March 15, 2020 - In order to protect the health of our community, the Mono County Public Health Officer, Dr. Tom Boo, declared a local health emergency today. Dr. Boo anticipates cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Eastern Sierra in the immediate future, and the purpose of this declaration is to enhance the County’s ability to prepare and respond to cases when they are identified. Declaring a local health emergency gives the Mono County Health Officer special additional legal authorities to protect the health of the community and to obtain additional resources as needed, as there is an imminent and proximate threat to public health from the introduction of COVID-19 in Mono County.
There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mono County at this time, however this virus has sickened more than 160,00 people around the world, over 3,700 in the United States and over 330 in California. The disease has also killed over 6,400 worldwide.
Mono County Public Health Department’s response efforts began over a month ago, and team members have been actively identifying and monitoring individuals who may be at risk of exposure to COVID-19. They have also been working closely with local health care providers and facilitating COVID-19 testing, and collaborating with county and town governance, law enforcement, emergency medical services, school districts, and other organizations to prepare and protect the community. A joint Emergency Operations Center has been opened
by Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes to manage the COVID-19 incident.
Governor Newsom announced additional actions today to address the spread of COVID-19, including:
• Home isolation of all seniors in the state of California ages 65 years and older and those with chronic conditions. He has 13 taskforces working on logistics, food, water, fuel and basic supplies.
• Closing bars, nightclubs and wineries. He indicated restaurants could remain open, but would need to reduce occupancy and increase social distancing.
• Sheltering homeless individuals. The Governor indicated strategies, such as the utilization of shelters and hotels, with social distancing implemented.
• Limiting visits to skilled nursing facilities, congregate care facilities and hospital visits to end of life visits only.
Older people and people with serious medical conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, should take extra steps to protect themselves from COVID-19. There are simple things everyone should do now at work, home, school, and in the community to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as flu and common colds:
• Wash your hands frequently using soap for at least 20 seconds and lathering your palms, fingers, fingertips, backs of your hands and under your nails.
• When no handwashing facilities are available, disinfect your hands with alcohol sanitizer (containing 60% or more alcohol).
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
• Stay away from others when you are sick, particularly by staying home from work or school.
• Cover your mouth with tissue or your arm when coughing or sneezing (not your hand). If available, you may wear a surgical mask when you are sick to protect people around you.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Encourage employees and students to stay home from work or school when they are sick.
• Businesses can encourage sick customers and clients to complete business through phone, email, video conferencing or other means which do not require face-to-face interactions when possible.
• Practice “social distancing” maintaining 6 feet between people and avoid shaking hands.
• If you have symptoms of cough and fever but are not seriously ill, please stay at home under self-quarantine. However, if you are seriously ill, you should go to the Emergency Department for care. If you need an ambulance, let the 911 dispatcher know that you have symptoms that might mean COVID-19.
With the closure of Eastern Sierra schools and Mammoth and June Mountains, it is time to plan for disruption to daily life at home and work. During this time, we ask that all residents, businesses and local organizations remain calm, stay informed, and heed public health precautions.
“This is a very serious situation and we need to act now to reduce the harm this virus will do to our community,” said Dr. Boo, Mono County Public Health Officer. “These will be challenging times, but we will get through this as a community. We will be OK.”
For current and reliable COVID-19 information, visit https://monocounty.ca.gov/coronavirus, www.cdph.ca.gov, or www.cdc.gov.