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To the residents of Humboldt County:
COVID-19 is a stealthy opponent. Its ability to spread easily from people who do not even know they are ill, along with its heightened severity among those of us who are older or have chronic conditions, make it a powerful threat to many in our community, particularly those who reside in long-term care facilities.
I am saddened to report our community’s first loss of life due to COVID-19. The individual was an elderly resident of the Alder Bay facility. Our hearts go out to the resident’s family, friends, caregivers and all who are mourning the loss.
The outbreak and this death strengthen our resolve to fight this virus with all that we have.
In spite of our best efforts, careful planning and periodic screening of staff, COVID-19 may gain entrance to another facility before we are through with this pandemic. When it does, we will again bring every resource to bear in order to ensure that the facility’s internal plans are supported by additional protective equipment, aggressive testing and whatever additional assistance can be offered. But once the virus is carried into a facility, transmission is very difficult to control as we have seen across many areas of the state and country.
In Humboldt County, we have all felt the impact of lost jobs, social distancing and the disruption of much of our normal day-to-day lives. Until now, however, we have been relatively sheltered from the illness and loss of life that is an unavoidable part of this pandemic.
We must all remember that there is a cost of staying as we are and a cost of moving forward out of shelter in place. I ask every resident in Humboldt to help move us forward as safely as possible, together, and with a sense of purpose to protect each other, especially those who are most vulnerable.
This is a time to teach our children what it means to sacrifice for each other and what it means to truly love our neighbors. The cost of not doing so is far too high.
Teresa L. Frankovich, MD, MPHHumboldt County Health Officer