Inyo County has its first confirmed COVID-19 case.
The first Coronavirus patient has been identified as a 42-year old female living in Bishop. According to Northern Inyo Hospital Rural Health Director, Stacey Brown, the patient came down with symptoms including a fever, cough, chills, body aches, headaches, and low-grade fever.
Health officials instructed the female victim to self-quarantine at her house.
When asked about the status of the patient, Dr. Stacey Brown said he was unsure about the health status of the individual. “I don’t know, but I will reach out to her. As far as I know, she is recuperating at home.”
Brown emphasized that just because a person does not have severe symptoms, does not mean there is no cause for concern. “This is a great example of how COVID can appear pretty mild in a person. She got tested for a flu and that came back negative. Then she tested positive for COVID, and we got results after a four-day turnaround. The spread [of coronavirus] can present itself in many ways.”
So far, NIHD has conducted fifty-five total tests. Out of those tests, twenty-two are negative, while thirty-two are pending.
The Hospital’s Drive-In testing center was where the patient tested positive for the virus. “The drive-in testing clinic that the district put together was successful in finding our first case in a safe manner,” Brown expressed.
Dr. Brown said the staff responsible for testing the female took all proper measures to minimize the risk of contracting novel coronavirus. “I am really proud of what we have done as far as collecting specimens in a safe manner,” said the Rural Health Clinic Director.
The district will be switching from a surveillance strategy into a containment plan. With containment as the top priority, Brown expressed that the way the hospital goes about testing for coronavirus will be different.
“The testing we do for COVID is going to be focused more on healthcare members so we can get staff back into duty quickly. Testing will also be for acute patients, correctional facilities, and long-term care centers like the Bishop Care Center. We are testing right now, but not for the general public.” Dr. Brown stated.
Director Brown encouraged the public to practice the same strategies health officials have emphasized since the start of this pandemic. Nothing has changed when it comes to combating coronavirus. “Now that we know it is here, it is much more about containing the illness and talking about things like social distancing, hand washing, cleaning surfaces, etc. There is nothing new we have on the horizon from a public health perspective just because it is here.” Brown said.