The 20-29 age demographic represents the largest percentage of new COVID-19 cases locally, reflecting a national trend, at 22 percent or one in five infections, according to the most recent county data.
Those age 0 to 19 represent the second-highest positive age group locally at 21.5 percent, which is significantly higher than the national rate of 9 percent. Both group’s positivity rates have increased since the county began publicly reporting such data two months ago, which initially showed those in the age groups 30 to 39 and 60 to 69 with the highest rates.
Younger people who may be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms are fueling the increase in known COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization warned that young people are becoming the primary drivers of the spread of virus in many countries.
This transmission eventually contributes to increased exposures for older individuals who are at higher risk of serious disease and death, said Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich.
“While currently we’re seeing higher numbers in those on the younger end, we know the nature of this virus is to move more broadly across a community and impact other populations that are perhaps more vulnerable due to age and other preexisting conditions,” she said. “There’s more transmission potential as more people travel in and out of the county and gather with those outside their household unit.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and chest pain. However, about one in 20 local individuals who have tested positive for the virus report no symptoms at all, according to the most recent data, which Dr. Frankovich said can make it difficult to tell when someone has COVID.
“The virus relies on people, especially people congregating, in order to spread,” she said. “The best defense short of complete shelter in place at home is to limit movement outside your home as much as possible. And when you are out in the community, what we’ve been saying holds true — wear your facial covering in public, and even outdoors when distancing isn’t possible, maintain physical distancing and avoid gatherings. If we all do our due diligence in taking this seriously, we can reduce the spread of COVID in Humboldt.”
For the most up-to-date 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