — come after laboratories processed 121 samples with a test-positivity rate of 23.1 percent. After recording a test-positivity rate of 10.1 percent in July — the highest for any month since the pandemic began — the rate in Humboldt County jumped to 15.9 percent in August and 15.2 percent in September. In October, it dipped to 12.1 percent and, through the first 18 days of the month, it sits at 14.7 percent in November, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.4 percent).

Public Health also reported today that the state has now simplified its booster guidance, and is now recommending that all fully vaccinated residents receive a booster as soon as they're eligible to do so.

Local guidance regarding masking and youth sports was also updated today following weeks of meetings between Public Health staff and representatives from schools, districts and youth sports leagues. The new guidance permits participants in high-intensity indoor youth sports to remove masks during gameplay "if a mask poses a health and safety risk to the individual" but requires they be worn when not in active gameplay. Twice weekly testing of all players, staff and coaches who remove masks during play is required, regardless of vaccination status, according to public Health.

Pereira's short video discussing the change in guidelines can be seen below.


Public Health reported yesterday that local vaccinators have administered 1,203 doses of vaccine over the past week, with 520 residents having newly become fully vaccinated.

New countywide masking and quarantine orders, meanwhile, went into effect Nov. 8.

Earlier this month, the county issued a provider alert warning that the greater Fortuna area is seeing case rates higher than those of the rest of the county, while its vaccination rates continue to trail those of other parts of the county, as well.

A state database show 11 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with three under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5 to 11 years old and local pharmacies and pediatricians have begun making appointments, while Public Health announced it will hold several pediatric and family vaccination clinics — with the first pediatric clinic scheduled tomorrow in Eureka — for children ages 5 to 11. Appointments will be required and can be made on the state’s www.MyTurn.ca.gov vaccination portal. Boosters will not be available at these clinics.

"Pediatric clinics will offer vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 only. Family clinics give priority to children ages 5 to 11, but parents and guardians of children who are getting vaccinated can receive any dose of the COVID-19 vaccine," a news release states. "Due to a sharp increase in demand, walk-ins are not allowed at family and pediatric clinics for children ages 5 to 11 at this time."

Public Health also reported recently that health officials are urging all eligible residents to get COVID-19 booster shots after federal regulators accepted recommendations recently to expand booster options to Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. (For more information on who is booster eligible, click here.)

Moderna boosters can be administered to those 65 years and older, those residing in long-term care facilities, people 50 and older with underlying medical conditions putting at them of increased risk and those at increased risk of exposure and transmission due to high-risk work setting, who received their initial vaccination six months or more ago. All residents age 18 and older who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can receive a booster dose if at has been at least two months since their initial dose.

Public Health reported Friday that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 14, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 14 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days but varies by vaccination status.

case_rate_graf.jpg

The current seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals is 13 per 100,000 residents per day, while the average daily case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 16 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph here.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently published a study indicating unvaccinated individuals are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than their fully vaccinated counterparts.

National, state and local health officials advise that vaccination remains incredibly safe and effective protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COIVD-19, and the county has a host of no-cost clinics scheduled over the next week.

Trinidad — Thursday, Nov. 18, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available

Petrolia — Friday, Nov. 19, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Mattole Resource Center (167 Sherman St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Honeydew Family Clinic — Friday, Nov. 19, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Arcata Family Clinic – Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Redway – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 W Coast Rd.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Miranda Family Clinic – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Appointment required. No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11. Pfizer only.
Appointment required. No testing available.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,797 with 441 hospitalizations and 117 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 47.2 million cases have been confirmed with 762,994 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.7 million cases and 72,847 related deaths have been confirmed in California, according to the Department of Public Health.

The county’s test positivity rate has gone from 3.6 percent in November, to 7.3 percent in December and 9.9 percent in January, before dropping to 6.5 percent in February. In March, it dropped to 4.5 percent before inching back up to 5.9 percent in April. In May, it jumped to 8.3 percent but fell back to 5.9 percent in June. In July, it rose to 10.1 percent before jumping to 15.9 percent in August and 15.2 percent in September before dipping to 12.3 percent last month.

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 assessing risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found 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 JIC's report below.

Nov. 18, 2021 - More People Eligible for Boosters; Updated Youth Sports Requirements Finalized
Humboldt County Public Health reported today 28 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 9,797 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. No deaths or hospitalizations were reported.

