Tag Archives: coronavirus lone pine

Free COVID-19 Testing Available in Lone Pine Every Friday

Is providing free drive through COVID-19 testing for the citizens of Inyo County starting Friday June 12 from 8am to 12:45pm and every Friday thereafter. Testing will be at the parking lot of the sports complex next to the Sheriff Office on Highway 395

You must register in advance by using the following link.

https://inyocounty.us19.list-manage.com/track/click?u=9d2a6f138c5db59b3ec0701ef&id=d1eadde043&e=9f5eb06cf9

11th COVID-19 Case Confirmed in Inyo County

INYO COUNTY, April 5, 2020 – Inyo County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. James Richardson, received notification this morning from Northern Inyo Healthcare District regarding a positive COVID-19 test for an Inyo County resident. This is the 11th positive COVID-19 case in Inyo County. The patient presented to Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s Rural Health Clinic with symptoms associated with COVID-19, and was tested for COVID19 based on symptoms and other risk-factors.

Inyo County Public Health is working to determine the source of the infection, and conducting a thorough investigation to identify potential exposures and notify contacts. At this time the patient is currently isolated at home. As of April 4, Inyo County has 12 tests pending and 101 negative cases. Due to the volume of tests being analyzed currently in California, the turnaround time can take several days.

The public must continue to practice preventative measures such as wearing a cloth or fabric face mask when conducting essential activities outside the home, avoiding contact with sick individuals, wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, practicing social distancing, and adherence to State and County Orders. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, coughing or shortness of breath, and think you may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

The County of Inyo, Northern Inyo Healthcare District, and Unified Command partners are committed to keeping Inyo County residents up to date with the most accurate information. You are encouraged to visit https://www.inyocounty.us/covid-19 for the most recent press releases and community updates. You can also register your email so you receive all Inyo County COVID-19 information by clicking either Situation Update or Press Releases from the left-side menu.

Students Not Likely to Return to School Campuses This Year

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond released a statement Tuesday regarding the 2019-20 school year.

“Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing, it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year. In order to allow schools to plan accordingly, and to ensure that learning still occurs until the end of the school year, we are suggesting that schools plan and prepare to have their curriculum carried out through a distance learning model. This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning.

“With that said, we are doing everything we can to support our schools and their distance learning opportunities for our students. We have been providing webinars, with one coming up this week to specifically focus on serving our students with disabilities in a distance learning model. We have guidance coming out this week to address the concerns of our seniors, and even our juniors, in regards to grading and graduation requirements. We also put out a survey to all districts in the state to determine their technology gaps and are now working to ensure that all students have access to devices and internet if they need it for their distance learning requirements.

“We are in unprecedented times, and it’s hard to tell what the future holds as we are all doing our best to flatten the curve. From what we know right now, our schools will be closed longer than we originally thought, and it will be best if our schools are prepared for that extension, by having their distance learning models prepared to go until the end of the school year.”

Please join State Superintendent Tony Thurmond for a media check-in about his recent recommendation and upcoming guidance from the California Department of Education tomorrow, April 1, at 3:30 p.m.

Due to social distancing guidelines this will not be done in person, but rather virtually. Email communciations@cde.ca.gov by noon to receive login information.

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Northern Inyo Hospital Preparing for ‘Surge’ of COVID-19 Cases

Northern Inyo Hospital gave its weekly COVID-19 update on Monday afternoon, March 30, 2020, with Dr. Stacey Brown taking the lead in updating the media.

“We have eight total positive cases of COVID-19 in the county. Six of the eight cases were confirmed at NIHD, while Toiyabe confirmed the other two. In addition, thirteen of the eighty-one total tests administered are pending,” Brown told members of the media.

There is good news for Inyo County when it comes to testing. The Rural Health Clinic Director said the hospital is receiving coronavirus testing results from a LabCorp facility based in Phoenix, which will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to determine if a patient has the virus. On average, test results will be available in 2-3 days. Up until recently, NIHD had to send their samples to a testing location in North Carolina, which took about seven days on average for the hospital to receive the results.

Brown also added that testing is expected to get even faster in the coming weeks when the FDA approves use of a high-tech machine called the “Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV2 test.”

The RHC director spoke about the new machine saying, “The hospital is still waiting for approval for our in-house COVID testing machine that will be able to do tests in an hour. Approval for testing should happen by around mid-April.”

This does not mean that testing will be available for the general public. Brown says the new testing system will target essential workers first, then vulnerable populations second. “We are going to follow a priority scheme, so the testing for the general public is going to be reduced.  If it looks and smells like COVID, it is probably COVID, so we are not going to use those tests on general public. We are saving the tests for healthcare workers, first responders, and critically ill patients. They are priority number one. Next would be high risk individuals like people with underlying medical conditions and older people.”

Antibody testing is expected to be readily available across the country soon as well. This type of testing will be used to see if those who have already had COVID-19 have built up an immunity to the virus.

Inyo County already has its fair share of coronavirus cases, but Brown expects a surge of cases to happen in the near future. With that being said, Dr. Brown says the hospital is doing everything it can to prepare.  “We are looking at a surge plan for when things get much busier. Right now, though, we are working well within our capacity as a hospital.”

Though there is an expectation from local medical professionals that there will be a vast increase in cases, Dr. Will Timbers, who works in the hospital’s Emergency Room, says the general public is doing a nice job of staying home. This is lessening the amount of viral cases, and also preventing other acute injuries not related to coronavirus. “There are two things that I think should be said,” Timbers remarked. “I think the community at large should be commended for staying home. We have seen a drop in acute injuries also, because people are not going out and instead electing to stay home.”

What Effect Will Coronavirus Have on Local Schools?

Novel Coronavirus is now considered a pandemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Public gatherings are being canceled worldwide including concerts, sporting events, church meetings, and even school.

Though there have been no confirmed cases in the Eastern Sierra, that isn’t stopping officials from mulling over the idea of suspending school.

Inyo County Superintendent of Schools, Barry Simpson has been talking to the Inyo County Department of Public Health, to see what direction districts should be taking relating to the possible postponement of school.

Simpson said, “Canceling school is being discussed as a potential measure, but that action is not imminent right now.”

If a local case of COVID-19 is reported, that could obviously change the entire situation as far as measures taken by the Inyo County Office of Education. The superintendent added, “We will determine if there are cases in the area, and we will act accordingly.”

Any decision to cancel school will likely come via instruction from the Inyo County Department of Public Health. However, Simpson says a decision to close areas of education comes down to the individual school districts. “When it comes to closures, it happens locally by each school district, meaning Big Pine, Owens Valley, Bishop, and Lone Pine, superintendents have to make that choice. My job is to make sure everyone has the right information so the districts can act accordingly.”

Spring break is happening next week for students, and the Inyo County Superintendent has instructed district staffs to thoroughly clean all rooms at each school. “We are diligently cleaning schools right now, but the break will allow us to increase the cleaning of all our facilities.” Simpson told KIBS/KBOV News.

The county is also looking at ways to continue education if kids are prohibited from going to school. Though Simpson acknowledged that online education is not ideal due to some students not having access to internet, it that may be one of the only options available if students are forced to stay home.

Superintendent Simpson will meet with other district superintendents and public health officials on Thursday to discuss the next steps as coronavirus cases sweep through the world.