COVID-19 Positive Patient Hospitalized at Mammoth Hospital.
Mammoth Hospital has hospitalized its first patient since late March due to COVID-19. While the Eastern Sierra has seen relatively few infections over the last few months, the pandemic continues to be a threat to Mono County. This patient is now hospitalized and being treated for coronavirus.
“This new hospitalization is a reminder that the pandemic is still a very real crisis, on both a local and global level,” says Mammoth Hospital CEO, Tom Parker. “Many restrictions have been eased and we have seen a reopening of many businesses, giving us a sense of normalcy. Mono County’s ‘Stay Safe to Stay Open‘ campaign speaks to the need to stay vigilant in our efforts to cover, distance and wash. We have seen a significant increase in the last two weeks in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19. This is not the time to let our guard down. Mammoth Hospital has taken great steps to prepare for a surge of COVID patients, and we remain prepared to care for anyone who presents to our facility.”
The Inyo National Forest is extending the closure of all group campgrounds and two remote campgrounds under a forest order closure The closure can be terminated or extended depending in conditions.
Please see Exhibit A (in the link above) for a full list of campgrounds included in this order.
The decision is based upon recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health authorities.
Developed recreation group campsites on the Inyo National Forest typically draw large groups of people, creating mass gatherings and concentrated groups of forest visitors. This results in significant management oversight. especially during the high use conditions now being experienced.
Additionally, due to lack of personnel it is necessary to close two developed campgrounds, Grandview Campground and Kennedy Meadows Campground, located in remote areas of the Inyo National Forest. These facilities are located in areas that timely and routine cleaning cannot occur.
This closure is an interim measure. The Inyo National Forest will follow guidelines from the CDC, as well as state and local health departments, to ensure that the safety of our employees and our visitors is a priority.
Visitors are also urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with local health and safety guidance. For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.
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.
At the regular meeting of the Mammoth Lakes Town Council on April 15, Council adopted an urgency ordinance enacting a moratorium on evictions for tenants who have a substantial loss of income due to COVID-19.
Previously, the Town Council had voted to limit evictions of tenants in commercial buildings due to any circumstances related to COVID-19. At that time, a specific ordinance limiting evictions from residential properties was not pursued due Governor Newsom’s executive order which accomplished the same intent, although through different means.The new ordinance is effective immediately, through June 1, 2020. Renters must demonstrate through documentation or other objectively verifiable means that the inability to pay rent is due to substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses related to COVID-19 or substantial loss of income due to any of the following:
- The tenant is or was sick with COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who is or was sick with COVID-19;
- The tenant experienced a lay-off, loss of hours, substantial decrease in business income caused by a reduction in the opening hours or consumer demand, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19 or the state of emergency;
- The tenant’s compliance with a recommendation from a government agency to stay home, self-quarantine, or avoid congregating with others during the state of emergency; or
- The tenant’s need to miss work to care for a home-bound school-age child.
In order for the protections afforded under this ordinance to be applicable, a tenant must do all of the following:
- Notify the property owner or the owner’s agent in writing that they are unable to pay some or all of the rent due for one or more of the eligible reasons;
- Provide the property owner or the owner’s agent with verifiable documentation or other proof to support the assertion that they are unable to pay some or all of the rent due for one or more of the eligible reasons, within thirty (30) days of the day the rent is due;
- Notify the property owner or the owner’s agent that they are asserting the rights granted by this ordinance; and
- Pay the full amount of rent otherwise due, less the amount that is unavailable to the tenant for one or more of the eligible reasons.
The ordinance does not relieve a tenant of the obligation to pay rent, nor restrict a property owner’s ability to recover rental payments after May 31, 2020. A tenant must pay any rent that was unpaid or delayed for reasons stated in this ordinance as soon as possible, but in no event later than September 28, 2020.
Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action (IMACA), has been busy over the past few of weeks. The organization has been delivering food to over 750 families. The amount of families in need of assistance has nearly doubled since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
IMACA Executive Director, Bob Hughes, told KIBS/KBOV News that before the pandemic hit, about 300 families across the Eastern Sierra relied on the organization to receive their food.
With over 750 families relying on food deliveries from IMACA, a demand for volunteers who are willing to drop off food to families has become paramount.
Hughes says so far the community has stepped up when it comes to volunteers, but there is always a need for more.
If an individual would like to volunteer and help deliver food, he or she can visit IMACA’s website at www.imaca.net.
Those who are in need of food can also fill out a form under the “IMACA’s Food Distribution Delivery Program” tab on the homepage of www.imaca.net.
With the spread of coronavirus happening across the world, businesses everywhere have been forced to either shut their doors or greatly modify their services. One industry which has been affected greatly by the rise of COVID-19 cases, is the restaurant industry.
Dining rooms at restaurants are no longer allowed to stay open which forces customers to choose delivery or take out options only. In order to try to assuage some of the revenue losses businesses face in the Eastern Sierra, Local Real Estate Broker Jake Rasmuson has created a Facebook group called “Bishop Restaurants Offering Take-Out and Delivery.”
The hope is that the Facebook group will encourage people to order takeout in order to keep these businesses afloat.
“Well as a group, we set up so that we can keep the general public abreast of which restaurants are open, who is offering what food, and where for delivery.” Rasmuson said during an interview with KIBS/KBOV News. “It really gives the restaurants a chance to keep moving forward in this time of need.”
So far, the community has responded enthusiastically. This Facebook group was created about a week and a half ago, and it already has over 1,000 people in it.
“You know we are just over a thousand members. The response in our community has been amazing, just the number of people who are offering to help and who are offering to promote other restaurants. I think the biggest part is the local community members who are really trying to support the local restaurants and get up there and patronize the restaurants that are still open,” Rasmuson said.
Though Rasmuson implemented the idea locally, he says he stole the concept from a friend who lives just north of the United States border in Ontario, Canada. He stated, “You know I’ll be honest, another real estate agent friend up in Ontario, Canada, started a group very similar up there. I thought it was a great idea, and frankly, I stole it and got it started for our area. And I would encourage other areas to do the same thing because I really think it provides a great data base for our community to help those local restaurants.”
It’s safe to say none of the local restaurants or his friend care that this plan was not conceptualized by Rasumson.
Local restaurants aren’t the only businesses on board with this group. Jake Rasmuson conveyed that he is working with Bishop Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Tawni Thompson, to get retail businesses included.
“Things have been great.” Rasmuson expressed. “Everybody has really been promoting their businesses and their friend’s businesses. I got an email from Tawni Thompson, so we are going to add several of the local retail shops that are still open that are doing take out or delivery as well, so we are really trying to expand that aspect.”
At this time, Rasmuson is not sure how big of a dent the “Bishop Restaurants Offering Take-Out and Delivery” Facebook group is having when it comes to keeping the lights on for these businesses, but he guesses it is definitely helping. “I would guess that just from a takeout standpoint, their orders have increased. I think really the goal is to supplement the income they are going to lose form having to close down their dining rooms. So, if everybody who has the ability can go out and patronize our great local restaurants, I’m sure the owners and then the employees would absolutely benefit there.”
Not only can an individual order delicious food from a local restaurant, they can also enjoy an alcoholic beverage dropped right on his or her front door.
“I do want to add, I know the state ABC laws have changed slightly due to the temporary restrictions, so I know quite a few of the restaurants have the ability to deliver wine, beer, and mixed drinks. So, if someone is at home and wants dinner and a cocktail, I’m sure that can be set up.”
The Mono County Health Department will host community meetings about the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in several communities over the next few weeks. The purpose of these meetings is to provide community members with locally relevant information about the situation and to promote discussion. We will answer questions and hope to hear and understand community concerns.
We have no evidence at this time that COVID-19 is present in the Eastern Sierra and feel that the risk of public gatherings like this is low and outweighed by the potential benefits of keeping people informed. We are of course watching the situation closely and if we determine that there could be some risk from these community gatherings we may opt for other modes of communication.
Spanish language interpretation will be available at the Bridgeport and Mammoth meetings.
Wednesday March 11, 2020 @ Mammoth High School Cafeteria 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Wednesday March 18, 2020 @ Walker Senior Center 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Wednesday March 18, 2020 @ Memorial Hall in Bridgeport 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Thursday March 19, 2020 @ the Benton Community Center 5:30pm – 6:30pm
El Departamento de Salud del Condado de Mono organizará reuniones comunitarias sobre la epidemia de coronavirus (COVID-19) en varias comunidades durante las próximas semanas. El propósito de estas reuniones es proporcionar a los miembros de la comunidad información relevante a nivel local sobre la situación y promover el debate. Responderemos preguntas y esperamos escuchar y comprender las preocupaciones de la comunidad.
No tenemos evidencia en este momento de que COVID-19 esté presente en el Eastern Sierra y creemos que el riesgo de reuniones públicas como esta es bajo y los beneficios potenciales de mantener informadas a las personas son mayores del riesgo. Por supuesto, estamos observando la situación de cerca y si determinamos que podría haber algún riesgo en estas reuniones comunitarias, podemos optar por otros modos de comunicación.
Habrá interpretación en español en las reuniones de Bridgeport y Mammoth.
JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM INYO AND MONO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH:
On February 26, 2020, the California Department of Public Health confirmed that a California resident from Solano County was hospitalized with novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and likely caught the illness from someone in the community. At the time this information was released, this was the first person in the United States with confirmed COVID-19 infection who has not traveled outside the United States or had contact with known cases.
Most people who contract COVID-19, have mild disease. Severe illness seems uncommon in children, and no deaths have been reported in children under 9 years old. In some cases, the infection can lead to serious illness or death, particularly in older people with other health conditions. COVID-19 primarily causes respiratory symptoms, fever, cough and fatigue, and may progress to pneumonia. Cold symptoms such as runny nose and sore throat are uncommon with this coronavirus and usually indicate simple colds.
Health officials expect to see an increase in the number of people who catch the virus in community settings. It is time to think about ways to reduce chances of getting the virus and of spreading it to others. The COVID19 virus spreads like the flu, mostly by inhaling the tiny droplets produced by coughing and sneezing in close quarters, and sometimes by getting virus on our hands and then touching our nose, eyes or mouth.
Scientists are working urgently to develop vaccines and anti-viral medications for this new virus, but it will be months or years before they are ready for use. Treatment for this disease, like many viral illnesses, is supportive. Most people who get sick will recover on their own. Patients who are severely ill may need to be hospitalized. Treatment is likely to change over time as we learn more about this new disease.
There are simple things everyone should do now at work, home, school, and in the community to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as flu and common colds:
• Wash your hands frequently using soap for at least 20 seconds and lathering your palms, fingers, fingertips, backs of your hands and under your nails
• When no handwashing facilities are available, disinfect your hands with alcohol sanitizer (containing 60% or more alcohol).
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
• Stay away from others when you are sick, particularly by staying home from work or school.
• Cover your mouth with tissue or your arm when coughing or sneezing (not your hand). If available, you may wear a surgical mask when you are sick to protect people around you.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Encourage employees and students to stay home from work or school when they are sick.
• Businesses can encourage sick customers and clients to complete business through phone, email, or other means which do not require face-to-face interactions when possible
• Consider “social distancing” to reduce your interactions with other people, especially if you are older or have medical conditions such as heart or lung disease, diabetes or cancer, which increase the chance of severe illness if you are infected with the COVID-19 virus.
• If you are sick with fever and cough or shortness of breath, please let your doctor’s office or hospital emergency room know of your symptoms before you come, so that precautions can be taken to reduce spreading it to other people. Similarly, if you need an ambulance, let the 911 dispatcher know that you have symptoms that might mean COVID-19
Mono and Inyo County public health officials are and will continue to communicate with medical facilities, emergency personnel, schools, businesses and other community resources to provide guidance on COVID-19 and possible prevention measures that can be taken as the situation evolves. For current and reliable information about COVID-19 go to the websites of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; www.cdc.gov ) or the California Department of Public Health (www.cdph.ca.gov).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dr. Tom Boo, Mono County Public Health Officer firstname.lastname@example.org 760.924.1828
Dr. James Richardson, Inyo County Health Officer email@example.com 760.873.7868
MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. – The new Mono County Civic Center office building in Mammoth Lakes is in the final phase of construction and is projected to be ready for occupancy in spring 2020. Located on Sierra Park Road between Mammoth Hospital and the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, the new Civic Center brings essential County services under one roof, providing easier, centralized access to programs and offices, and a professional setting for public meetings.
Construction of the 33,000 square foot building began just ten months ago in April 2019 and followed an ambitious schedule. The projected opening reflects a slight delay from the original projected completion goal of March 2020.