To maintain strong immunity against COVID-19 with winter approaching, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) simplified its booster guidance and is encouraging all vaccinated residents to receive a booster as soon as they're eligible.

The state’s updated My Turn vaccination portal now allows all adults aged 18 and older to make appointments to receive a booster dose of their choice — as long as it’s been at least six months since their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months since their Johnson & Johnson shot.

Updated guidance regarding masking and youth sports was finalized today following weeks of meetings between Public Health staff and representatives from schools, districts and local sports leagues. The new guidance will permit individuals in high-intensity indoor youth sports programs to remove masks during active gameplay if a mask poses a health and safety risk to the individual. Individuals must wear masks when not in active gameplay.

To mitigate the risk associated with unmasked indoor activity and to identify COVID-19 cases quickly, twice weekly testing of all players, staff and coaches who remove masks during play or competition is required, regardless of vaccination status. Public Health also recommends that officials test if they are removing their masks during game play for health or safety reasons, and that schools provide access to testing for them as well. The entire guidance document can be viewed here Humboldt County Youth Sports Masking Requirements.

Public Health officials are continuing to urge all eligible Californians aged 5 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and for partially vaccinated individuals to complete their vaccination series. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an unvaccinated person is 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than a vaccinated person.

Humboldt County’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. Although walk-ins are allowed at most regular Public Health clinics and many pharmacy vaccination sites, a sharp increase in demand for boosters has caused delays at some locations. As a result, appointments are required for pediatric clinics and for clinics at Public Health’s main office. Appointments are strongly recommended for all other clinics and are the best way to ensure a shot is available during your visit. Appointments can be made at MyTurn.ca.gov.

Vaccines, including boosters, are widely available at local pharmacies. To check the availability of a specific vaccine, visit the vaccines.gov page, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a nearby pharmacy offering vaccines.

See the schedule below for specific vaccination and testing clinic dates, times, locations and available services:

Trinidad — Thursday, Nov. 18, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Petrolia — Friday, Nov. 19, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Mattole Resource Center (167 Sherman St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Honeydew Family Clinic — Friday, Nov. 19, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Arcata Family Clinic – Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Redway – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 W Coast Rd.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Miranda Family Clinic – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Appointment required. No testing available.
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11. Pfizer only.
Appointment required. No testing available.

View the Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download data from a previous time.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 1-707-441-5000.


Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination: MyTurn.ca.gov
Check for vaccine availability at a local pharmacy: Vaccines.gov
Local COVID-19 vaccine information: humboldtgov.org/VaccineInfo
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/Dashboard
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert
###

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PG&E Reactor Officially Decommissioned, Nuclear Waste Not

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 2:01 PM

The Humboldt Bay Nuclear Plant operated at King Salmon from 1963 to 1976 and has taken $1.1 billion to decommission. - FILE
  • File
  • The Humboldt Bay Nuclear Plant operated at King Salmon from 1963 to 1976 and has taken $1.1 billion to decommission.
PG&E’s Humboldt Nuclear Power Plant reactor site was deemed fully cleaned up by the Nucle ar Regulatory Commission today. While the federal government no longer has oversight over that part of the site — “none at all,” said commission spokesperson David McIntyre — the spent fuel and other radioactive waste, however, remains under federal jurisdiction.

The former reactor site has no requirement to be monitored for radiation. “There’s no need for it. There’s no accident scenario” in which a radiation release to the environment from that part of PG&E’s plant could occur, according to McIntyre. It could, according to regulators, even be used for farming.

PG&E is required to maintain the area above Buhne Point where spent fuel is stored, “until fuel is removed,” McIntyre said. That means the utility is responsible for “physical security, mostly fences and guards,” he added.

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COVID Sidelines Arcata High Tigers' Championship Run

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 12:11 PM

The Arcata High School Tigers are now the second local football team to have to forfeit a playoff game due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

The team was scheduled to have the home field advantage Saturday against the Justin-Siena High School Braves, which hail from Napa, and was one game away from a shot at the North Coast Section Football Championship title.

“I talked to a lot of our seniors and they’re devastated,” Arcata head coach Jamal Jones told HumboldtSports. “This is a year we felt we could challenge and make a run for a state title.”

Read more of the article here.

South Fork’s football team, the Cubs, also had to forfeit their Nov. 12 game at North Coast Section playoffs due to the outbreak and a few days later Southern Humboldt Unified School District officials shutdown both the high school and Miranda Junior High School until after the Thanksgiving break.

According to a Nov. 14 letter from SHUSD Superintendent Stephanie Steffano-Davis, school staff were conducting contract tracing to contain the spread of virus.

“The outbreak has been linked to gatherings unrelated to school which some of our students attended,” Steffano-Davis states in the letter.

Editor's note: This story was updated from a previous version to correct the scheduled date of the now forfeited playoff game. The Journal regrets the error.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Public Health Confirms 24 New COVID-19 Cases, New Hospitalization

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2021 at 3:40 PM

Humboldt County Public Health Microbiologist Annayal Yikum prepares patient samples for the COVID-19 testing process. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Humboldt County Public Health Microbiologist Annayal Yikum prepares patient samples for the COVID-19 testing process.
Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 24 new COVID-19 cases today — making 116 so far this week — along with one new hospitalization.

Today's cases — which come on the heels of 204 confirmed last week — come after laboratories processed 133 samples with a test-positivity rate of 18 percent. After recording a test-positivity rate of 10.1 percent in July — the highest for any month since the pandemic began — the rate in Humboldt County jumped to 15.9 percent in August and 15.2 percent in September. In October, it dipped to 12.1 percent and, through the first 17 days of the month, it sits at 14.3 percent in November, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.4 percent).

Public Health also reported today that local vaccinators have administered 1,203 doses of vaccine over the past week, with 520 residents having newly become fully vaccinated.

New countywide masking and quarantine orders, meanwhile, went into effect Nov. 8.

Earlier this month, the county issued a provider alert warning that the greater Fortuna area is seeing case rates higher than those of the rest of the county, while its vaccination rates continue to trail those of other parts of the county, as well.

A state database show nine people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, with two under intensive care. The local hospital census peaked Sept. 3 with 42 COVID-19 patients.

The Food and Drug Administration recently authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5 to 11 years old and local pharmacies and pediatricians have begun making appointments, while Public Health announced it will hold several pediatric and family vaccination clinics — with the first pediatric clinic scheduled tomorrow in Eureka — for children ages 5 to 11. Appointments will be required and can be made on the state’s www.MyTurn.ca.gov vaccination portal. Boosters will not be available at these clinics.

"Pediatric clinics will offer vaccine to children ages 5 to 11 only. Family clinics give priority to children ages 5 to 11, but parents and guardians of children who are getting vaccinated can receive any dose of the COVID-19 vaccine," a news release states. "Due to a sharp increase in demand, walk-ins are not allowed at family and pediatric clinics for children ages 5 to 11 at this time."

Public Health also reported recently that health officials are urging all eligible residents to get COVID-19 booster shots after federal regulators accepted recommendations recently to expand booster options to Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. (For more information on who is booster eligible, click here.)

Moderna boosters can be administered to those 65 years and older, those residing in long-term care facilities, people 50 and older with underlying medical conditions putting at them of increased risk and those at increased risk of exposure and transmission due to high-risk work setting, who received their initial vaccination six months or more ago. All residents age 18 and older who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can receive a booster dose if at has been at least two months since their initial dose.

Public Health reported Friday that Humboldt's seven-day average case rate is currently at 14, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, 14 residents tested positive for the virus daily over the last seven days but varies by vaccination status.

case_rate_graf.jpg

The current seven-day average case rate for fully vaccinated individuals is 13 per 100,000 residents per day, while the average daily case rate for unvaccinated individuals is 16 per 100,000 residents. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph here.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently published a study indicating unvaccinated individuals are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than their fully vaccinated counterparts.

National, state and local health officials advise that vaccination remains incredibly safe and effective protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COIVD-19, and the county has a host of no-cost clinics scheduled over the next week.

Arcata – Thursday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Arcata Transit Center (925 E St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available

Trinidad — Thursday, Nov. 18, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available

Petrolia — Friday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Mattole Resource Center (167 Sherman St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Honeydew Family Clinic — Friday, Nov. 19, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Arcata Family Clinic – Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Redway – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 W Coast Rd.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Miranda Family Clinic – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Ages 5-18 and family members.
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna PCR and rapid testing available
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Appointment required. No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11. Pfizer only.
Appointment required. No testing available.

