Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 19 new COVID-19 cases today — making 84 this week — after laboratories processed 210 samples with a test-positivity rate of 9 percent.
For the second consecutive day this week, no new hospitalizations were reported. According to a state database, six people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including two under intensive care.
In the county’s press release, the Rural Association of Northern California Health Officers issued a statement urging residents to get vaccinated.
“The science and the evidence are clear that [the vaccines] are safe, effective and are protecting those who they have vaccinated,” it read.
The press release also includes six pervasive myths about COVID-19 vaccines and the facts that dispel them. (See press release below for details.)
Over the past week, local officials have been warning that residents age 19 and younger are increasingly accounting for case spread locally amid an upwelling in cases of the Delta variant, which now accounts for one in four infections nationally. The Delta variant is believed to be more contagious than other COVID-19 varieties and to result in more severe illness.
On the vaccination front, the county reported Tuesday that roughly 55 percent of the eligible local population is are now fully vaccinated. Sixty-two percent of eligible residents have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to a press release.
All of the Public Health vaccinations clinics scheduled this week will include the one-shot Johnson & Johnson and the Pfizer vaccine, the only one authorized for those 12 to 17.
Ferndale – Tuesday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Humboldt County Fairgrounds (1250 Fifth St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Redcrest – Wednesday, July 14, from noon to 3:30 p.m. Redcrest Community Center (115 Sorenson Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Eureka — Thursday, July 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Betty Chinn Center (133 Seventh St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Eureka — Friday, July 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wharfinger Building (1 Marina Way) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
McKinleyville – Monday, July 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Azalea Hall (1620 Pickett Road) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Eureka – Tuesday, July 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eureka Boat Launch (1701 Waterfront Dr.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Fortuna – Wednesday, July 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. River Lodge Conference Center (1800 Riverwalk Dr.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Arcata – Thursday, July 22, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Arcata Transit Center (925 E St.) Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Last week, an advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found a likely link between certain mRNA vaccines and extremely rare instances of heart inflammation, which most commonly occurred in young men and ususally cleared itself or with minor treatment. Both the CDC and the FDA continue to recommendation vaccinations for those 12 and older.
To date, Humboldt County has confirmed 4,730 cases, with 218 hospitalizations and 53 confirmed COVID-19 related deaths.
The county dashboard lists 4,525 people as having “recovered” from the virus locally, though that just means they are no longer contagious and does not account for long-term health impacts, which local healthcare workers have told the Journal can be substantial, even in previously healthy patients.
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 has risen to 7.4 percent even as vaccinations have rendered fewer local resident susceptible to infection.
Nationwide, more than 33.8 million cases have been confirmed with 606,190 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Of those, 3.7 million cases and 63,598 related deaths have been confirmed in California, according to the Department of Public Health.
Meanwhile, the county’s Joint Information Center is urging locals to get tested, calling it “one of the most helpful things county residents can do for the community at large,” because it allows Public Health to catch cases early and limit spread. The state-run OptumServe testing site at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka is open seven days a week and no-cost appointments can be made by clicking here or calling (888) 634-1123 and other newly opened screening site information can be found here.
The Humboldt County Data Dashboard includes 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 the county. 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 [email protected] or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at [email protected] 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 release below:
Health officers from the Rural Association of Northern California Health Officers (RANCHO) issued a statement this week urging unvaccinated community members to reconsider their decisions to delay or forego getting vaccinated. “The science and the evidence are clear that [the vaccines] are safe, effective, and are protecting those who have been vaccinated,” they noted.
RANCHO, which includes health officers from 10 counties including Humboldt, released a statement July 14, addressing common misconceptions around vaccination that linger despite mounting scientific evidence.
“As your regional health officials, we view that as extremely concerning and would like to weigh in on some common myths,” they wrote.
Myth: “I have had the virus, so I won’t get it again.”
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines result in higher levels of protection, while immunity from past infection is unpredictable.
Myth: “Getting the vaccine is worse than getting COVID-19. Plus, I’m young and healthy.”
Fact: COVID-19 vaccination is much safer, effective and predictable than the infection, regardless of your age.
Myth: “The vaccine is experimental, and it was rushed into use.”
Fact: The science used to create COVID-19 vaccines is decades old, is not experimental and hundreds of millions of people who’ve received the vaccine are proof it is safe and effective.
Myth: “The vaccine will make me sterile.”
Fact: There is no data to support that COVID-19 vaccines reduce fertility.
Myth: “The vaccine will mess around with my DNA. Somebody is trying to rewrite our genetic code.”
Fact: COVID-19 vaccines can’t change your DNA. Their only long-lasting effect is to protect you from COVID-19 infection in the future.
Myth: “We don’t know what the long-term consequences of these vaccines are.”
Fact: Long-term adverse effects of the vaccine are unlikely, but we are definitely seeing long-term effects from COVID-19 infection itself, even in those who had mild to no symptoms.
RANCHO also reminds residents that getting vaccinated protects children who are too young to be vaccinated as well as community members who are immunocompromised.
To read further details dispelling common vaccination myths, see the complete RANCHO statement.
Vaccine continues to be readily available at Public Health clinics and at most local pharmacies. Walk-ins are welcome at all Public Health clinics, or sign up in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov. See the clinic schedule for the next seven days below.
McKinleyville – Monday, July 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Azalea Hall (1620 Pickett Road)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Eureka – Tuesday, July 20, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Eureka Boat Launch (1701 Waterfront Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Fortuna – Wednesday, July 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
River Lodge Conference Center (1800 Riverwalk Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Arcata – Thursday, July 22, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Arcata Transit Center (925 E St.)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
Redway – Friday, July 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dean Creek RV Park (4112 Redwood Drive)
Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for children as young as 12 years old. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is authorized for those 18 and older.
To check availability of these vaccines, as well as Moderna, at local pharmacies, visit vaccines.gov or text a ZIP code to 438829 to find a participating pharmacy nearby. Most pharmacies allow walk-ins.
View the Humboldt County Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download today’s data.
For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or by contacting [email protected] or calling 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
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert