DHHS vamps up efforts to help county residents

The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has created a COVID-19 webpage to help direct people to available services, community resources and to answer questions while the shelter-in-place order is in effect.

DHHS has also established the Community Mental Health Line during this time. Residents within the county can call 707-268-2999 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to talk to mental health representatives in both English and Spanish.

A Mental Health Resources page has also been established if “you are feeling anxious, worried, or depressed related to the current health crisis and need someone to talk to.”

Testing for COVID-19 needs to be requested by a health care provider, said DHHS Spokesperson Christine Messinger in an email.

“Once the provider collects the specimen, they send it to either the local Public Health Laboratory or an out-of-area commercial lab for processing,” Messinger said.

“If an individual does not have a primary care provider, they can contact their local emergency department for guidance.”

Part of the need for a health care provider to send a request is an effort to slow the spread, or as the CDC has called it “flatten the curve.” This refers to the attempts to minimize the number of patients that are tested and seen to prevent the thinning of resources within hospitals and stop the number of cases from expanding.

One of the locations that individuals may be tested is St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, which has been designated as a COVID-19 testing center by the Providence medical group.

In addition to onsite testing, the hospital has also created a link to an assessment tool. The online tool can also be used to answer some questions that the public may have, such as ways the virus spreads and what common symptoms are.

Both St. Joseph Hospital and DHHS are reminding citizens to follow all quarantine orders and to avoid unnecessary travel during this time.

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