Today's confirmed cases bring the county's total to 9,769 with 441 hospitalizations and 117 COVID-19 related deaths.

Nationwide, more than 47.2 million cases have been confirmed with 762,994 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 4.7 million cases and 72,718 related deaths have been confirmed in California, according to the Department of Public Health.

The county’s test positivity rate has gone from 3.6 percent in November, to 7.3 percent in December and 9.9 percent in January, before dropping to 6.5 percent in February. In March, it dropped to 4.5 percent before inching back up to 5.9 percent in April. In May, it jumped to 8.3 percent but fell back to 5.9 percent in June. In July, it rose to 10.1 percent before jumping to 15.9 percent in August and 15.2 percent in September before dipping to 12.3 percent last month.

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 assessing risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found 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 JIC's report below.

Nov. 17, 2021 - 1 Hospitalization, 24 New Cases Reported
Humboldt County Public Health reported today 24 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 9,769 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. One hospitalization of a resident in their 30s was also reported.

To strengthen immunity against COVID-19 heading into the winter months and holidays, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is encouraging all eligible Californians — from young children to grandparents — to get vaccinated or get boosters.

CDPH is working to update its vaccination appointment portal My Turn to broaden booster availability at vaccination clinics for all adults in the state. The changes to My Turn are expected to be completed this week.

The move follows the recently updated state guidance that recommends boosters for all adults aged 18 and older — as long as it’s been at least six months since their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months since their Johnson & Johnson shot.

As of Tuesday, Public Health and other local vaccinators have administered a total of 161,109 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Local vaccination data has been updated on the Humboldt County Data Dashboard (humboldtgov.org/dashboard). Highlights include:

Since the last weekly report, 1,203 vaccine doses have been administered, and 520 additional residents have completed their vaccine series.
A total of 80,761 residents, or approximately 68% of the county’s population aged 12 and older, are fully vaccinated. About 7,800 residents, or 6% of the population aged 12 and older, are partially vaccinated as of Tuesday.
Public Health officials continue to stress that vaccination is one of the best tools to end the COVID-19 pandemic and completion of the vaccine series offers the highest protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death.

Humboldt County’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. Although walk-ins are allowed at most regular Public Health clinics and many pharmacy vaccination sites, a sharp increase in demand for boosters has caused delays at some locations. As a result, appointments are required for pediatric clinics and for clinics at Public Health’s main office. Appointments are strongly recommended for all other clinics and are the best way to ensure a shot is available during your visit. Appointments can be made on the state’s MyTurn.ca.gov vaccination portal.

Vaccines, including boosters, are widely available at local pharmacies. To check the availability of a specific vaccine, visit the vaccines.gov page, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a nearby pharmacy offering vaccines.

See the schedule below for specific vaccination and testing clinic dates, times, locations and available services:

Arcata – Thursday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Arcata Transit Center (925 E St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Trinidad — Thursday, Nov. 18, 4 to 7 p.m.
Trinidad Town Hall (409 Trinity St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Petrolia — Friday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Mattole Resource Center (167 Sherman St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Honeydew Family Clinic — Friday, Nov. 19, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Arcata Family Clinic – Saturday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Arcata High School (1720 M St.)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Redway – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon
Redwoods Rural Health Center (101 W Coast Rd.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Miranda Family Clinic – Sunday, Nov. 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
South Fork High School (6831 Avenue of the Giants)
Ages 5-18 and family members
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
PCR and rapid testing available
Appointments strongly recommended

Eureka — Monday, Nov. 22, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
Appointment required. No testing available
$25 gift card for adults receiving a first or second dose
Appointments required

Eureka Pediatric Clinic — Tuesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
Public Health Main Office (529 I St.)
Ages 5 to 11. Pfizer only.
Appointment required. No testing available.

View the Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download data from a previous time.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 1-707-441-5000.

Sign up for COVID-19 vaccination: MyTurn.ca.gov
Check for vaccine availability at a local pharmacy: Vaccines.gov
Local COVID-19 vaccine information: humboldtgov.org/VaccineInfo
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/Dashboard
Follow us on Facebook: @HumCoCOVID19
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert
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