Our Time of Personal Responsibility: In Todays Media Availability, Public Health Officer Talks About Californias Case Spike, COVID in Kids and Pets, Bars, More – Lost Coast Outpost

today’s media availability, Dr. Teresa Frankovich, Humboldt
County’s public health officer, starts
by issuing a warning. COVID-19
cases are spiking across the country, she notes, and certain areas of
California are experiencing very rapid growth.

are “huge lessons to be learned here,” Dr. Frankovich says. Our
day-to-day behavior is what is putting people at risks. It’s people
gathering between households. It seems safe, but it is not safe. The
more you mix between households, the more the virus spreads, and if
the virus starts spreading rapidly we are going to lose the progress
we’ve already made.

want schools to be open in the fall. We want businesses to be open.
But if things get bad, we’re going to have to walk things back.

is “absolutely essential” going forward. The mask is meant to
protect others. If everyone is wearing them, they will help protect

is our time of personal responsibility. Either we accept that this
virus is a problem and has the potential to make a lot of us very
sick, or we ignore it at our own peril.”

questions, with
a summary of her answers,


listener inquired: Is
COVID-19 transmitting from humans to pets? Do you know what can be
done to prevent that kind of virus transmission?

has been documentation of animals contracting COVID, but it doesn’t
seem to be a big issue right now, Dr. Frankovich says. There’s no
real evidence of transmission from pets to people. The CDC has some
guidance on how to handle animals if you are ill. Basically it’s
the same things you do to keep from transmitting the virus to other
people – handwashing, social distancing…

practices do you recommend to empower the immune system and stay

diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables. Plenty of activity and
outdoor exercise. Getting plenty of rest.

are the most common medical conditions that warrant an exemption, and
is DHHS providing any guidance to businesses on how to handle a
situation if someone refuses to wear a mask at their establishment?

a relatively few number of people,” says Dr. Frankovich. Some
people with very restrictive respiratory issues have problems, but
most people with COPD or asthma can wear a mask without problem.
Also: Some people with certain mental health issues have found masks
challenging. Sometimes a face shield is a good alternative.

for businesses? Call the Joint Information Center – (707) 441-5000.
They’re set up to provide this kind of advice.

direct flights from ACV to LAX resuming July 6th and Los Angeles
County just placed on the Governor’s coronavirus
watch list due to a spike in cases, is Public concerned at all
about people traveling specifically to/from that area (whether it be
residents flying in/out of the county, or outside people coming to
Humboldt to get away from other, more affected areas)?

has been a concern all along, says Dr. Frankovich, partly because we
are so isolated. But most people are coming in and out of the county
by car, and so airplane travel isn’t as much of a worry, actually.

date, most of our travel-related infections have been from our own
residents leaving the area and coming back. If you’re going on
vacation, don’t forget the basics – hand-washing, distancing,

bars in Humboldt County being able to now submit their reopening
plans and the recent announcement from the Governor about bars being
ordered to close in a number of other counties, is Public
thinking about the possibility of having to put those reopenings on
hold? Are you working more closely with bars to ensure their
reopening safely?

are, by their nature, a social setting. Dr. Frankovich says she has
reservations about them opening up. Essentially, bars – like all
businesses – need to follow the plan that they’ve filed with the
county. And if they don’t, they need to be held accountable.

county will be watching bar reopening closely.

you explain how information on COVID tests is determined okay to be
released? By what criteria is COVID-related information determined to
be “needed” to be disclosed as public information versus being
deemed unnecessary for the public and hence considered “wanted”

things fall into three baskets, Dr. Frankovich says.

The information that is really central
to the crisis.

The information that would be great to report, but which is very
difficult to acquire and report

Information people really want but that relates to patient privacy,
which they simply cannot provide. If someone’s hospitalized in Los
Angeles, it’s no problem to report that information – it’s
not identifiable. But in a smaller community, when you start talking
about people who have been hospitalized, or sent to an intensive care
unit, or on a ventilator, it starts to become more

says that privacy is a key preoccupation in the public health field.
“People need to feel confident that their information will be

an earlier response you noted the “disproportionate amount of
cases in our Latino community,” do you believe that a lack of
available information and direct outreach to undocumented community
members has impacted the local spread of COVID? Have you seen any
cases where community members have been reluctant to seek out health
services while suffering from COVID, due to immigration-related
concerns or fears?

have seen a disproportionate number of cases in the Latino community
here and statewide, Dr. Frankovich says. It’s a big concern. She
says that the Joint Information Center has been working hard to do
outreach to get information to people in their own languages, and in
various forms.

she hasn’t yet seen specific cases of immigration status as a
barrier here in Humboldt County. “I’m not aware of anyone who has
not sought care because of their immigration status,” she says.

have been conflicting national media reports over the past week about
the degree to which children may be susceptible to contracting and
spreading COVID-19. What is your understanding of the latest science
about how the disease does and does not impact children?

been hard to determine how often children get COVID-19, Dr.
Frankovich says. Kids are more likely to be asymptomatic and less
likely to be tested. Severe outcomes are rarer among children,
fortunately – though bad cases do exist – but hopefully increased
testing will help answer these questions.

to the county dashboard, 12 percent of local cases have been
confirmed in people age 19 or younger, which accounts for a far
higher percentage of cases than has been reported nationally by the
CDC. Do you have any theories as to why Humboldt County is seeing a
higher rate of cases in this age demographic?

vast majority of these cases – perhaps all of them – have been
contacts of known cases. The county has been really aggressive about
testing all contacts of known cases.

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