CDC relaxes masking recommendations, but not in ‘high’ Humboldt risks

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  • CDC
  • US county risk levels according to new CDC measurements, with orange meaning “high” risk, yellow meaning “medium” and green meaning “low”.

The US Centers for Disease Control has revamped its COVID-19 risk level criteria, reversing masking recommendations for much of the country. Humboldt County, however, remains in the CDC’s “high” risk level, with the agency’s masking recommendation remaining firmly in place locally.

The CDC’s new measures take into account the high national levels of vaccination and the population’s natural immunity to infection, as well as the reduced risks of severe illness and death from the Omicron variant. As such, the agency’s new criteria look at a combination of three measures to assess risk: the number of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents in the last seven days, the percentage of beds number of inpatient hospitals occupied by COVID-19 patients and the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days.

The new measures reduced more than half of U.S. counties home to 70% of the nation’s population to “low” or “medium” risk levels, though Humboldt was unsuccessful.

Given that Humboldt County has confirmed more than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days, it should have less than 10 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the past seven days. and using an average of less than 10 percent of its staffed hospital beds on COVID-19 patients over a seven-day period. According to the CDC, these thresholds have not been met and the county remains in the high-risk category.

Humboldt County Public Health reported 404 new cases of COVID-19 in the seven-day period ending Feb. 24, or 299 per 100,000 population. During the same period, public health reported eight new hospitalizations related to COVID-19, or 5.9 per 100,000 population. According to a state database, 14 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Humboldt County, which would represent about 5% of the county’s total hospital beds – but it’s unclear what percentage of the total number. of Humboldt County beds is staffed at this point, as local health officials have increasingly warned of staffing shortages throughout the pandemic.

Given its “high” risk status according to CDC measurements, the agency recommends the following in Humboldt County:

— Everyone wears a properly fitted mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, including K-12 schools
— Individuals who are immunocompromised or at high risk of severe illness wear an N95 or KN95 mask or respirator which provides better protection and consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public
— Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and reminders
– Continue to follow CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including testing if exposed or symptomatic