Humboldt County Public Health release:
The Humboldt County COVID-19 Joint Information Center (JIC) will close its doors at the end of the day Friday, April 1, after taking thousands of calls from county residents over the past two years.
Starting Monday, April 4, callers can contact Public Health at 707-445-6201 with COVID-related questions. Case count news releases will continue to be issued weekly.
Humboldt County Public Health Director Sofia Pereira said, “We are at the stage now where we can incorporate the JIC Call Center and media functions into our normal business operations. As case counts have continued to drop and vaccination demand has slowed, inquiries to the Call Center have diminished substantially. We are still managing Public Health’s response to COVID-19 and paying close attention to the state and local trends, and we are scaling our operations to meet the community’s needs.”
On Feb. 20, 2020, Humboldt became the first rural county in the state with a confirmed COVID-19 case. The JIC, staffed by employees from the Department of Health & Human Services, and other county departments and partner agencies, opened soon after when the County of Humboldt activated its Emergency Operations Center in response to virus spread. Since March 2020, JIC staff have answered more than 61,000 calls and emails from the public.
At its height in March 2021, Call Center staff were answering more than 2,000 calls a week, assisting in signing up thousands of county residents for vaccine appointments, directing callers to testing locations, providing guidance to area businesses about state and local health orders and more.
Pereira said the efforts of the JIC are credited with diverting thousands of calls from the 911 system. “Thank you to our Joint Information Center staff for providing two years of public information for Humboldt County and answering the call to serve during a critical moment.”
As of April 1, at 5:01 p.m., the 707-441-5000 number will no longer field COVID-related questions. Callers can direct their questions to Public Health at 707-445-6201. Calls will be answered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Public Health is closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
Weekly case count numbers will continue to be issued on Wednesdays and social media will be updated as needed. For additional information about COVID-19 in Humboldt, visit humboldtgov.org/COVID.
Please note, the JIC will be closed Thursday, March 31, in honor of Cesar Chavez Day. Operations will resume the following morning at 8 a.m.