Humboldt County has hit a rough patch in efforts to control COVID-19: A church “superspreader event” has coincided with the discovery of a variant and a dropoff in vaccination rates.
Still, the county’s health officials says it’s unlikely it will be forced to revert to a more restrictive tier of COVID regulations.
During a news briefing Wednesday, Humboldt County Public Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman attributed the spike in local cases, in part, to an event this month at Eureka the Pentecostal Church.
“We have now over 40 cases that were linked to that specific event and dozens more that have come from the interactions of people from that event with others in our community,” Hoffman said.
According to public health spokesperson Meriah Miracle, 10 people infected by the church event were hospitalized and 10 others visited the emergency room but were not admitted.
A public statement last week from the leaders of the Eureka church said that they did not know whether the outbreak was related to a service or “from outside gatherings amongst church congregants, many who are family.”
The church shut down all its public gatherings and set up testing for its members.
In other news from the county’s public health agency:
• The first case in Humboldt County of the B.1.1.7. variant was announced this week. Hoffman said he suspects that there are “many more” because of the variant’s rapid spread.
The one identified case was not associated with a large event or travel, he said. “We suspect that this has been circulating in our community for probably at least the last month, if not longer,” he added.
• Since the beginning of April, vaccine clinics have seen a large decline in traffic. “We are having a huge slump in people getting vaccinated,” said Lindsey Mendez, a member of the county’s Vaccine Task Force. Mendez attributed declining vaccination rates to the “adjustment period” following the shift to the state’s vaccine sign-up form, My Turn.
Latest figures show 28% of eligible Humboldt County residents are fully vaccinated and 44% have had at least one dose. Those are close to the percentages for the state as a whole.
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Hoffman acknowledged the community’s fear that this most recent superspreader event could force the county back into a more restrictive tier but said, “I don’t …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment
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