In today’s media availability, Dr. Teresa Frankovich, Humboldt County’s health officer, took a myriad of questions — half an hour’s worth — from local reporters on various aspects of the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic — testing, schools reopening, contact tracing, the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment — but began with a short statement about the particular dangers of travel out of the county (or travel in) at this time.
Below: Questions from local media in the order they are asked of Dr. Frankovich in the video above.
1. Nearly 100 residents of the isolated community of Shelter Cove were tested for COVID-19 on Monday. What protocols would be set in place if a large percentage of those tests come back positive?
2. Yesterday, the county announced that they will be tripling testing capacity here locally with a machine that would allow you to run up to 250 test samples a day. With current issues regarding testing availability, scheduling an appointment, staffing issues, etc…will it even be possible for Public Health to collect that many samples each day? How will this new testing capacity impact testing turnaround time?
3. Yesterday it was announced that Humboldt County has tripled its testing capacity. Does this mean the turn-around time for test results will be quicker? If so, by how many days?
4. All it takes for the alert level to rise is one factor and the “spread of illness” is presently at three; what is the metric that shifts “moderately high burden” to “high burden,” “increasing spread” to “widespread transmission,” and “some outbreaks” to “many outbreaks”?
5. Now at ‘level 3’, at what point will Humboldt County have to roll-back on re-opening?
6. On the new county dashboard, can you explain what the epidemiological curve by episode graph/data represents? And what does this data mean in comparison to our total case count that is documented each day? How do both numbers depict the spread of the virus in Humboldt County?
7. According to the Humboldt County Dashboard, 0% of our black community members have tested positive for the virus. Is that true? Can you speculate as to why?
8. With the city of Eureka using social media to invite tourists to the area and an upcoming street art festival with out-of-area artists, are the county and Dr. Frankovich now welcoming visitors to Humboldt County? Previously, tourism was discouraged. How is this different from having traveling sports teams coming?
9. Yesterday, the Fortuna Unified High School District board, with the support of a survey where 55% of parents agreed, voted to resume in person classes against the recommendation of the teacher’s union. Can you speak to your concerns if any? And recommendations you would make if asked? What are some strategies that could be utilized to mitigate viral transmission if they return in-person as planned?”
10. And finally, if you can, what does current science offer that speaks to the effects that not attending school will have on children and on the essential workforce?
11. How can one safely care for an elderly COVID patient who is released from hospital care and advised to isolate at home?
12.Can a person negative for COVID be in the same household as someone positive for COVID? How?
13. What about traveling to take care of loved one? (I.E. the hospital says they are going to release my grandparent from the hospital to self-isolate at home, but she doesn’t have a caregiver (no one to administer meds, pick up RXs, get her food/groceries etc.). So what happens when there are no nearby relatives to help a patient? Can a loved one travel to her county to care for her; and how could that put the loved one’s community at risk upon their return? Wondering how you might advise in this scenario.
14. Do masks/face coverings improve respiratory conditions at all when wildfire smoke is present?
15. Has anybody been exposed or contract COVID-19 at any places of worship in Humboldt County?
16. Are health officials monitoring places of worship differently than other places that are certified to be open?
17. How big is the contact tracing team for Humboldt County?
18. Publications, such as Forbes, have released articles that claim that cannabis helps prevent and treat COVID19. Can you share what you know about the virus and marijuana?