COVID-19 Cases Rocketing in Inyo and Mono Counties: Is the second holiday surge from Christmas or New Years?

Hospitals and Emergency Rooms are increasingly becoming overwhelmed, along with their staffs.

The public has been warned repeatedly by local public health officials of the danger of the winter months with the holiday travel, and holiday gatherings when people are increasingly indoors in close quarters with others, and having family, friends, and visitors insisting on coming to our area during the holidays. In an odd twist, many of those that come here feel that they are safer while they are here than from where they came from, which are often Covid-19 hotspots. Little has been done to discourage the behavior, so it’s likely to continue. That scenario has played out many times over the past few months and it is coming home to roost, not just here in the Eastern Sierra, but across the country.

In just the past few days alone, the positive Covid-19 reports from Inyo and Mono counties have been surging and the local hospitals are asking that those needing non-emergency and non-lifesaving medical care to not come to the hospitals and emergency rooms, but instead, call first, and follow their advice.

Even as many hospitals and nursing homes have begun receiving the new Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, the number of cases in the public have continued to escalate, and it has health officials and medical personnel understandably worried because of the risk of having our local medical resources overwhelmed. And that include their staff.

The national numbers from across the country as of yesterday are: 

  • Cases= 21.1 million (+239,000)
  • Deaths= 357,000 (+3,664)

Inyo County has reported a whopping 90 new cases of Positive Covid-19 in just the past few days alone, and an additional 5 new deaths, which brings the total of deaths in Inyo County attributed to Covid to 25. While deaths in Mono County have remained low and fairly steady at 4 deaths, their Positive Covid-19 cases in the past several weeks have surged as well.

Currently, Inyo County reported on Monday, Jan. 4, that they had 675 positive Covid cases, which was an increase of 56 from their last report. Then yesterday, another 34 cases.

As bad as it seems here…and it can get far worse. According to CBS News, the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency  issued directives that ambulances should stop transporting patients to hospitals if they have virtually no chance of surviving, including those whose hearts and breathing have stopped and who couldn’t be resuscitated by paramedics.

Hospitals running low on oxygen.

Oxygen is also in very short supply. Covid-19 victims can use as much as 9 to 10 times the amount of oxygen normally used with most other non-Covid patients.

Los Angeles announced that, because of an oxygen shortage and overflowing capacity of ICU and hospital beds, that paramedics should not bring anyone to the hospital who will not likely survive.

The agency also issued a directive on Monday directing ambulance crews to administer less oxygen. Supplies have been strained because of the pandemic.


33 Responses to COVID-19 Cases Rocketing in Inyo and Mono Counties: Is the second holiday surge from Christmas or New Years?

  1. Concerned January 7, 2021 at 7:23 pm #

    We have a problem with the tourism and our government has decided that the tourist dollar is more important than human lives in this community, but to me what is worse is that there are many churches blatantly violating these orders contributing to the spread of the virus. Why are the churches still allowed to meet indoors and violate the guidelines and without any consequence?

    • Ben January 8, 2021 at 7:02 am #

      I am not sure which church you are referring to directly but the church I attend (LDS) is and has been taking place on zoom, quite successfully I might add. Those conducting the meetings are very respectful of social distancing/masking protocols when necessary.

  2. The Process January 7, 2021 at 2:04 pm #

    I have seen a lot of comments here and on the various social media platforms along the lines of “where is the government, where is Inyo County, why aren’t they doing anything?” While I certainly understand the frustrations and fears, that isn’t exactly how the democratic process works. While venting on this news site or social media might helps us feel better for a moment it doesn’t engage the wheels of government. Our government is a process that is well defined, usually bilateral in form except under certain circumstances and it does not respect the angry mob if the social internet by design in the way it functions. It is designed this way for various reasons, the largest of which we all had the opportunity to witness playing out on the national stage yesterday as an angry mob breached our sacred house of government. There is a hierarchy and it is incumbent on us as citizens to engage our government appropriately. The first step, if we actually want to accomplish anything besides ranting, is to approach our local representatives, the county board of supervisors, in the the respected legal forum. They are not allowed by law to conduct government outside that forum so expecting them to do so is highly unreasonable. I encourage any constituents of Inyo County who takes issue to engage with their respective district supervisor utilizing the respected lawful methods. Ie, the contact forms on their website or the almost weekly public comment opportunities in the board meetings. I assure you, if you use the proper broadcast channel, they will listen and react. If you are aiming to just vent and complain in the air, by all means. Proceed as you are.

  3. JB January 6, 2021 at 5:03 pm #

    Why [edit] is the ski area still open? 90% of visitors are heading there. Condo/Airbnb’s were packed the last few weeks. Close the ski area and no one will come up here. Simple as that.

