The number of residents testing for COVID-19 has dropped considerably in recent months as vaccination rates increase, leading health officials to push for continued testing.
“Testing is critical to reducing disease spread in the community,” said Hava Phillips, Public Health Clinic and Communicable Disease Program supervisor. “It’s a lot easier to spread a disease when you don’t know you have it.”
Testing in Humboldt County is offered at no charge seven days a week (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) at Redwood Acres in Eureka and is also available at various locations throughout the county each weekday. Walk-ins are welcome at all sites, and turnaround time for results averages 48 to 72 hours. See the full schedule below:
- Eureka – Seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Redwood Acres, 3750 Harris St.)
- Arcata – Mondays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Arcata Community Center, 321 M.L.K. Jr. Pkwy.)
- Garberville – Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (SoHum Health Sprowl Creek Campus, 286 Sprowl Creek Road)
- Fortuna – Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (River Lodge Conference Center, 1800 Riverwalk Drive)
- Hoopa – Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Tsewenaldin Inn, 12482 CA-96)
- McKinleyville – Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Azalea Hall, 1620 Pickett Road).
To schedule, go to lhi.care/covidtesting, or call 888-634-1123.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others. Currently, there are five variants of concern in California, which are thought to be more contagious or likely to cause greater illness or severe disease, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Also, while COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping people from getting COVID-19, the CDC is still learning how well vaccines prevent them from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if they do not have symptoms.
Additionally, a big concern among Public Health officials is that a vaccine-resistant variant will develop “before we are able to get it under control,” Phillips said.
“Viruses mutate easily, and if the mutations are significant enough, they can create a new variant,” she said, explaining that each person with COVID-19 may have viruses with a few different mutations. “But if people know they are sick and stay isolated, then none of those mutations have the chance to spread to anyone else, and the chance for a new variant decreases.”
New variants are found by looking at the virus found among positive tests. “When people don’t get tested it takes longer to identify that new variants are spreading, which slows down research and response,” Phillips said.
Fully vaccinated people should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19, especially following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, CDC states. If symptoms develop, all people — regardless of vaccination status — should isolate and be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including getting tested, if indicated.
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.
Some Safeway and CVS Pharmacy locations are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments. See if there are appointments available for your age group or sector at one of these locations by clicking on the links below.
CVS Pharmacy: https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine?icid=cvs-home-hero1-link2-coronavirus-vaccine.
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