Inyo County facing placement on state’s Watch List while making progress on enforcement of COVID-19 health orders | Brief Respite

With the surging numbers of positive coronavirus cases and two deaths at the local nursing care center in Bishop, there was almost a fatalistic acceptance among some county officials that Inyo County would be placed on the state’s COVID-19 Watch list.

But it turns out that the county might be getting a brief reprieve thanks to the state’s coronavirus data tracking system, The California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE), which the state has relied upon in making decisions on who should be placed on the Watch List. It turns out it has some problems as the result of “an unresolved technical problem,” said state health officials on Wednesday, August 15.

Because of the data issue, they have had to stop removing or adding to a list of counties that faced more restrictions on businesses, indoor gatherings and activities, and schools, until it is fixed. Currently, 38 of 58 counties are on the list, with all major counties already on the list. However, this brief “stay” does not mean that Inyo County is out of the woods and will dodge being placed on the State Monitoring/Watch list once the problem is resolved.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, as of Saturday, August 8, California still has the greatest number of reported positive coronavirus cases in the country at 538,416 with 10,011 deaths.

Keep in mind that, according to health officials in California, the true number of cases is even higher than what the reporting system was recording. There is always a delay between the time a death occurs and the time it is reported to the state. Credibility is crucial to public health officials in keeping the public’s trust and cooperation.

Nationally, the numbers of positive coronavirus cases are now at 4,920,369 with 160,220 deaths in just the past 6 months. Many experts are predicting as many as 300,000 COVID-19 deaths by the end of the year.That is 236,000 more deaths than the last recorded number of deaths in the CDC’s last complete influenza report for the 2017-2018 season. And influenza has a vaccine; COVID-19 does not.

The U.S. currently leads the rest of the entire world in the number of positive COVID-19 cases and deaths, and that doesn’t look like it is about to change.

California’s CalREDIE system uses data from testing labs around the state to decide which counties might land on the state’s watch list. To come off the list, a listed county must wait for 14 days, and it can then begin to reopen activities, and reopen certain businesses, or offer in-person classroom instruction.

The Inyo County Health Department has apparently ramped up its efforts over several weeks to bring non-compliant businesses in line with health orders, according to Inyo County CAO, Clint Quilter. He explained their efforts and how the process works. He stated that the county will not be dealing with the issue through, or based on, social media, but rather a process that involves the county first sending an “official letter” to a non-compliant business and working with the business to bring it into compliance. Quilter noted that, thanks to hard-working and dedicated county  employees, their efforts have already had some success by using persuasion rather than confrontation and threats.

The public perception, and to some extent, the media as well, has been that the county has been doing little, but apparently that has not the case. Once the county comes to an agreement with a business, it will use using anonymous people visiting the business on a regular basis to ensure continued compliance. If the violations have not stopped, the observations will be used to generate enough evidence to request issuance of a temporary restraining order from the courts, which will be enforced.

The combination of compliance, timely, accurate information, and working with businesses will go a long way in eradicating or at least, mitigating the rates of infection, hospitalization, and deaths in the county and the state .


12 Responses to Inyo County facing placement on state’s Watch List while making progress on enforcement of COVID-19 health orders | Brief Respite

  1. Harold August 10, 2020 at 4:19 pm #

    If you read about the Mono Supervisors meeting on many more details are given. We just cant get it from our own County I guess. Once again, Mono is so lucky to have Dr Boo.

    • Gdubya August 11, 2020 at 10:49 pm #

      If the county is going to mandate rules and policies for businesses to be able to remain open during this situation, then those policies and rules should be ENFORCED evenly, consistently, and across the board…no exceptions. Also true for neighborhood parties. My street has turned into a block party almost every weekend nite and Sunday afternoons. There are off-road vehicles up n down the street all hours, vehicles parked everywhere, including out in the middle of the street with lights left on and motors running…loud music and loud people who’ve had way too much alcohol, dancing…any where from 20 to 40 people at one house, no face masks, no social distancing, small children out on the street after dark riding electric toys with no helmets on. It is totally out of control…WHY IS THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT, CHP, SHERIFF’S DEPT, AND CPS ALLOWING THIS TO GO ON????

