Tag Archives: owens valley news

CDFW Euthanize Fish at Three Facilities Due to Bacteria Outbreak

Three California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fish hatchery facilities in the Eastern Sierra and Southern California have been battling a bacterial outbreak that has affected 3.2 million fish. This week, after consultation with fish pathology experts and exhausting all avenues of treatment, CDFW announced that the fish, which are all trout, at the affected facilities must be euthanized in order to stop the spread of the outbreak.

The affected facilities – Mojave River Hatchery, Black Rock Hatchery and Fish Springs Hatchery – usually provide fish for stocking waterways in CDFW’s South Coast Region and Inland Deserts Region. The euthanization of all the fish at these facilities will have a profound effect on CDFW’s ability to stock fish for anglers in those regions in the near future.

“Euthanizing our hatchery stocks was not a decision we came to lightly, but it had to be done,” said Jay Rowan environmental program manager for CDFW hatcheries. “This bacterium is resistant to all the treatment options we have available for fish. The fish losses were getting worse despite our treatments. The best option we have available that will get us back to planting fish from these hatcheries in the shortest timeline is to clear the raceways, thoroughly disinfect the facilities, and start over.”

CDFW has had the three facilities under quarantine for more than a month, while pathologists and hatchery staff treated the affected fish and researched potential options. The outbreak of Lactococcus garvieae, which is similar to streptococcus, has been reported in cattle and poultry farms as well as fresh and salt water fish and shellfish hatcheries around the world, but had never before been detected in fish in California. Research of treatment options employed at trout farms in Europe and other parts of the world show there is almost no chance for successfully eliminating the bacteria from a facility without depopulation and disinfection.

Fish that are infected with can show symptoms including bulging eyes, lethargic or erratic swimming and increased mortality, or be asymptomatic and show no signs of infection depending on a several factors including water temperature and stress. Fish-to-human transmission of this bacteria is rare and unlikely but there are several documented instances associated with immunocompromised people consuming infected raw fish and unpasteurized milk products.

Hot Creek Hatchery in the Eastern Sierra has tested negative for the bacteria and is still planting eight waters in Inyo and Mono counties. CDFW is in the process of developing a modified stocking plan to reallocate fish from central and northern California hatcheries to a small number of high angler use, easily accessible waters in geographically distinct parts of the eastern Sierra and Southern California.

For real-time updates, California anglers can refer to CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule. This schedule is updated directly by CDFW hatchery staff. Although it contains current information, all fish plants are subject to change depending on road, water, weather and operational conditions.

Inyo National Closes Group Camps Under Forest Order

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.

Klondike Lake Open for Public Boating

From July 3 to September 7 (Labor Day), Klondike Lake will be open for limited public boating use on weekend days only: Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 9 a.m. to sunset. At this time spots are limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Precautions are being taken to guard against invasive mussels, so all motorized watercraft must be inspected before being launched into Klondike Lake. Due to COVID-19, face coverings and social distancing are required. We will take additional measures during boat inspections to protect boat owners and LADWP employees. Boat access to Klondike  is free this summer period  and subject to change for future seasons.

Access for motorized watercraft being transported by car, truck and/or trailer will be allowed for a one-hour period between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. at the gate entrance in order to accommodate inspections. After watercraft have been inspected and granted access, visitors can enjoy the lake for as long as they want that day, while practicing safe social distancing. Please note, recreational users with smaller, non-motorized watercraft that are not transported with a trailer can access the lake at any time.

 

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

Lone Pine Traffic Stop Leads to Four Arrests

LONE PINE, CA, June 10, 2020 – Shortly after midnight on June 9, Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies conducted a traffic stop in Lone Pine on a vehicle with no tail lights. During the traffic stop Deputies detected a strong smell of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. While temporarily detaining the four occupants of the vehicle, Deputies observed a loaded handgun under the driver’s side seat.

Due to improper storage of a loaded handgun, and the strong smell of marijuana, a canine search of the vehicle was conducted. The vehicle search revealed two additional loaded handguns, narcotics, and $100,665 in cash packaged in shrink wrapped plastic.

