Humboldt County Public Health confirmed two new COVID-19 cases today, making 24 for the week, and the Joint Information Center raised the county’s overall alert level to 3.
The county alert level — which ranges from Level 1 to Level 4 — is based on three factors officials believe help gauge individual and community risk: the rate of spread of COVID-19 illness, local healthcare capacity and the effectiveness of disease control efforts, like quarantine, testing and contact investigations.
(Watch Humboldt County Deputy Public Health Officer Josh Ennis explain the assessment in the video here and take questions from the media about it here.)
Level 3 is described as: “High risk — many cases with conditions for community spread, with many undetected cases likely. Limit everyday activities to increase safety.”
According to a press release, the county’s level raised due to recent increases in case counts per 100,000 residents measured over a 14-day period. (Humboldt has seen 44 total cases confirmed over the past 14 days, or roughly 32 per 100,000 residents.) Although the increase by itself does not place Humboldt County on the state’s monitoring, which would trigger additional business closures and modifications, Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich expressed concern in a press release over this recent trend and said it needs to change.
“It becomes increasingly important right now that people are actually helping by using facial coverings, social distancing, hand sanitizing and staying close to home,” Frankovich said. “In order to bring our case rate down, protect our community and allow us to remain off the county monitoring list, we really need to cooperate as a community and drop those numbers.”
Humboldt County is in the midst of a case spike that has seen 72 new cases confirmed this month, as rates of infection and hospitalizations have surged elsewhere in the state and nation. Nationwide, 4 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed, including 143,868 fatalities, with 1,113 of them confirmed today. California is also seeing a surge in cases, confirming 12,040 new ones yesterday for a total of 425,616 to date, including 8,027 deaths.
To date, the county has seen 205 local cases, including 17 hospitalizations and four fatalities, all of them of residents at Alder Bay Assisted Living.
The spike in confirmed cases also comes as Humboldt County has seen growing challenges with testing. The OptumServe testing site set up at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds through a partnership with the state has been a growing source of frustration, as a huge increase in statewide demand and supply chain issues have caused regular delays of a week or more in getting test results. These delays pose problems for contact investigators and public health officials looking to contain clusters of the virus.
On July 13, Newsom announced one of the first major walk-back of post shutdown re-opening in the country, ordering all bars to shutter and restaurants, movie theaters, zoos, museums and wineries to cease all indoor operations.
The county unveiled a new “overall alert level” risk assessment tool as a part of its dashboard last Thursday, putting the county at “Level 2,” which means “moderate risk — moderate number of cases with majority of cases from a known source. Increase efforts to limit personal exposure.” The levels stretch from 1 —(“New normal — cases are somewhat sporadic, and contact tracing can be used to control the virus”) to Level 4 (“Very high risk — widespread outbreak that is growing with many undetected cases.”). Watch Humboldt County Deputy Public Health Officer Josh Ennis explain the assessment in the video here.
Humboldt County Public Health is urging residents who aren’t experiencing symptoms to get tested free of charge at the mobile testing site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. (People experiencing symptoms should contact a healthcare provider, officials say.) Asymptomatic individuals can make an appointment to be tested by visiting https://Lhi.care/covidtesting or calling (888) 634-1123. Tests will be administered free of charge, whether or not people have health insurance.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at email@example.com 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 and view its case dashboard here:
Humboldt County’s confirmed COVID-19 case count now stands at 205, after two new cases were reported today.
The Humboldt County Alert Level increased to level three due to recent increases in case counts per 100,000 residents as measured over a 14-day period. Although the increase does not place us on the state’s County Monitoring List, which would trigger additional business closures and modifications, Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich expressed concern over this recent trend and said it needs to change.
“It becomes increasingly important right now that people are actually helping by using facial coverings, social distancing, hand sanitizing and staying close to home,” Dr. Frankovich said. “In order to bring our case rate down, protect our community and allow us to remain off the county monitoring list, we really need to cooperate as a community and drop those numbers.”
Visit humboldtgov.org/dashboard to view the county’s Alert Level Assessment tool. For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or during business hours by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 707-441-5000.
Humboldt County COVID-19 Data Dashboard: humboldtgov.org/dashboard,
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Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert