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Northern Inyo Hospital Alters Diagnostic Lab Protocol

As the nation opens back up for business, so is the Northern Inyo Healthcare District. The District remains operational with a few limitations. The District asks those returning to its laboratory for blood work to help the District keep all returning patients safe by remembering to schedule their lab appointments.

Two options are available for lab draws at this time. Patients may request an in-house lab draw. This means they would enter the hospital lobby, check-in with admissions, answer COVID-19 screening questions, and then be escorted to the lab room for their draw. Hours for in-house draws are 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

Alternatively, if the test allows and time permits, patients may request a drive-up car appointment. This allows patients to stay in their vehicles as masked and gloved NIHD phlebotomists come to them in the hospital parking lot.

Car appointments are limited to morning hours, Monday through Friday, 6 -11 a.m., due to the increasingly warm weather. No car appointments are available on Saturdays due to staffing.

NIHD requires patients and their staff to wear masks at all times while on the NIHD campus. Those needing a mask will be given a Project Cover-Up fabric mask for their visit at check-in.

According to Diagnostic Services Director Larry Weber, the District is experiencing heavy walk-in visits for blood draws. While staff welcomes the return to the hospital for such services, it is also filling up the waiting room areas. “We’ve taken steps to promote physical distancing in all our wait rooms,” Weber explained. “We’ve essentially eliminated about half of our normal seating, so when we experience a large number of walk-ins, we struggle to meet those physical distancing requirements.”

Weber strongly suggests patients make a lab appointment when given draw orders by their primary care providers. “This is a system we went to more than a year ago, and it has worked out very well, resulting in minimal delays for patients,” Weber said. “It also helps us better plan for the arrival, screening, and safe care of the patients.”

To make a lab appointment, call (760) 873-2155. Should you have additional questions about available services at NIHD, please call (760) 873-5811 for assistance.

Mono County Will Open Fishing Season on May 23, 2020

CDFW Letter About Fishing Season:

On April 15, 2020 the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) adopted emergency regulations, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 8.02, providing the Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) the ability to delay, suspend, or restrict sport or recreational fishing for particular species or areas to ensure that anglers, local communities, and government employees are protected from increased risk of transmission of COVID-19. This ability is conditioned on coordination with local government and Tribes, and consultation with the President of the Commission.

After direct conversations with county leadership, the Department acted to delay the trout fishing opener scheduled to start on April 25, 2020, in Mono County. Also after county coordination, in an effort to protect wild trout fisheries and stocked fisheries that remained open in Mono County, the Department reduced bag and possession limits in a few, limited streams. These changes went into effect April 22, 2020, and are set to expire May 31, 2020.
On May 21, 2020, the Department received a letter from the Mono County Board of Supervisors requesting that the opening day of fishing season be moved from June 1, 2020 to May 22, 2020 as the county received approval from the California Department of Public Health to move into the Governor’s Phase Two, Stage Two Resilience Roadmap. In response to this request, I am revising the May 31, 2020 end date for the current fishing restrictions in Mono County. Because the county’s letter was received near close of business on May 21, and the Department required one additional day for consultation and processing this request, both the delay and the previously adopted bag and possession limit changes will now expire on May 22, 2020 to allow for a May 23, 2020 open to fishing.

Attached to this memorandum is a comprehensive summary of the changes to sportfishing regulations that remain in effect through May 31, 2020, (Attachment 1) and the formal regulation changes (Attachment 2).

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact Roger Bloom, Acting Chief, Fisheries Branch at Roger.Bloom@wildlife.ca.gov.

Bishop Union High School Prepares for Unorthodox Graduation

The 111 graduates from Bishop Union High School will get the chance to receive their diplomas from BUHS Administration over the course of three days next week. Though there won’t be a traditional ceremony in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, students will get the chance to drive to the high school’s parking lot with their family members and receive their diplomas.

This makeshift ceremony will be taking place starting May 26, 2020, until May 28, 2020. A maximum of four family members will be allowed to accompany the graduating seniors.

Graduating seniors will be assigned a specific time to pick up their graduation certificates on one of the three aforementioned dates. There is no specific time relating to when the celebration will start each day, but it will be some time during the evening.

During the three day ceremony, students will be filmed receiving their high school diplomas. After all of the footage is compiled, the high school will post it online for the general public to view on June 5th, 2020.

Convicted Felon Arrested in Bishop

Press Release from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office

BISHOP, CA, May 20, 2020 – On May 19 at approximately 10:30 PM, Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies contacted and arrested Bishop resident and convicted felon, 48-year old Keeneeh Watterson, for active Inyo County Arrest Warrants. Watterson was arrested without incident and transported to the Inyo County Jail.

Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies and MINT Investigators conducted a search of Watterson’s residence pursuant to Watterson’s terms of Post Release Community Supervision. During the search, Deputies located several items of concern including a loaded AR-15 style rifle with loaded magazines, an improvised explosive device (IED), approximately fifty pounds of Ammonium Nitrate blasting agent, a live blasting cap, and several live rounds of ammunition. All of the items were safely removed from the residence and retained as evidence.

Watterson was booked into the Inyo County Jail on the Inyo County Arrest Warrants, which included a No-Bail Warrant, along with the additional charges of: CPC 18710(a) – Possession of a destructive device; CPC 18720 – Possession of materials with intent to make a destructive device; CPC 29800(a)(1) – Felon in possession of a firearm; CPC 30305(a)(1) – Felon in possession of ammunition; and, CPC 3455(a) – Violation of terms of post release community supervision.

Local Church and Restaurant Donate Gifts and Food to Hospital Workers

Generosity abounded when Bishop’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church chose to donate the Easter baskets it normally prepared for the parish’s annual Easter Egg hunt to local healthcare workers. With the country on the recent Stay-Home orders, Father John Gracey wanted to offer the baskets chocked full of traditional Easter goodies to healthcare workers. Gracey and his staff, Lyn Schwanke and Lorena Franco, shown above with the baskets, felt the gesture would assist those who may not have had the chance to prepare for the holiday due to unexpected work commitments brought on by the pandemic. The baskets were presented to chosen staff members after supervisors put their names forward for consideration. Please note photo was taken before mask requirements were put into place. Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo Healthcare District

 

ALSO:

Manny Singh, owner and operator of Bishop’s Subway restaurant, recently expressed his gratitude for the efforts put forth by frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing lunch for several departments at Northern Inyo Healthcare District. Singh and Estera Granados, far right, delivered the fresh and tasty sandwiches to NIHD’s Main Lobby, where NIHD team members John Harmon, Brooklyn Burley and Justin Nott warmly greeted them. In addition to the Subway shops in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes

City of Bishop Provides Guidelines for What Businesses Need to Reopen

Inyo County has received a variance from the California Department of Public Health to move faster through Stage 2 of the Governor’s Four Stage Recovery Roadmap. The City of Bishop intends to comply with this Roadmap. This means restaurants and in-store retail in Inyo County and the City of Bishop can be certified to re-open by completing the following steps:

  1. Review your industry guidelines (see Industries section on the County’s website)
  2. Prepare your business and complete the checklist
  3. Complete and submit the Inyo County Business Attestation form
  4. Visibly post your completed checklist within your business

The submitted Inyo County Business Attestation form will be reviewed within 24 hours. Businesses may open immediately after County approval.

We’re here to help, so if a restaurant abuts against a city-owned lot or property, call us and we’ll be happy to see if we can work out a temporary encroachment permit to allow for outdoor seating (so you can increase your capacity beyond the reduced indoor capacity). As we know, the time lag to see the effect of our actions is two weeks to determine if these safety precautions are effective. So, let’s make sure we do it responsibly, keeping to health orders, so we can minimize any sort of relapse in our case load which would set us back on our path to re-open.

Inyo County Given Green Light to Open Economy at Local Level

INYO COUNTY, CA, May 15, 2020: Inyo County has received approval from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to move forward with reopening additional businesses in Inyo County. With this approval, Inyo County businesses that have completed an industry-specific checklist and submitted the Inyo County Business Attestation Form may receive approval to reopen (will be available on the Reopening Inyo Businesses webpage within the next 24 hours).

Inyo County has officially moved to Phase Two, Stage Two of the Governor’s Four Stage Recovery Roadmap.  Here is the current status:

According to the Resilience Roadmap for the State of California, before reopening, all facilities must perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan; train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19 (including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them); implement individual control measures and screenings; implement disinfecting protocols; and, implement physical distancing guidelines.

All businesses that are currently operating, as well as businesses that are permitted to reopen, must certify that they have met the industry-specific reopening requirements by filling out the Inyo County Business Attestation form located at Reopening Inyo Businesses. Industry checklists are also located on this webpage.

City of Bishop Declares May as Healthcare District Month

As the world continues to celebrate healthcare workers, the City of Bishop chose to salute its local healthcare and first responders Monday night with a proclamation naming May as Healthcare District Month.

This is not the first time the City recognized healthcare workers in May. For the past several years, the City set aside May as Healthcare District Month, and May traditionally housed National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week. The arrival of the Coronavirus indeed lent itself to expanding this recognition to include the first responders and county-based public healthcare staff who work alongside Northern Inyo Healthcare District.

Kelli Davis, Interim Chief Executive Officer, told the council that this recognition focuses on all the community heroes, who are working tirelessly through the crisis at hand. “These first four months of 2020 have been very trying, frightening, and devastating throughout the United States and in our small communities through the Eastern Sierra due to the pandemic,” Davis said.

While many of the frontline workers are obviously our physicians and nurses, Davis noted that other often-unsung heroes contribute to the health and well-being of the community during trying times such as this. These include, but are not limited to, firefighters, air ambulance teams, police officers, paramedics, EMTs, hospital and county teams at every level, and many other community workers required to respond to health-related needs and medical emergencies.

“We are very appreciative of the action our City Council is taking in honoring all of these community members,” Davis said. “These workers continue to risk their personal safety to execute their respective duties, day in and day during this crisis. Honoring our healthcare workers and first responders by proclaiming May as Healthcare District Month demonstrates the appreciation and heartfelt thanks for these folks and the work they are doing on the front lines against the pandemic we have been facing for the past few months and will continue to face for some time.”

Before the City Council read the proclamation into the official record, Mayor Laura Smith paused to recognize some of those who contributed to the team effort. Those workers included: Northern Inyo Healthcare District’s Andrea Daniels, Denice Hynd, Dr. Stacey Brown, Jannalyn Lawrence, Krissy Alcala, Amy Stange, Janice Jackson, Genifer Owens, Emily Smith, Tanya DeLeo, and Scott Hooker; along with Symons Ambulance’s Judd Symons; Sierra Life Flight’s Mike Patterson; Bishop Volunteer Fire Chief Joe Dell; Big Pine Fire Chief Damon Carrington; Chalfant Valley Fire Chief Steve Lindeman; and, Inyo County Public Health’s Anna Scott.

“Our community deeply appreciates the work that’s been done and continues to be done within the healthcare district and beyond,” Mayor Smith said.

Bishop Paiute Tribe Planning Reopening Phase

May 7th, 2020 – As the pandemic stabilizes, the Bishop Paiute Tribe has planned a measured and strategic approach to allow employees to return to work safely to prevent a resurgence of the virus. This must be done in the most effective, efficient, and risk-averse way possible to balance the return of governmental and economic stability, while simultaneously continuing to keep employees and tribal members safe by controlling the spread of the disease.

The tribe’s re-opening plans are currently being crafted at the departmental, tribal, and public levels, and will be announced as they are developed and finalized. Updates will be available to the public as they occur on KBPT-LP 96.1fm and on the Tribe’s website and Facebook page.

The Bishop Paiute Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe located on its 879 acre Bishop Paiute Reservation in Inyo County, California. The Reservation was formed under Congressional Act 5299, P.L. No. 43 of April 20, 1937. The Tribe is committed to the well being of its people. For more information please contact the Bishop Paiute Tribe at (760) 873-3584.

CHSRA State Rodeo Finals Has Been Canceled

At the Tri-County Fairgrounds Board of Directors Emergency Meeting on Thursday, May 7, 2020, the board passed a unanimous motion to cancel the CHSRA State Rodeo Finals.

With the current stay at home orders from the State of California, the board felt it was too big of a task to pull off the event in a safe manner. Adhering to the state’s social distancing guidelines while organizing such a big event was another reason the board decided to not host the event this summer.

Kramer Junction Will Be Closed for Five Days

Full Closure on US Route 395 at State Route 58 (Kramer Junction)

SAN BERNARDINO – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in partnership with Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad, will be closing US Route 395 (US-395) at Kramer Junction for five days to allow BNSF workers to replace concrete panels, rails and re-ballast the tracks crossing US-395 immediately north of the intersection of State Route 58 (SR-58). The railroad work is a portion of the completion work for the Kramer Junction project which began in late 2017 to realign Old State Route 58 to the new expressway east and west of “Four Corners” in San Bernardino County.

The full closure on US-395 will begin on Sunday, May 17 at 5:00 a.m. and continue through Thursday, May 21st at 5:00 p.m. at Kramer Junction. A 10-mile detour will be in place for traffic on US-395.

  • Northbound US-395 traffic will be diverted from US-395 westward onto Old State Route 58 (Old SR-58) to Twenty Mule Team Road. At the intersection of Twenty Mule Team Road and Old SR-58, westbound motorists will make a left turn onto Twenty Mule Team Road, continue to Boron Road making a right turn to head north to the new section of SR-58, then head east on SR-58 back to US-395.
  • Southbound US-395 traffic will be diverted from US-395 westward onto the new section of SR-58, exit Boron Road and turn left, travel south on Boron Road to Twenty Mule Team Road, then turn left to head east back to US-395.
  • SR-58 will remain open in both directions on the new alignment to bypass the closure.

Motorists are advised to use SR-58 west from I-15 as an alternate route to avoid delays (DETOUR MAP ATTACHED). Changeable message signs and detour signage will be in place to alert motorists to use alternate routes to avoid delays. Remember to reduce your speed in the work zone. Be advised, weather conditions may affect this operation.

Know before you go! To stay on top of roadwork in the Inland Empire go to Caltrans District 8 and sign up for commuter alerts. Follow us for the latest information on Facebook and Twitter. To assist in planning your commute, view live traffic conditions using QuickMap and planned lane closures. For those with sensory disabilities requiring alternate formats (i.e. Braille, large print, sign language interpreter, etc.) and those needing information in a language other than English, please contact Kimberly Cherry at 909-383-6290 or TTY 711 by May 18, 2020.

Temporary Homeless Safe Parking Project Gets the Green Light

Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action (IMACA) have found a suitable location to implement a Safe Parking Project in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order, which requires counties and cities to provide suitable shelter for the state’s homeless population.

 

Individuals experiencing homelessness will now be permitted to park in front of the old Kmart building next to Taco Bell. There will be portable toilets and sanitation stations on site to ensure that those staying in the old Kmart parking lot are practicing the recommended sanitation guidelines provided by the California Department of Public Health.

 

Since the state of emergency was declared by Governor Newsom on March 19, 2020, both IMACA and Inyo County have been scrambling to find a suitable location to shelter the homeless.

 

According to Assistant Director of Inyo County Health and Human Services, Meaghan McCamman, the county played a supporting role in helping IMACA find a suitable location to shelter the homeless. “IMACA has looked for a long time for a suitable spot. We need to have social distancing available for the vulnerable populations if we are to fully reopen the economy. This is an IMACA project. When the governor put aside 150 million dollars to help shelter the homeless, IMACA, which acts as the Continuum of Care in the area was the recipient of some of those funds. The county has acted in a supporting role,” McCamman said.

 

McCamman emphasized that the Safe Parking Zone will not be permanent. “This is an emergency parking situation. This is not a long-term situation. I know the Continuum of Care is looking for a long-term situation, but the lease is set to expire with the lifting of the declared emergency,” McCamman said.

The lifting of the state of emergency would come from Inyo County Public Health Officer, Dr. James Richardson.

 

There is a big difference between IMACA’s Safe Parking Project that was set to be implemented at the Bishop Church of the Nazarene and the Safe Parking Project that will be instituted in the old Kmart parking space. Homeless people residing in their cars were only permitted to stay at the Church of the Nazarene from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Now, the homeless who stay in the old Kmart parking lot, must stay in the parking lot unless they are performing essential business.

 

Housing and Planning Director for IMACA, Larry Emerson, said, “There is shelter in place order, and people parking at the lot are expected to stay there unless they are conducting essential business or if they recreating outside while maintaining social distance.”

 

Emerson says the parking lot will be patrolled by law enforcement along with IMACA staff. “Yes they [law enforcement] will be present. Additionally, IMACA will have 24-hour monitoring for the spot on site,” Emerson remarked.

 

There is also no limit to the amount of people who can park near the old Kmart building. The only requirement is that those staying in their vehicles must practice physical distancing. “There is no limit to the number of parking spots. We will expand and contract in order to maintain a safe social distance for those who don’t have a home to go to,” Emerson said.

 

The Church of the Nazarene Safe Parking Project which was being discussed before the pandemic allowed for up to fifteen vehicles to be on site.

 

According to the Housing and Planning Director, the number of portable bathrooms and sanitation stations will depend on the amount of people who are staying in the old Kmart parking lot. “This will be driven by how many folks we have using the parking lot. We are starting out with two standard portable restrooms and one wheelchair accessible restroom. Sanitation facilities will be available as well.” Emerson remarked.

 

With the latest decision to move to “phase two” of reopening society, Governor Newsom has said that local municipalities may be able to open quicker depending on whether or not they meet certain criteria. McCamman said multiple times to KIBS/KBOV News that one of those requirements is finding suitable shelter for the homeless. “The timing right now is really perfect. Local jurisdictions now have more flexibility, which allows them to move faster than the state. Having safe space available for the homeless is a part of the reopening process,” McCamman remarked.

 

The City of Bishop gave the green light to both the county and IMACA to use the old Kmart parking lot to shelter those without a place to go. Mayor Laura Smith, gave the okay on the plan, and said that if anything goes wrong, Bishop will have the authority to discontinue the Safe Parking Project. “The city has received input on the plan, and I signed off on it. This project is not in lieu of the Church of the Nazarene project. This is only temporary during the emergency declaration. As soon as this period is over, the project is done. Also, if there is any problem and the city does not want it anymore, then it is done,” Smith said.

 

Because of the declared state of emergency, citizens of the public do not have the opportunity to appeal the Safe Parking Project at the old Kmart parking lot.