Update: Positive COVID-19 Cases Take Troublesome Upturn in Inyo & Mono Counties

Looks like it’s staying around for a while.

Our public health authorities have been warning residents of Inyo and Mono counties for months that the Eastern Sierra would eventually experience a sharp increase in the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. The new number of positive COVID-19 cases reported in Mono County as of late Sunday afternoon, July 19th, sits at 79!

With the notable increase of positive cases in Mono County coming on the heels of another sharp increase just a day or so before, it may be that the warnings are finally “coming home to roost.” It has been well-reported that COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed in California, as well as across the country in over 30 states in just the past few weeks. And at least 30 states are now requiring and enforcing wearing of face masks/coverings in public, and in some cases fining those not wearing face coverings.

To date, according to Worldometer, which tracks the coronavirus statistics from around the world, here in the United States we have 3,898,550 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 143,289 deaths, and 1,802,338 recovered nationally reported for July 18. Every day recently, there is a report of yet another record being broken somewhere in the U.S. And so far, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight or any indication that the pandemic it is going away anytime soon.

Mono County positive cases of COVID-19 cases, which had been steadily increasing by one almost every day, suddenly jumped from 40 a little over two weeks ago, to a surprising 79 cases as of this Sunday evening, July 19. The last four days have seen an increase of twenty-five new cases jumping from 54 to 79.

While Inyo County supervisors recently expressed frustration with the state’s latest rollback order re-instituting restrictions on many indoor activities, they recognized that local enforcement of health orders needed to be clarified, reinforced and also, better enforced. Many cities and communities across the country are now fining people who refuse to wear a mask as mandated. Whether Inyo and Mono counties will do so is uncertain. The preferred method so far seems to be to used persuasion to ensure compliance.


Inyo County, which has had a remarkable level of compliance to its health orders and in its efforts at containment of the virus, is responding to the threat of increased COVID-19 Cases with a sterner approach.

On Monday, July 13, the county issued its Revised Masking Order mandating stricter compliance and enforcement. One reason for the action is that many residents have complained, especially on social media platforms, that certain businesses and their customers, along with tourists and visitors, appear to be ignoring the health orders on wearing face coverings and maintaining social/physical distancing. The other reason is that, if they don’t start doing something, the county potentially faces a county-wide shut-down again by the state.

While there appears to be no “official” county or state “Tip” or “Complaint” lines to report businesses or groups not compliant with county public health orders, Inyo County Assistant County Administrative Officer, Leslie Chapman, said at last Tuesday’s County Board of Supervisors meeting that the county’s COVID-19 Business Help Line at (760) 878-8241 has turned into a complaint line “because people are very concerned about the lack of masking.” The public has apparently, also been registering their complaints as well through email at: [email protected].

Chapman said the county is keeping a log of calls and complaints, and county staff have been following up with businesses and trying to do some education, coaching and applying pressure to bring the offenders into compliance.

To date there have been no formal actions taken by the county to enforce compliance, which doesn’t mean there haven’t been any. If there are, it should be a matter of public record. For their own health and safety, the public has a right to know which businesses or groups are not following the rules which, under attestation, they agreed to follow in order to reopen.

Inyo County’s COVID-19 Update website recently posted that it had 38 Positive COVID-19 Cases as of yesterday, Friday, July 17. Mono County’s COVID-19 website gives the public the Current Status of cases using real-time, up-to-date information. Again, Mono County has 79 positive COVID-19 cases as of Sunday evening, July 19.

The upward trend in positive cases is likely to continue according to health officials. So, batten down the hatches. Please wear a mask. It is the law. And notify the county of any businesses or situations not in compliance with public health orders.


22 Responses to Update: Positive COVID-19 Cases Take Troublesome Upturn in Inyo & Mono Counties

  1. johndoeml July 21, 2020 at 2:17 pm #

    Scroll partway down to a blue map and hover over respective counties to get data for past 14 days. Scroll a little further to see which counties are passing or failing case rates over past 14 days. The positives are assigned to county of residence, so they don’t reflect the positive tourists. In other words, the number listed undercounts the positive tests that are taken here. I don’t know what the ratio is for tourist to local positives, but if there is one positive tourist for every positive local we would double the numbers for past 14 days. My guess is there are many more tourists positive.