Stacy Corless, Chair of the Mono County Board of Supervisors and District 5 Supervisor, applauded the efforts of the entire team: “Everyone involved in this complex and demanding project, including the general contractor, subcontractors, consultants and County staff, has been working tirelessly and the finish line is in sight.”
District 1 Supervisor Jennifer Kreitz pointed out that many factors worked in favor of staying on track, including a summer and fall season that was fortuitously warm and dry. “Given the construction challenges faced by any project of this magnitude, particularly at higher elevations, it’s very commendable that we are just shy of the original target.”
Though the construction schedule is approximately two weeks behind at present, County leaders recognize that finishing the project and moving numerous offices will take time, and that the extra time needed for project completion and the move will likely present the need for some County departments to work out of temporary office spaces. Supervisor Corless emphasized that “the most important focus of this move is to maintain vital public services and minimize disruption, as well as to ensure a transition for County employees—and the people they serve—that is efficient, cost-effective and secure.”
To that end, County Administrative Officer Steve Barwick said that County staff is finalizing plans to ensure that all public services continue with minimal interruption in a safe, secure and convenient location. If temporary office space is necessary for the transition, Mono County’s priorities will be to use available space in the Minaret Mall as well as existing office space in Bridgeport. The County may also temporarily lease additional space as necessary.
While Mono County has a relatively flexible lease arrangement at the Minaret Mall, the lease at the Sierra Center Mall terminates definitively at the end of March 2020. Barwick stated, “Despite what is anticipated to be a short delay for move-in to our new building, Mono County is committed to vacating the currently leased space in the Sierra Center Mall by March 31 as the owners are ready to move forward with their plans to redevelop the site into an exciting new hotel property.”
Once open this spring, the Civic Center will be the new home for Social Services, Behavioral Health, Public Health, Environmental Health, District Attorney, Probation, County Counsel, Information Technology, Economic Development, Community Development as well as offices for County Administration and a meeting room for the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Corless noted that “the centralized location of the Civic Center, and the fact that all our departments are together in one building, will improve efficiencies in the delivery of County services to the public and will ultimately result in significant cost savings.”
The Board of Supervisors will receive an update on the Civic Center project on January 21, and at subsequent public meetings over the next two months. For more information about the Mono County Civic Center, please visit https://www.monocounty.ca.gov/facilities/page/mono-county-civic-center-mammoth-lakes or contact Steve Barwick, Mono County Administrative Officer.
BRIDGEPORT, Calif. – Wildland fire crews from the Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office are planning winter pile burning operations with interagency partners for south of Bridgeport, Mono County, when weather and air quality conditions permit.
Slash piles, composed of limbs, branches and trees will be burned on approximately 270-acres of BLM-managed public lands at several locations in the Mormon Meadows and Bridgeport Canyon areas. Prescribed burning helps to reduce hazardous fuels, moderate the potential negative effects of wildland fire and increase firefighter and public safety.
During burn operations, smoke may be visible from Bridgeport, Conway Summit, Conway Ranch Estates, June Mountain, Lee Vining, Mono City, U.S. Route 395 and Virginia Lakes Road. The BLM is requesting the public to avoid congregating on or near roadways, which can obstruct fire equipment and emergency vehicles.
The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive. These prescribed burns are part of a larger strategy to improve sagebrush habitat conditions throughout the Bodie Hills. Trees have been cut and piled in historically open sagebrush areas to increase ecosystem resiliency and restore habitat for several species, including sage grouse and migratory mule deer. All prescribed fire operations are conducted in close coordination with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.
For more information, please call Heather Stone at the Bishop Field Office, 760-872-5000.
Alleged sexual predator, Jorge Romero Espitia of Mammoth Lakes has accepted a plea-deal and will be charged with multiple felonies.
The Mammoth Lakes resident will be charged with twelve felonies and one misdemeanor. The felonies range from selling methamphetamine to minors and conducting sexual acts with minors.
A month ago, prosecutors were looking to set up a deal which would put Mr. Espitia away for at least eighty-five percent of a twenty-five year sentence. Mono County Assistant District Attorney, Dave Anderson spoke about the trial in October saying, “We anticipate Mr. Espitia and his attorney will end up accepting the deal the Mono County District Attorney’s office has offered.”
On May 16, 2019, the Mammoth Lakes resident was arrested for nineteen felony charges and had a bail set for $500,000 dollars.