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Humboldt Health Alert

Posted on: October 22, 2021

Oct. 22, 2021 - 1 Death, 2 Hospitalizations, 33 New Cases Reported

Humboldt County Public Health reported today the death of a resident in their 70s from COVID-19. Staff in the Department Operations Center extend their condolences to the person’s family, friends and caregivers.

The hospitalization of two residents in their 70s was also reported, as well as 33 new cases, bringing to 9,179 the total number of residents who have tested positive for the virus.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accepted its advisory panel’s recommendations to approve Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters. The CDC’s new recommendations for the Moderna booster are in line with those for the Pfizer booster and are as follows:

People who are eligible may get the Moderna booster six months or more after their initial two-shot vaccination series.

The CDC also endorsed the recommendation for a second Johnson & Johnson dose for adults age 18 or older at least two months after the first shot. In addition, the CDC agreed to the “mixing and matching” of vaccine types, allowing anyone eligible for a booster dose to receive a brand different from the one they received initially.

The CDC endorsement is the final federal hurdle in the approval process. Next, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup and the California Department of Public Health will make their own recommendations and offer guidance for how the boosters will be rolled out in the state.

As the winter months approach, the CDPH reaffirmed its commitment to universal masking in K-12 school settings to prevent COVID-19 in schools and protect students’ health.

“Now is not the time to let our guard down,” noted Dr. Mark Ghaly, 

California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, and Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer, in a joint statement yesterday.

“From day one, California has stepped up with policies that keep our children and school staff safe. Universal masking, combined with vaccination measures and access to regular testing, have been key to the state’s nation-leading success in keeping schools open,” the statement read.

Since the last weekly data update on Oct. 15, the county has recorded 164 new cases of COVID-19. Three deaths were reported during that same period, including a fully vaccinated person in their 70s. Of the 10 hospitalizations reported over the last week, three were fully vaccinated and seven were unvaccinated. Age ranges of reported hospitalizations are as follows:

  • 1 person under age 10
  • 1 person in their 30s
  • 1 person in their 40s
  • 3 people in their 60s
  • 3 people in their 70s
  • 1 person age 80 or older

The seven-day average case rate in Humboldt County is currently about 15, meaning that for every 100,000 residents, just under 15 residents tested positive daily over the last seven days. The average case rate varies considerably depending on vaccination status, as illustrated by the graph below, depicting average weekly case rates since Dec. 2020 in unvaccinated and fully vaccinated residents.

Chart showing case rates (per 100K) since December 2020 with the unvaccinated case rate at 21, vaccinated at zero. Unvaccinated case rates climb to 29 in January, down as low as three in April, then up to 26 in mid-May, while vaccinated case rates never exceeded three. On June 15, when COVID restrictions were lifted, the unvaccinated case rate was 13 and vaccinated case rate was zero. Then by mid-July, cases for everyone began to climb. On Aug. 7, a local mask mandate was put back into place requiring all individuals over the age of 2 to wear a facial covering in public indoor settings and crowded outdoor settings. The local case rate for unvaccinated people rose to a high of 83 residents per 100,000 but has since declined to 21. The case rate for fully vaccinated individuals reached a high of 29 in early August and has declined to 8.

The current seven-day average case rate for vaccinated individuals is 8 per 100,000 residents, while the case rate for unvaccinated residents is more than twice as high at 21 per 100,000. Though case rates have fallen from their peaks during the summer surge, rates for the vaccinated group remain higher than any time prior to the summer surge. The case rate for the unvaccinated group has also declined in October, but is still as high as the rate during a winter peak in December. View a more detailed depiction of the case rate graph.

Residents, particularly those who are unvaccinated, are advised to get tested if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Testing is available through OptumServe seven days a week at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka and at mobile sites throughout the county most weekdays. For more information about testing, go to humboldtgov.org/covidtestregistration.

On Tuesdays, OptumServe will offer mobile testing on an alternating basis in Trinidad and Garberville. On Oct. 26 it will be held at the Trinidad City Hall testing site located at 409 Trinity St. and runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The site will be closed from 11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m. OptumServe’s mobile testing site in Garberville will be held the same hours on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at Jerold Phelps Hospital at 733 Cedar St.

Due to the increasing use of at-home tests for COVID-19, Public Health recommends residents report positive test results so transmission of the virus in the community can be better identified and people can be connected with needed resources.

Those with a positive at-home test for COVID-19 should isolate and notify their close contacts to limit the spread of disease. False positive test results are unlikely when an antigen test is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, according to the CDC’s antigen testing guidance page. Public Health officials stress that positive at-home test results should be reported to a health care provider or to Public Health if there is no provider.

Individuals who require documentation of test results for employment or travel may get PCR testing through Public Health or their health care providers. PCR follow-up testing for an at-home rapid test is most accurate 24 to 48 hours after an initial at-home positive test. For more information, visit the Humboldt County Home-Testing FAQ, or call the Joint Information Center at 707-441-5000.

The county’s vaccination and testing services are available free of charge. Residents who receive their first or second dose of vaccine at a Public Health office in Eureka, Willow Creek or Garberville can choose a $25 Renner Petroleum or Coming Attractions Theatres gift card. Incentives are offered on a first-come, first-served basis at those locations only.

Appointments for Public Health vaccination clinics are not required but are recommended due to an increase in demand for additional doses and boosters. Sign up in advance at MyTurn.ca.gov. For instructions in English and Spanish on how to use My Turn, go to humboldtgov.org/VaccineInfo.

See the schedule below for specific clinic dates, times, locations and available services:

McKinleyville — Saturday, Oct. 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
     McKinleyville High School (1300 Murray Road)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
     PCR and rapid testing available 

Rio Dell — Sunday, Oct. 24, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
     Dollar General (44 W. Davis St.)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
     PCR and rapid testing available 

Fortuna — Sunday, Oct. 24, 3 to 5 p.m.
     Veterans Hall (1426 Main St.)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
     PCR and rapid testing available 

Eureka — Monday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
     Public Health Main (529 I St.)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
     No testing available
     $25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose 

Willow Creek — Tuesday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
     Public Health Office (77 Walnut Way)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
     PCR and rapid testing available
     $25 gift card for those receiving a first or second dose 

Garberville — Wednesday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed from noon to 1 p.m.
     Public Health (727 Cedar St.)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna 
     PCR and rapid testing available

Petrolia — Friday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
     Mattole Resource Center (167 Sherman St.)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
     PCR and rapid testing available 

Honeydew — Friday, Oct. 29, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
     Honeydew Elementary School (1 Wilder Ridge Road)
     Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson/Moderna
     PCR and rapid testing available

Check availability of a specific vaccine at local pharmacies at vaccines.gov, or text a ZIP code to 438829 to locate a nearby pharmacy offering vaccines.

Pfizer is authorized for those 12 and older, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older. County residents age 16 and 17 can receive a vaccination at a Public Health clinic without a parent or guardian physically present as long as they have a signed consent form. Children under 16 still must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.

View the Data Dashboard online at humboldtgov.org/dashboard, or go to humboldtgov.org/DashboardArchives to download data from a previous time.

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us 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
Instagram: @HumCoCOVID19
Twitter: @HumCoCOVID19
Humboldt Health Alert: humboldtgov.org/HumboldtHealthAlert
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OCT 22 COVID Update (PDF)
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