  2. The Masked Locals July 21, 2020 at 8:00 am #

    The current positive case numbers are the total number of cases from the beginning of the year. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone could fix or clarify that? By the way, most local governments, (our biggest employers), as well as the Fed, are already as broke as the general population, that means limited or no more help as well as more layoffs. And if anyone is expecting that the banks are going to ‘forgive’ missed mortgage payments from ‘greedy’ landlords, then dream on, and get ready for foreclosure, when the banks will evict everyone to resell the property. That’s the same silly expectation as hoping that health insurance premium rates will not skyrocket from all this. Oh, and while on the insurance subject, perhaps if folks would just take a look at how much money their co-pays and deductibles are going to be for getting a bad case of covid, wearing a cheap mask might not seem to be such a bad idea after all. For unfortunately, even staying hunkered at this point solves nothing unless you can get everyone on the whole planet to do it at the same time, because due to local, interstate, and international travel it will be back. What a mess.

    Tests are only a snapshot in time. That leaves us having to figure out some way to go back to work while not getting sick from this crap. If that means wearing a %[email protected]!!&* mask, wear it. At least it’s a start.

  3. IP July 20, 2020 at 9:59 am #

    This is a tough situation for all, but ultimately, the public health folks are trying to help. This virus is largely unknown, but it seems to kill a lot of people both directly (clots, respiratory failure etc.) and indirectly (diverting medical resources that would have been otherwise available to help with chronic health problems).

    It is too bad that this seems to have turned into a political debate dominated be personal attacks on the people trying to manage it. We, as a society, fund Dr. Boo and Dr. Richardson to address and help us navigate these crises, and it is hard enough to find a balance between safety and the economy without people backseat quarterbacking every decision.

    Wearing a mask will not kill you, and it may help save a life. At the end of the day, if you can help spare someone pain and suffering, you should probably do it.

  4. tj July 20, 2020 at 9:57 am #

    SoCal mountain resort resident here. You guys are going through what we’re dealing with. Looks like Mammoth is the hot spot? Yeah. We’ve got one of those too. PACKED with visitors. More than any 4th of July weekend I can remember. Not much break during the week either.
    So here’s to city governments putting money over people. Gotta’ keep those rentals poppin’ and the fire fighters busy in bone dry forests with countless calls. Because America! And because Freedom!

  5. Casey July 20, 2020 at 9:54 am #

    Where can we find information from the Verily (drive through in Lone Pine, Bishop, Mammoth) test sites? Inyo County does not show this information on their website nor do they report to CDC with Verily info. Mono County does. Does Inyo have more cases than the reported 38? If we are to make all decisions for open status of schools and business based on this information, this information needs to be complete! Is this being hidden in order to keep business open? At what cost?

    • Charles James July 22, 2020 at 9:01 pm #

      UPDATE ON VERILY CASES IN INYO COUNTY: This comes directly from the Inyo Covid-19 website “*Data sources include NIHD, SIHD, Toiyabe and Verily testing sites. Positives tests for those who are not full time residents in Inyo County are not included in the Positive Case count. Total, pending, and negative test numbers include individuals tested more than once.”

      Casey, I don’t if that helps answer your question any better.-SWM
      Casey, we asked both Inyo and Mono County this question. Only Mono County responded with an answer.

      The Mono County Public Health Department has provided the following statement:

      “Mono County COVID testing numbers reflect the total tests conducted on Mono County residents. Verily, along with all other test sites/hospitals, report the results of Mono County residents directly to the health department. These results are individually entered into the county database to be added in with all hospital tests, public health tests, etc. This allows us to control for any double reporting of patients tested through Verily and ensures that each test reported to the public is associated with an individual and existing test in our database.”

  6. GC July 20, 2020 at 6:11 am #

    Ignorance leads to fear. Fear feeds ignorance.

  7. Inyo K July 20, 2020 at 3:50 am #

    Local businesses posting signs about “all accommodations” encouraging people not to wear masks. I know what places I won’t be returning to even after the pandemic.

  8. masked local July 19, 2020 at 6:24 pm #

    Yeah, revenue is real important when you gotta eat and pay rent. How much more is the small business man and single mother supposed to take to keep everyone safe? Cuts to entitlements are likely next. I don’t think most people care about politics anymore when survival is at stake. Wear the masks, stay open, pray to whatever gods you believe in….