All four suspects were arrested for weapon and narcotics charges and are being held at the Inyo County Jail; bail has been set at $75,000 for each. The suspects have been identified as: Martin Perez (32 years old from Reno and Las Vegas NV), Alberto Caro Torres (32 years old from Reno NV), Jose Caro Torres (23 years old from Reno NV), and Cristian Torres (23 years old from Reno NV). Martin Perez and Alberto Torres were later identified as registered Sureños gang members and convicted felons.

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.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Implement Online Hunter Education Classes

CDFW Press Release

In response to the delay of in-person California hunter education classes due to COVID-19, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is temporarily allowing new hunters to complete their education requirements entirely online.

Prior to COVID-19, California offered a traditional in-person course or a hybrid online/in-person class with a certified Hunter Education Instructor (HEI). Because all classroom instruction opportunities have been suspended, California will temporarily waive the in-person requirement, allowing students to complete the full course of instruction online.

“Online-only certification is a temporary solution to allow Californians the ability to fulfill their hunter education requirements and obtain a hunting license during these unique times,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “We don’t want anyone to miss out on the chance to earn their certification before the fall hunting seasons, so we believe this is a reasonable solution, given the circumstances.”

When deemed safe to do so, CDFW intends to return to the prior system, including a minimum level of in-person instruction with a certified HEI. “We value our 1,000 extremely dedicated volunteer instructors enormously, and we’re anxious to see them back in front of students as soon as possible,” Bess added.

Effective immediately, prospective hunters may earn their hunter education certification online. More information is available at https://wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education. The cost for the course is $24.95. Successful prospective hunters who complete and pass the online course will be able to immediately print a paper Hunter Education Completion Certificate, which will qualify them to purchase a hunting license. Their CDFW online license profile will automatically be updated with their Hunter Education Certification within two days.

Prospective hunters are advised that the deadline to apply for California’s Big Game draw is June 2, 2020. CDFW advises new hunters to set a goal of completing the online certification by May 31, to allow time for the automatic update of their CDFW license profile. CDFW license profiles can also be updated by presenting the paper certificate to a CDFW License Agent.

Mono County Issues Hantavirus Warning

May 14, 2020 – As the weather is warming and people are spring cleaning, Mono County Health Department would like to remind residents of the risk of hantavirus in the Eastern Sierra, a known region of exposure in the United States.

People may catch hantavirus by inhaling virus that is found in the urine, feces, saliva, and nesting materials of infected deer mice. Most people who become ill with hantavirus report some exposure to rodents in the preceding weeks, typically while cleaning enclosed spaces that have been closed-up for some time with mice living there.

For more information on hantavirus, click here.

Hantavirus illness begins with a fever and flu-like symptoms, such as headache and body aches, typically one to five weeks after inhaling the virus. Gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain are common in the early part of the illness. Respiratory symptoms, including cough and feeling short of breath, may develop after a few days, signaling increased chance of deadly respiratory and heart failure. When people start having trouble breathing, their condition may rapidly worsen and become critical. There is no specific treatment for hantavirus infection, but high-level intensive care has allowed many people with life-threatening illness to survive. Overall, approximately 25-33% people with hantavirus infection die.

It is important to note key similarities and differences between hantavirus infection and COVID-19. For one, COVID-19 is spread from person to person, whereas hantavirus is spread from deer mouse waste. A person with hantavirus cannot spread it to another person. Both infections may present with flu like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, or muscle pains. This is why it is critical for residents to be aware of and avoid exposure to rodents, their waste, and their nesting materials. If you begin experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call your primary healthcare provider or the Mono County Nurse Hotline at 211. Be sure to inform health professionals of any exposures you may have had to both mouse waste and COVID-19. Timely hantavirus and COVID-19 diagnosis and potential transfer to higher level hospital care is crucial as these diseases can progress rapidly.

To decrease risk of hantavirus infection:

• Open windows and doors of a potentially contaminated area and allow it to air out for at least 30 minutes before cleaning. Cross-ventilation is best.

