Over the last two weeks, Mono County has experienced an increase in COVID-19 positive cases significant enough to threaten our current Tier 3 “Moderate” (orange) status within the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy (Blueprint). The Blueprint governs our local economic and social activity based upon the degree of virus transmission within the county.
Most of the new cases are associated with the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) in northern Mono County (Pickel Meadows), with over 60 cases reported to the county by the Marine base since the outbreak was identified on October 21.
The Marine Corps has independent healthcare and public health capacity, and maintains overall responsibility for the outbreak response.
The MCMWTC is working diligently to coordinate appropriate response, and continues to work closely with interagency partners, including Mono County Public Health, to monitor the situation and implement appropriate measures to reduce further exposure both on the base, and within the community. In addition, the MCMWTC has spoken with the Eastern Sierra Unified School District Superintendent and Mono County Public Health and confirmed that, to date, no cases among school children have tested positive for COVID-19.
The MCMWTC is conducting extensive testing of personnel, and the number of positive cases identified is expected to rise in the coming days as tests are completed.
Currently, there is no evidence that the outbreak at the MCMWTC has contributed to increased community transmission outside of the Marine Corps community in Mono County, despite a slight increase in unassociated cases.
Within the next two days, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which assigns Blueprint tier status for local jurisdictions, will release assessments and tier assignments based upon COVID-19 data from the week of October 18-24. Mono County Public Health officials have had initial discussions with CDPH and received confirmation that cases on military bases do count toward county rates for purposes of tier assignments.
“Mono County’s cases have increased beginning the week of October 18-24. The rates recently are high enough to potentially cause us to move to a more restrictive tier, assuming that they are sustained for two consecutive weeks,” stated Dr. Tom Boo, Mono County Public Health Officer. “Public Health and Mono County Officials will continue to work with State Officials on the actual impact MCMWTC cases will have on Mono County’s status.”
All Mono County residents and visitors are asked to do their part to #StaySafeToStayOpen. This is more than a hashtag – it needs to become a way of life.
Additional information regarding the Blueprint for a Safer Economy is available online or by visiting the Mono County COVID-19 Portal in English or Spanish.
Cover. Distance. Wash and #StaySafeToStayOpen!