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COVID-19 and Humboldt

(VIDEO) There Are Three or Four Active Chains of COVID Transmission in Humboldt Right Now, County Health Officer Says

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It’s a Dr. Frankovich day! The county health officer once again sat down to answer a list of questions from local media outlets. Watch the video above or read the questions and summaries below.

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Why are nail salons not included in the state’s guidelines for early reopening  since they do not involve touching a customer’s face? (0:08)

Frankovich agrees that there’s “a little bit of a problematic distinction, frankly,” between nail salons and, say, hair salons. She speculates that there was concern about the extended time in close contact, including touching hands. Neither hair salons nor nail salons are allowed to open here in Humboldt yet.

Have health officials determined how the first infectious staff member at Alder Bay contracted the virus? And what’s being done to prevent such outbreaks in the future? (0:57) 

The case was attributed to “community transmission,” meaning there’s no identified source of infection, Frankovich says. The virus is circulating in the community, putting health care workers and others at risk. County health officials are encouraging senior housing facilities to screen employees and put preventative measures in place within the facilities. 

Have you seen any trends in the demographics of who is catching and surviving COVID-19 here in Humboldt? (2:05)

As with other parts of the country, people who are older and/or have underlying health conditions are at greater risk, Frankovich says. 

What safety protocols would you recommend to places of worship and dine-in restaurants planing to reopen? (2:31)

“A few things,” Frankovich says. Social distancing, cleaning and, at places of worship, a sign-in sheet are all encouraged. The latter will allow the county to perform contact tracing in the case of an outbreak. There’s “pretty comprehensive guidance” available for restaurant owners, but regardless, Frankovich asks seniors and other at-risk folks to “strongly consider whether it might be better to stay at home” during this stage of the pandemic.

What are the risks posed by an influx of cannabis industry workers and what mitigation measures can be taken? (4:02)

There’s guidance available for the agriculture industry, Frankovich says. New arrivals to the area are obligate to follow state and local regulations, including quarantining themselves for 14 days after getting here. Better yet, don’t bring in outsiders at all. “I think employers really do have an obligation to protect their workers and the community by making sure safety measures are implemented,” she says.

What kinds of therapies and treatments are local infected patients undergoing, and how many ICU beds are currently filled? How many hospitalizations have we had? Have ventilators been used? (5:05)

Both remdesivir and convalescent plasma are available therapeutic options in the county, Frankovich says. A dozen hospitalizations have been reported thus far, and there have been local cases requiring ICU beds and ventilators. 

Among active cases, how many unlinked chains of transmission have been identified in the county? What’s the origin of each, and how many confirmed cases have been linked to each? (5:55)

Case investigations evolve over time, she says. There are currently either three or four chains identified. “We are still trying to definitively make that decision between the third and fourth,” Frankovich says. The county hasn’t specifically identified the number of cases in each chain, but some have had at least 10 cases tied to the original contact case. 

How many of the current cases have been linked to types of travel and gathering that are now allowed under loosened shelter restrictions? (6:47)

“First I want to point out that we are not allowing gatherings under the current shelter-in-place order,” Frankovich says. The governor has made allowances for places of worship and protests, as have local officials, but that’s it. At least two of the county’s current chains of infection are related to travel, she says, “and we’ve had multiple contacts from both of those chains that have become ill.”

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