    • eric hein January 7, 2021 at 3:23 pm #

      It’s not that simple, there are plenty of other reasons people are coming up here. But I agree it’s a great place to start.

  4. Rodney January 6, 2021 at 12:38 pm #

    Three things:
    – human existence on this planet was only supposed to be temporary by design.
    – everything that is happening right now has been predicted in the Bible. #endoftimes
    It is what it is.

    • big dice mcgee January 7, 2021 at 4:17 pm #

      If you and Nostradomus keeping counting on endless predictions eventually you’ll
      be right. PS keeping hoping and in your final hour you can say I told
      you so. Wow what a life.

  5. Mono Person January 6, 2021 at 11:55 am #

    Obviously, these orders have not worked. We have been doing this for 9 months and nothing really helped. The numbers are the numbers, the Rona will always be with us and we need to learn to live with it. Let’s try something else – OPEN THE BUSINESSES!!!

    And don’t tell me people will die…they are already dying. And they are not dying at Schats…

    • eric hein January 7, 2021 at 3:32 pm #

      So until there’s a pile of bodies in Schats everything is okay? Sorry to break the news for you but the “Rona” doesn’t kill you instantly. It needs people like you to get infected and then go around unprotected blissfully enjoying your life. Just remember there are over 350,000 people in the USA that will never get to “learn to live with it”.

      • Mono Person January 7, 2021 at 5:59 pm #

        So what is your solution? At least I am recommending to do something different, because what we have tried for 9 months hasn’t worked. And please don’t say, “If everyone followed the rules…” We are Americans, we have never followed “the rules” since the revolutionary war. So try again….

        • eric hein January 7, 2021 at 7:57 pm #

          You’ve already proved my point. People keep talking about masks and social distancing not working but it hasn’t really been tried. People driving down to Orange county, going to restaurants and even a bar getting on with their life in the current epicenter with a new form of covid that is much more contagious. The examples are endless, selfish people who care only about themselves. You want this hell to end? Follow the guidance, slow the infection rate down and take the vaccine as soon as you can. The mask is consideration for the people around you, but I guess that doesn’t mean much to you. The following is not a political statement just one of the more brutal examples. Watch it, listen to what the speaker has to say and then ask yourself, does his wife deserve this? Scroll down to the video titled “The Recount”

          • Mono Person January 8, 2021 at 7:53 am #

            And you prove my point – keep knocking your head against the wall – feels good, right?

          • eric hein January 8, 2021 at 12:07 pm #

            Danged if you aren’t right, responding to you is just like banging my head against the wall. Just one last question, in your place of business… you have any rules?

  6. David Dennison January 6, 2021 at 10:47 am #

    You have to look no further than the week-end traffic from down south,the hub of COVID cases and deaths, coming up here as if nothing was going on.
    And the rules and regulations being ignored by our business’,hotels,motels and restaurants.
    And last,but not least,our County officials allowing it to happen, for the sake of the all-mighty tourist dollar.

    • Justin January 7, 2021 at 9:24 am #

      You wouldn’t have a home to live in or a grocery to shop in without the tourist dollar. Its the only economy up there. Its a non self sustaining area to live. Same as the state of Hawaii. Nice place to get to live but don’t kid yourself about wht allows that existence to happen.

      • Stop non-essential travel January 7, 2021 at 12:35 pm #

        I’ve only lived in Bishop for 20 years; but not a minute of my time living here has required or been supported by “the tourist dollar”. Don’t kid yourself Justin, your southern california elitism ain’t all that.

  7. Genevieve Woods January 6, 2021 at 10:33 am #

    Inyo County residents don’t know who the dead are. Except for the rare obituary that mentions COVID we are in the dark. There is no reporting on it. We don’t know if the cases are coming from visitors coming in or residents themselves. With so many cases the virus is surely attacking some Inyo County communities more than others, but we don’t know which ones. With lack of knowledge COVID is a phantom menace.

    • Mark January 6, 2021 at 1:35 pm #

      It doesn’t seem as if one of our local radio stations won’t provide information about the mortality rate in Bishop. On top of that I’ve had an encounter with a Bishop Police Officer who wasn’t wearing a mask. It seems like it’s a political decision here in Bishop.

      • Richard Hanley January 8, 2021 at 1:13 am #

        The police not using masks is a real problem! Also this wink—wink—nod nod about the motels being opened and Mammouth Mountain. Hell people are just plain stupid!

    • More info wanted January 6, 2021 at 8:36 pm #

      I think it would be helpful for the county to list the ages and genders of the deaths, or at least for the media to press for this info from them. Listing basic death statistics like age (or at least age group like the positive cases) is not violating any privacy laws. It may help drive home that it’s not just people in their 80s and 90s dying from this locally.

