March 25, 2020 – A positive COVID-19 test result was received late March 24 from a Mammoth area resident who is critically ill in Reno hospital. We transferred this patient a few days ago. This patient, who cannot be interviewed because of his/her condition has no known links to other cases. This individual potentially exposed a number of people in different settings and the Health Department has contacted and evaluated as many of these as possible, recommending 14-day self-quarantine and monitoring.
Subsequently, we received results from a fourth case, also a Mammoth area resident. This patient was mildly ill and was only tested on March 21 because of a potential workplace contact with our first case. This individual has been self-isolating with a significant other who also recently had a mild illness. We transferred another suspected patient to Reno the evening of March 24, and yet another suspected patient is hospitalized locally in stable condition. In these suspect cases tests have been submitted and are pending. At this time, we have two critically ill Mono County residents, one with confirmed and the other with suspected COVID-19 infection.
The accelerating numbers of recognized and suspected infections demonstrates more clearly than ever that we have an epidemic in the Mammoth area. Remember that for every case we diagnose there are probably 10-20 others in the community, especially with the inadequate testing situation in the United States. We implore the community to continue, to double down on, practicing social, or as some are calling it, “physical distancing.”
Mono County Health Officer, Tom Boo, MD said, “This is an extremely serious situation and we fervently hope that all our efforts to promote distancing, from simple recommendations to the California “Stay At Home” Order to restrictions on hotels, motels, VRBOs and campgrounds, will reduce the impact on our community, especially elderly and medically vulnerable adults, who have higher rates of severe disease.
If social distancing does not work, if we continue to see accelerating COVID-19 numbers in coming weeks we anticipate potentially serious impacts on Mammoth Hospital, which has been working intensively for weeks to prepare for such possibility.”
Yesterday, March 24, in response to local reports of sick workers present in essential businesses serving the public , Dr. Tom Boo issued a Public Health Order prohibiting the presence of persons with illness in workplaces, with possible penalties including fines, forced closure of workplaces with quarantine orders for co-workers, and even imprisonment. It is an effort to reinforce our messages to stay home when you are sick. He said that reports from the public about sick people in public-facing jobs or from concerned co-workers will be investigated.
The pandemic is here, representing an immediate threat to our community, especially vulnerable people and our hospital’s ability to keep up with increased demand for medical care. Together, with the Unified Command Team (County, Town, Hospital), we are urgently trying to avoid replicating in California the terrible scenes from Italy and Wuhan City of hospitals unable to provide care to those who need it, and many deaths. Every one of us has a responsibility to reduce the spread of this virus. Please comply with California’s “Stay At Home” Order except for essential activities.
Please be reminded that the number of positive tests in Mono County as in the rest of the country, poorly reflects the extent of the virus’ spread because of overwhelmed laboratories. For the time being testing will be largely limited to people requiring hospitalization.
Please utilize the resources below for local information about the coronavirus.
Call: 211 (English and Spanish)