  9. the masked locals July 19, 2020 at 12:14 pm #

    So…now we are all supposed to believe Mono County has 76 total active cases??? I guess nobody ever recovers from this sickness – they remain perpetually ill. In a county of around 14,000 there are about 35 new known cases, since the end of May. Now that’s a sky high high percentage of the general population (35/14000 = .0025 of a person – really!!!). Totally worth loosing family businesses, homes, life savings, retirements and reasons for living so we can just rinse and repeat this over and over again. During the last lock down did the state and hospital administrators acquire more PPE, staff, ventilators, reopen or open more facilities to take care of this inevitability? Do the people who have the jobs that are still remaining and the resources to ride this thing out even care about the rest? These are hard questions. I know everyone hopes for treatments or a vaccine. A vaccine won’t be around until years end at best and the first in line will be the wealthy, the military, first responders, politicians, high risk folks, and then maybe the rest of us. So how long can we afford to stay hunkered down? Can’t have it both ways. Just asking????

  10. Good bye July 18, 2020 at 9:06 pm #

    Good thing supervisors opened everything. After all revenue is more important than health

    • Tj July 19, 2020 at 6:30 pm #

      You’re probably a government employee?

      • Good bye July 20, 2020 at 3:46 pm #

        Wrong. Nice try troll.

        • Good bye July 20, 2020 at 9:52 pm #

          Just a local that would like to stay healthy.

  11. BobK July 18, 2020 at 8:59 pm #

    So David, are you blaming Trump for the Covid spike in Calif., and not our state leadership? Please explain.

    • Philip Anaya July 19, 2020 at 12:34 pm #

      Many of all political persuasions are well aware of the deficiencies of the Trump/Pence plan to manage the response to the covid pandemic, now most notably the current numbers. It is not about blame so much as it is about solutions and getting things back on track . Other Countries have had success. We are in the toilet hole. Blame Trump, ok, plenty he could have and should now be doing differently, but blame more, each individual who should be listening to the Public Health experts and doing their upmost to cooperate and contribute to keep the number of infections at bay.

    • Marion Saulque July 26, 2020 at 1:48 pm #

      Those who are blaming Trump for the state this country is in are absolutely justified in doing so. Those who follow him are just as ignorant as he is. Every time he opens his mouth he confirms he is ignorant it is embarrassing.

  12. David Dennison July 18, 2020 at 5:22 pm #

    Read about or listen to what “recovery” is all about.
    In some cases,months later ,still feeling effects from a positive case,as well as dealing with fear of effecting family members,friends and loved ones.
    With your thinking,do you have to be hospitalized and on a ventilator in the ER and ICU to get it ?
    If you notice the maps,except for the overpopulated California,it’s the idiots in the Southern red states refusing to wear masks and opening up too soon that are feeling the effects of the spiking COVID cases the past few weeks.
    A big reason California is spiking is also because of having opened things up too soon,and people thinking like you,in denial of the pandemic and seeing it as a way and ploy of “defeating trump”,,when in fact he’s doing a pretty good job of doing that all by himself.
    When things opened up too soon in California,and especially up here in the Owens Valley and Mono County is when things started going to hell.
    Now you see what’s happened.
    Positive COVID cases spiking in our own back yard.
    Restaurants and business’ closed again.
    And if it keeps up,in the next week or two,sure to be back to square-one,with more business’ and services having to shut down again.
    In my books,the “gullible” ones are those that choose to believe and worship the words and actions of their liar in chief,brushing things aside ,in denial and seeing it as a “hoax” and conspiracy.

    • Mono Person July 18, 2020 at 8:07 pm #

      Quit putting “Mono County” cases all together- it is Mammoth cases! The rest of Mono has had 2, and they are quite questioning…

  13. Mitch July 18, 2020 at 2:08 pm #

    These reports create fear among the gullible. “Suddenly jumped from 40—just a little over two weeks ago—to 74 cases.” How come these “cases” are not removed after recovery is made? Why not report how many people in Inyo and Mono are currently hospitalized, let alone on ventilators due to Covid? Zero, because this is an election year flu!

    • Low July 18, 2020 at 5:16 pm #

      Because recovery doesn’t negate confirmed cases. Here’s a number for you – 143,000 dead Americans from COVID. The only gullible people are the ones who are downplaying this virus.

    • Charles O. Jones July 19, 2020 at 8:15 am #

      It’s been less than five months since the first confirmed death from the virus hit this country. As of this moment there have been 140,131 deaths in the USA from COVD-19.

      Election year flu? What an absurd comment.


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