April 13, 2020 – Effective immediately, all individuals working in essential sectors throughout Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes are required to wear a face covering or mask to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19. Under Governor Newsom’s Stay At Home Order issued on March 19 2020, only workers in essential sectors should be currently working and this order applies to all, from essential retail operations, construction, utilities, medical, food service, etc., to public safety and government personnel.
Physical distancing and staying at home is the most effective way to control the spread of COVID-19, and it is working both locally and across the state. Mono County experienced a dramatic 55 – 70% decrease in the average mobility (based on distance traveled) of residents during the past few weeks that has drastically new infections. Masking or wearing cloth face covers is expected to further diminish the number of new infections, primarily by reducing the spread by infected people who have no symptoms. The CDC states that about twenty-five percent of people with COVID-19 have no symptoms.
Mono County Public Health Officer, Dr. Tom Boo, anticipates issuing a follow-up order requiring everyone to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when in public, which should go into effect before the Stay At Home Order expires.
“We anticipate masking to become our new normal in the time of the pandemic, and that physical distancing and other mitigation must continue even after the Stay At Home Order is lifted. We are experiencing some respite, but we are clearly not out of the woods yet. You may say we have a bit of a cease fire, but the war is not over,” stated Dr. Boo.
Dr Boo further stated that “The virus is still out there and can be expected to rebound with diminishing physical distance measures and vigilant hand washing, as we try to get more people back to work. We cannot eliminate the virus without a highly effective vaccine. When we move into the next phase, some social restrictions must stay in place. We are still a long way from being able to go back to normal life.”
In anticipation of the continued spread of the virus through Mono County and the impacts to our residents, the Health Department has increased staffing levels. The Nurse Hotline, accessible by calling 211, combined with improved testing capacity will be essential to our combined efforts to identify people affected by COVID-19. In addition, Mammoth Hospital continues to work with public agencies to coordinate hospital care with follow-up monitoring and patient support at home. A primary area of focus for Mammoth Hospital and medical teams across the country is the expansion of testing for quick results to know if someone is ill and antibody testing to know if some has already had the disease. To determine the effectiveness of these aggressive mitigation measures, the Mono County IT Department has built a new database for tracking cases that will greatly enhance a well-coordinated response enhancing our level of patient and family care