      If the Health Department wants to be seen as a credible source, they need to start enforcing the rules…if the pizza place don’t want to comply with the policies, shut them down!

  2. David Dennison August 10, 2020 at 2:37 pm #

    Concerned Citizen
    Not only is the local community suffering consequences with safety issues,it’s much more broad than that.
    The environment is suffering consequences too,with this 24/7 tourist invasion,which is sure to last at least another month,probably longer.
    I’m hearing and seeing for myself many of the popular camping areas are littered with trash,both on the ground and in the waters.
    Wildlife is suffering consequences with this quest for the all-mighty tourist dollar too.A nearby and very popular area has a Black Bear coming out and into the campsites and more or less being treated like a “pet” by the tourists,snapping smart-phone pictures and “selfie” background photos,feeding it treats and getting it close,which is a certain death sentence for the Bear.
    Not to mention the traffic and speeders on the highway and through the towns getting here,a catastrophe waiting to happen.
    And like you say,little to no enforcement of the rules and guidelines,both the written and unwritten ones when your out in the wilderness or on the highway.
    IMO,it’s going to take years for this area to recover from this summer in the Sierra.

  3. Concerned Citizen August 10, 2020 at 1:37 pm #

    The local government wants more control of managing this, but they have failed. They are encouraging tourism, allowing gatherings and not enforcing the guidelines that they have set. When i contacted them they made excuses for the local business that were not in compliance. Since the local government seems to be more interested in tourism dollars then the health of the community the state of going to have to step. In to keep of safe and now the local community is paying the consequences. If you want to be trusted to manage this a a local level then enforce the guidelines and enforce them quickly and publicly that includes businesses and churches who are refusing to use precautions such as masks.. If you want to slow this virus and get back to normal stop the flow of people and enforce the guidelines. Those of us who live of this community want to feel safe again and many of us don’t.

  4. John August 10, 2020 at 1:25 pm #

    Quilter’s m.o. is to ignore problems and hope they “disappear”. Sound familiar? And the board is just happy to let him cruise to retirement.

  5. Jerry Hahn August 10, 2020 at 1:08 pm #

    ……..pass the cool aid………

  6. Rick August 10, 2020 at 12:31 pm #

    County officials have failed to lead during the ongoing pandemic. There needs to be resignations. Get officials in place that are serious about protecting community health.

  7. Nonpartisan Nan August 10, 2020 at 10:10 am #

    Compliance issues lay with the Sheriff who refuses to help, due to his personal beliefs . We have a huge problem when a sheriff won’t protect its citizens due to partisan politics during a public health crisis. When this is over, we need to seriously look at who we are electing into office.

    • VillageWitch August 10, 2020 at 6:44 pm #

      Most local businesses are in the city limits which would be the police department’s jurisdiction

      • Concerned Citizen August 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm #

        Unfortunately the City Police have also refused to help with compliance.

  8. VillageWitch August 9, 2020 at 10:34 pm #

    I’m sorry this so called process and efforts by the Inyo County Health office are preposterous. According to their course of action it would take months if not longer to get enough evidence against a non compliant business to acquire a temporary restraining order from the courts. How many people will be exposed in the meantime? Too little too late and no enforcement. I expected much better a lot sooner. If this is Inyo county’s ramped up efforts its very disappointing to say the least.

    • Jl miller August 10, 2020 at 11:32 am #

      So, we are to celebrate not being on states watch list- though all indications show we should be? Why can’t Inyo county protect its citizens by taking charge and doing own restrictions? We know we have a current exposure problem. We know the likely hood of this getting worse fast. Sure hopefully this program will get fast results, but we need more, and we need the county to be transparent with citizens about what is being done. We should know what retailers are not complying. If they are not complying, they are doing so purposly. We need the county to step up and take action, now. Maybe that means less visitors, maybe a harder line, with repercussions with locals who flaunt and brag about gatherings resulting in exposure.


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