Earlier today, Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman took questions from the media about the epidemic’s management of the epidemic: Why haven’t public contact-finding figures come in over the past few weeks? How does his department handle the workload associated with the rise of new cases? Can mortuary workers get vaccinated? Were there other workplace explosions at the Prius Assist-Life facility? Will his office release the names of the deceased?
(To that last question, Hoffman would quickly answer “no,” which may be inadvertently a technology. In the past, the Coroner’s Office – not public health – has released questionable information.)
Video above, rough transcript below.
The Lost Ghost Outpost asks, “Can you tell me what’s going on with the‘ Transmission Type ’stats on the County Dashboard? In the last 30 days, 770 new COVID cases have been confirmed in the county. During the same period, only 60 cases were officially reduced due to contact or travel. Meanwhile, the number of cases listed “under investigation” has risen to 768 – more than the number of known, active cases in the county. Given that there were 70 cases related to the Granada eruption during the same period, from December 1 to the present, how can the Dashboard classify 14 more infections by contacting a known case? ”
This is a big question. Everyone looks at the dashboard and is very happy to use it.
We can clarify this. So on December 1st we went to a state based organization called Calconnect which is a way to do communication tracking and investigation in a more organized way. Of course that training and transition time went away from some of the other work we were doing, including how to keep track of all this and put it on the dashboard.
So, my understanding is that there is a backlink of some of the events we are working on to get that 600 information. We know the information, we need to attach it and put it in the right place so we can put it on the dashboard, which is done next week.
What I am saying is, you know, yes, we know what most of our cases are, and the vast majority of them are related to the known case. Travel related cases are still minor and of course we know that meetings are coming up in the majority of our cases. So, look for that update soon, which we have been working on for the past week and move on to next week.
The Lost Ghost Outpost asks, “What does public health do to detect the development of the disease in people who are actively fighting the virus? What evidence should you bring with you in tracking active events? With more than 500 known, active cases, do you see that public health has not been able to do this job to the extent it should or has not before? ”
Yes, the very big question involves what we do here in public health and what is our role in those with COVID-19. So our first role is to actually identify the incidence of COVID-19, and we get it directly from the state and the organizations that monitor laboratory results, and our teams contact people who are positive for COVID-19 so they can find out what kind of risks they have for spreading the disease. They also provide a lot of information on how they can isolate themselves at home, who their contacts are, and help define the period in which they were infected, and how they may have been in contact with others. They give information about how they get medical help, but I will be clear that we do not provide any medical service for cases. We encourage people to seek care from their doctor or if they need emergency services. Its next part is actually identifying contacts and engaging those individuals in isolation. We did more than that when the case number on the casket was small. We had to give it up, and a month ago we started talking to people about this news and we were going to provide them with information about isolating low risk cases by contacting their own contacts. So here we are right now. We are constantly in touch with each case of COVID-19, and we continue to provide them with information about COVID-19, how to isolate them, and how to keep their contacts in isolation, and we look for contacts for high-risk organizations.
The Times-Standard asks, “What guidance has the government provided to vaccinate mortuary staff associated with COVID positive organizations?”
Yes, I do not see specific guidance on individuals working with COVID positive systems, but you know we have guidance for the three layers in phase 1a, and all three layers are included in layer 3 laboratory workers, so I think we will place that with layer 3. We’ll look at it, but I’ll put it in the same section as someone who works in a lab. So look for that guidance and let people know if you get anything more about it.
The Times-Standard asks, “How long can a virus pass after a person dies?”
I have to say I don’t know the answer to that. I do not know if there is any study or conclusive evidence about it. We have recommendations for using PPE with a COVID positive body, and all of those individuals should be proficient in it and use full PPE.
The Times-Standard asks, “Have any other Prius facilities in Humboldt County been affected by the explosion in Granada?”
Therefore, we do not know of any other facility by that company in Humboldt County. Many of our skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities have a case per worker, but no explosions have occurred. So there were no other eruptions in Humboldt County.
The Times-Standard asks, “Are residents or staff in Granada vaccinated?”
No, they are not. We are now working on a plan to get the vaccines started there as soon as they are isolated, and in the next round we will get them and all the skilled nursing facilities.
The Times-Standard asks, “Previously the names of deaths related to COVID-19 have been released. More names will be released at any time. If not, why not? ”
Public Health has not released the names of those who have died since COVID-19, and we have no plans to do so in the future.