• Avoid sweeping, vacuuming or other activities that stir up dust and dirt that may contain the virus.

• Spray dead rodents, nests, droppings, and other potentially contaminated items and surfaces with a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach with 10 parts water) or a disinfectant made to kill viruses (check the label). A dead mouse caught in a trap should not be removed from the trap. Instead, the trap and mouse together should be disinfected, bagged and discarded into the trash.

• Wait at least 5 minutes after spraying the disinfectant on things before wiping.

• Inspect vehicles for rodents. Mice incursion in vehicles may also pose some hantavirus risk, especially if mice infest the heating and air conditioning system.

• Minimize mouse entry points at home and at work. Mice may enter through very small gaps under doors or around windows and where conduits and vents pass through walls. Heating and air conditions ducts should be periodically inspected for holes and/or rodent feces or nesting material.

South Lake Road Reconstruction to Begin

The South Lake Road Reconstruction planned for the 2020 season will begin the week of May 11 The contractor, Hat Creek Construction & Materials, Inc., has been completing survey work in advance of construction work.

Construction delays will typically be 30 minutes during the day. However, when work requires it, Inyo County and the forest will permit longer closures. This could include three-hour closures twice a day.

This work is considered essential and Hat Creek Construction is taking all necessary steps to adhere to social distancing. This includes providing travel trailers for their crews.

There will be no night work, weekend work, or work during holiday weekends, although traffic controls will still be in place. Campgrounds along the South Lake Road remain closed under a Regional Closure Order through May 15.

Local businesses and services along South Lake Road will remain open and accessible during construction this year. Please check with individual businesses about early season services.

During construction, roadside parking, day use parking, and the parking areas for South Lake will be significantly reduced, and at times, closed. Visitors to the area should plan that parking will not be available and plan to be dropped off or use local shuttle services when feasible. Shuttle services may be limited in their capacity to serve demand based on social distancing guidelines. Thoughtful planning is helpful during any major construction project. This year coordinated planning is required for a successful visit to South Lake Road destinations.

The project is being completed under a funding request from Inyo County through Federal Highways Administration (FHWA). The road will be re-paved and needs significant repairs for safety and includes a new bicycle staging area. The Inyo National Forest is also completing trailhead parking and campground improvements in conjunction with this project.

 

NIH COVID-19 Update: General Population Testing Not Happening Any Time Soon

Key figures from Northern Inyo Hospital held a conference call to discuss where the healthcare district stands in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Will Timbers took the lead on the conference call and told the media what NIH’s plans are when it comes to testing.

Population testing may be available in the future, meaning that the public will be able to receive testing. However, NIH say they are not remarkably close to that becoming a reality. Timbers said, “Over the next few months we will be trying to keep the virus under control. However, there are a lot of significant barriers we have in relation to widespread testing.”

It is important to eventually implement large scale testing to safely reopen specific aspects of the economy. “The bigger the sample size, the more accurate information will be relating to COVID-19. The better picture you get, the easier it will be to understand the disease’s prevalence,” said Timbers. With a higher data sample, it becomes easier for officials to decide when it is okay to reopen the economy.

Interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Will Timbers says he worries that another epidemic could happen in the future. Another outbreak of an illness within the coronavirus family could be a real possibility. There have already been two other coronavirus diseases over the past twenty years. “Within the past twenty years, we have had three outbreaks of different coronaviruses including SARS and MERS. So, it is clearly happening with some regularity. There are thousands of coronaviruses in birds and mammals that could jump to humans,” Dr. Timbers remarked.

It is too early to tell if COVID-19 will turn into something like the flu, which occurs seasonally. However, Timbers says that the idea of the coronavirus evolving like influenza does is not out of the realm of possibility. “We do not know yet, [whether COVID-19 mutates like influenza] but I really hope not. There is something called antigenic drift for influenza. The flu changes rapidly every year, and we are always trying to catch up. It could happen with COVID too, but it is too early to tell. But again, I hope it is not the case, because it would be one of the worst-case scenarios,” Timbers expressed