In today’s media availability, Dr. Teresa Frankovich — Humboldt County’s health officer — notes that the state recently released a document many local people (especially parents) have been waiting for: Guidance on youth sports.

The county’s Joint Information Center will soon be briefed on the details of this state guidance and able to answer questions from the public, Dr. Frankovich says, but in brief: 

  • Sports that allow for six feet of social distancing at all times will be allowed. 
  • But no competitions are allowed at this time.
  • Strength and conditioning training will be allowed in small cohorts — outdoors and socially distanced. This includes drills for team sports that cannot be played at this time.
  • Unless outdoors and fully socially distanced, facial coverings must be worn. 

Again: More clarification will be available soon, Dr. Frankovich says.

Media questions and a rough summary of her answers follow.


Cases of COVID-19 appear to be increasing quickly in Hoopa. Are those cases part of county data and what is being done to help the Hoopa community slow the spread of the virus?

The county works very closely with the Hoopa Valley Tribe, Dr. Frankovich says. In fact, the county leads contact tracing investigations in the valley, with the tribe’s blessing and cooperation. 

The cases in the Valley do become part of the county’s case count.

Do the total county numbers include numbers from the Hoopa Valley Tribe or are those numbers recorded separately from the county’s data?

Answered above.

Given your knowledge of what constitutes a safe learning environment that reduces the spread of COVID-19, do you believe school districts have the space and staff to maintain a sanitary place for in-person instruction?

Public health is providing local schools with a reopening framework based on the best available resources, which includes recommended safety measures.

“What happens at each individual school will depend on what their capacity is — what their facility looks like, what their staffing looks like — and the needs of the local community,” Dr. Frankovich says.

But every school — those opening right away and those not reopening yet — are going to have to remain ready to adapt to a changing situation on the ground.

What is the health department’s position on kids returning to school in person this month?

Dr. Frankovich says that as a pediatrician, so she really likes to see kids in school. But that has to be done as safely as possible.

Some people ask: If kids are in school, why can’t we have social gatherings? The answer, Dr. Frankovich says, is that there is no particular society-wide benefit for something like a backyard barbecue. But everyone would agree that there is a society-wide value to schools. 

When should I seek emergency care if I think I might have COVID-19, but can’t wait for a test and results to come back?

If your symptoms are severe — if you are short of breath, if you’re having difficulty breathing — you should go to the emergency room. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID, you should contact your health care provider if you have one, or Public Health (707-441-5000) if you don’t.

Can COVID-19 be passed through secondhand smoke?

[Hank here. I’m going to take over for Dr. F on this one. The air that contains second-hand smoke comes from someone’s lungs. So whether or not the particulates that make up visible “smoke” carry virus, the air in which those particulates are suspended — like all air that has been exhaled from someone’s lungs — just might! You are welcome.]