More COVID-19 cases reported in Mono County

Register Staff
Staff Writer

A positive COVID-19 test result was received late Tuesday from a Mammoth-area resident who is critically ill in Reno hospital. This patient was transferred from Mammoth Hospital a few days ago, according to the Mono County Health Department and Mammoth Hospital. This patient, who cannot be interviewed because of his/her condition has no known links to other cases. This individual potentially exposed a number of people in different settings and the Health Department has contacted and evaluated as many of these as possible, recommending 14-day self- quarantine and monitoring.
Subsequently, the Mono County Health Department received results from a fourth case, also a Mammoth-area resident. This case-patient was mildly ill and was only tested on Saturday because of a potential workplace contact with Mono County’s first case. This individual has been self-isolating with a significant other, who also recently had a mild illness.
The hospital transferred another suspect case to Reno Tuesday and yet another suspected case-patient is hospitalized locally in stable condition. In these suspect cases, tests have been submitted and are pending. At this time, there are two critically ill Mono County residents, one with confirmed and the other with suspected coronavirus infection.
Mono County announced its second case Tuesday after a positive COVID-19 test result was received late Monday, a specimen collected seven days earlier from a young Mammoth Lakes area woman with an influenza-like illness (fever, body aches and cough), according to the Mono County Health Department and Mammoth Hospital.
She has fully recovered. Since the onset of her illness she has been appropriately self-isolating, minimizing the risk of transmission to others.
The second case has no apparent link to Mono County’s first case
“The accelerating numbers of recognized and suspected infections demonstrates more clearly than ever that we have an epidemic in the Mammoth area,” according to the Mono County Health Department. “Remember that for every case we diagnose there are probably 10-20 others in the community, especially with the embarrassing testing situation in the United States. We implore the community to continue, to double down in, practicing social, or as some are calling it, physical distancing. This is an extremely serious situation and we fervently hope that all our efforts to promote distancing, from simple recommendations to the California Stay At Home order to restrictions on hotels, motels, VRBOs and campgrounds, will reduce the impact on our community, especially elderly and medically vulnerable adults, who have higher rates of severe disease.”
The department states that if social distancing does not work and if Mono County continues to see accelerating COVID-19 numbers in coming weeks, “we anticipate potentially serious impacts on Mammoth Hospital, which has been working intensively for weeks to prepare for such possibility.”
On Tuesday, in response to local reports of sick workers present in essential businesses serving the public, the Mono County Health Officer Tom Boo issued a public health order prohibiting the presence of persons with illness in workplaces, with possible penalties including fines, forced closure of workplaces with quarantine orders for co-workers, and even imprisonment.
“It is an effort to reinforce our messages to stay home when you are sick,” Boo stated. “Reports from the public about sick people in public-facing jobs or from concerned co-workers will be investigated. The pandemic is here, representing an immediate threat to our community, especially vulnerable people and our hospitals. We are urgently trying to avoid replicating in California the terrible scenes from Italy and Wuhan City of hospitals unable to provide care to those who need it, and many deaths. Every one of us has a responsibility to reduce the spread of this virus. Please comply with California’s ‘Stay At Home’ Order except for essential activities.”
The number of positive tests in Mono County, as in the rest of the country, poorly reflects the extent of the virus’ spread because of overwhelmed laboratories, Boo stated. For the time being testing will be largely limited to people requiring hospitalization.
Most people with COVID-19 have mild disease, as in the case announced Tuesday. The risk of severe disease requiring hospitalization is most likely between 5 - 10 percent, so that for each person hospitalized there are many other unrecognized cases in the community.
Utilize the resources below for information about the coronavirus.
Call: 211
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Inyo County Public Health and Human Services:
California Department of Health:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: