COVID-19 Cases Spike

Covid-19 cases spike again after brief drop and loosening of restrictions.

The recent dip in COVID-19 cases had given many states and businesses the impression that the end of the pandemic is close at hand, but a recent explosion in the number of positive cases has put much of that on hold and raised the specter of another long year of lock downs and mask mandates.

The mass transmission of COVID-19 from one person to another has given rise to a number of variants that are much more infectious, causing not only a lot more unvaccinated people to be infected but also leading to a higher number of breakthrough cases in those who are.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, people who are already vaccinated may have less severe symptoms and get over the illness quicker, but still could spread the virus if not properly masked.

Variants, such as the Delta variant, have already been found in Humboldt county and contribute to our recent spike in hospitalizations.

Christine Messinger, Public Information Officer at the Humboldt Department of Health and Human services, said that not only is the Delta variant here but it has actually been found in a quarter of cases.

“The Delta variant was first identified in Humboldt County in May,” Messinger said. “By June, the variant was identified in 25% of sequenced samples.”

These new spikes put a hold on the planned re-openings in states and has ushered in the returns of full mask mandates around Humboldt county. While many restrictions have been loosened, restaurants are allowing dine-in services, businesses are expanding their hours and raising occupancy limits, and some public events are being approved. They’re starting to tighten back up as the number of hospitalizations rise and infection increases.

While you could still get ill after receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines that are being distributed, vaccination vastly reduces the risk of an infection or serious illness.

According to HSU Communications specialist Grant Scott-Goforth, the university is monitoring the rise in cases and is requiring all students and staff who plan on using campus facilities to get vaccinated, along with reducing the number of people allowed at large gatherings and requiring masks on campus.

“One big change is that anyone accessing campus facilities is required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The university has also taken several measures to mitigate risk, including reinstating mandatory masking on campus, requiring all events on campus with more than 20 attendees to be virtual, and extending the repopulation of campus,” Scott-Goforth said. “This is in addition to the ongoing measures underway since the pandemic began.”

While the spike has caused states to reevaluate their plans for reopening, the spread of vaccines and news of an upcoming booster shot has come along with a hope for a fall semester without the lock downs and zoom calls of the last year and a half. These hopes may be overly optimistic with the looming possibility of a vaccine resistant variant on the horizon, but for students who have been doing classes over zoom since Spring of 2020, the loosening of restrictions presents the opportunity for a somewhat normal school year.

For students like second year Psychology student, Raphael Dominguez, the news of new variants is foreboding, but the masks and vaccines are bolstering confidence in an open school year.

“I think it’s pretty scary because I’ve heard {the Delta variant} is more contagious, but I’m vaccinated and I think we’re all vaccinated around here so I think we should be good,” Dominguez said. “So it’s scary, but not too scary.”

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