    • [email protected] January 7, 2021 at 9:48 am #

      Dearest Genevieve, you are correct the eastern sierra dead have no voice. I am sorry. Too many people are getting sick , too many people are dying here locally. The degrees of separation are gone, I know too many people here locally that have gotten sick, too many people’s parents and loved one’s that have passed away. The eastern sierra in general has no voice. LADWP, Crystal Geyser and others get to take advantage of no oversight and no reporting. There are soo many “interesting” things going on and so many secrets in the eastern sierra. We need more reporting, more transparency, more truth out there. The people of the eastern sierra have a right to know what is going on. At times, it feels like we are being trampled by everyone. I encourage everyone to help bring the important news to your community and to share. Issues with LADWP, BLM, county, business, schools, tourism, etc. Please share we have them all.

  8. Harold January 6, 2021 at 10:09 am #

    Why are there so many deaths here compared to mono?

    • Charles James January 6, 2021 at 11:13 am #

      A large number of the deaths were from the Senior Care Center in Bishop. Mono County does not have a senior care center. Also, the demographics of the two counties, while similar in some respects, are still different. Inyo County has many times the number of seniors (over 60 years of age and older), the most susceptible age group to Covid-19 due to issues with comorbidity.

    • Sierra Lady January 6, 2021 at 11:15 am #

      Harold, because Inyo has an older population who probably have more underlying health issues.

      • bb68 January 6, 2021 at 4:31 pm #

        And yet….by far the majority of new cases are in the 18-49 age range

        • eric hein January 10, 2021 at 8:16 pm #

          You mean the ” I’m invincible ” range.

  9. AK January 6, 2021 at 9:52 am #

    The news just keeps getting more depressing. There are still people out that believe this is all a political hoax. I worked in Mammoth last week, and the house next door had seven vehicles parked out front. This was in a very high dollar neighborhood, I doubt all these vehicles with ski racks belonged to the same family. I know of a local Bishop family that had a New Years eve party with thirteen or fourteen guests. This morning I heard that EMT’s from Inyo County were being asked to go south to help with overwhelmed medical services in southern California. How can anyone look at this and say its a hoax? I thought people were smarter than that (not really, I’ve always said my dogs were smarter than most people).

  10. mtalicelighthouse January 6, 2021 at 8:38 am #

    Where is the Inyo county leadership? Can you say recall. Messaging and enforcing goes a long way. Inyo does nothing to protect its citizens. They think they are helping us by turning a blind eye to all the rule breaking businesses that encourage and support travel, Also nice to know from another article that Mono also is upset with Inyo and their lack of enforcement on the lodging side. Inyo openly stated they are doing nothing about it and do not have the capacity. Normally Mono is busy this year and making their yearly income, instead Inyo, from Lone Pine to Bishop are openly blatantly breaking the rules with full parking lots full of vehicles with recreation stuff all over. Why does lodging get to break the rules while our other business suffer? Why is it okay for these business owners to encourage more people into our area during this time? These business are not above the rules. We have a major problem, please email [email protected] if you see any lodging or other business breaking the rules. Lets get this under control together and help each other since the county will not do it. Keep Inyo & Mono safe! Lets not be victims anymore. See something, say something.

  11. Sierra climber January 6, 2021 at 6:16 am #

    Maybe they should blame the super markets or the bakery in Bishop or even the Ski areas

    • Rick O'Brien January 6, 2021 at 6:01 pm #

      Ski area’s , YES . Super markets ??? Where do you buy YOUR food ?

      • David Dennison January 7, 2021 at 7:57 am #

        Rick O’Brien
        The problem there,with your logical thinking and post,is the “elite” feel the ski areas are “essential”….for THEM and THEIR friends that choose to come up here to recreate and have their fun.
        It’s “THEIR ” Constitutional “right”…to ski and have THEIR fun,when and where they want.
        And the ski area,it’s “their right” to stay open and make their money.
        That’s how the “new America ” works nowdays for many.
        All about “me,me,me ” and nothing else.
        This Country is a shell of what it used to be,actually what it was not too long ago.
        But I think and hope some of that is about to change in about two weeks,when America takes out the trash and throws it in the dumpster.

    • erik simpson January 6, 2021 at 9:12 pm #

      I doubt many visitors are coming from anywhere to shop at Von’s, or even Schat’s. It’s just possible that they come to ski, and maybe even climb.

      • eric hein January 7, 2021 at 8:33 pm #

        The lines at Schat’s are long, luckily we have multiple grocery stores but friends of mine in Mammoth tell me Vons is a nightmare. Massive lines outside waiting to get in, maybe that’s a good thing depending how crowded it is inside. The question also might be are the climbers and skiers et. all here for a couple of days or is it extended stays. Are they prepared for it, or not?


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