Ironically, Tuesday’s meeting of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors started with Water Department head Aaron Steinwand delivering the grim news that, at best, rainfall could hit just 60-percent of normal. By Wednesday morning, the Owens Valley sat under a thick blanket of snow and it’s still coming down. This is good news, for the future.
The balance of the meeting was consumed with COVID, Governor Gavin Newsom’s lifting of the Stay-at-Home order and a reminder of what the Purple Tier looks like.
While the past weekend resulted in an additional 44 COVID cases, Marilyn Mann, director of Health and Human Services, reported that as of early Tuesday morning only five new cases had been reported. Inyo will be stuck in the most restrictive tier for at least three weeks and have a case-rate of one case a day and a positive test rate of 8-percent for two consecutive weeks to drop the next, less restrictive, tier.
As of Wednesday, Inyo County recorded 1,058 cases with 29 deaths.
Anna Scott, deputy public health director, went through the vaccination regime. Inyo is currently working on California’s 1B, Tier 1 categories: age 65 and older plus specific industries considered essential without the ability to work remotely. The County still can’t schedule vaccine clinics until the supply chain is predictable and consistent.
Both southern and northern Inyo hospitals are the vaccine sites with Vons prepping to administer vaccines as well.
In response to a question regarding Mono County residents heading down the Sherwin Grade to get vaccines in Inyo, Scott said Inyo residents who work in Mono have been getting shots in Mammoth Lakes. “It generally balances out,” she said.
While Scott indicated she didn’t see a big increase in vaccine deployment, later Tuesday President Joe Biden asked for all available vaccines to be immediately distributed to the States.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Josh Nicholson, who has indicated he will run for a District supervisor’s seat, questioned the source of Public Health Director Dr. James Richardson statistics on new strains of COVID and the rate of transmission. Richardson’s source was fairly unimpeachable: an article in the Harvard Review by an epidemiologist who was a former director of the Center for Disease Control.
Over the last few Supervisor meetings, Nicholson has maintained the COVID restrictions and masking guidelines are an infringement of his rights. [edited/correction requested: 1/28/2020]