Humboldt DHHS Social Services Branch, 929 Koster Street, Eureka | Photos: Stephanie McGeary


If you’re planning to pay a visit to the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Social Services Branch on Koster Street in Eureka anytime soon, you may want to mask up or even wait a while. The site is currently understaffed due to a major COVID outbreak.

“Social Services Koster Building A is under CalOSHA ‘major outbreak’ status, due to a high number of employees with COVID,” Christine Messinger, DHHS spokesperson, wrote in an email to the Outpost Wednesday afternoon. “CalOSHA defines a ‘major outbreak’ as 20 or more employee COVID cases in an exposed group who visited the worksite during their infectious period within a 30-day period.” 

The sign currently posted on the door of Building A

Messinger said that the worksite will remain in “outbreak status” until one or fewer new COVID cases are detected in the exposed group over a 14-day period, as is outlined in the California Code of Regulations for COVID-19 outbreaks. So it’s hard to say how long the current state of affairs will continue.

The site, which offers assistance with benefit programs like CalFresh and Medi-Cal, is continuing to operate through the outbreak, and a sign has been posted on the door letting people know about the large number of COVID cases, recommending that they mask while inside the building. Messinger added that “mandatory masking for staff’ has also been implemented, as well as “other mitigation measures.” 

DHHS wants to advise people that, because so many employees are out with COVID, the site is also very understaffed and people should expect wait times to be longer, both at the Koster Street building and at the call center. 

If at all possible, you might want to first try getting assistance with CalFresh, Medi-Cal, etc. at, before you try to call or visit the site.