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April 9, 2020 - MERCED COUNTY, CA – In response to the rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases and deaths, Merced County Health Officer, Dr. Kenneth Bird, modified and strengthened the current Stay-at-Home Health Order yesterday.
This Order supersedes the prior Stay-at-Home Order issued on March 20, 2020, directing all individuals to stay at home. The new Order clarifies, strengthens, and extends certain terms of the prior Stay-at-Home Order to increase social distancing and reduce person-to-person contact to further slow transmissions and deaths related to COVID-19.
“Merced County has one of the lowest ratios of hospital beds and advanced health care equipment to population in the state. It is absolutely essential that mitigation activities such as social distancing, staying at home, and severe reduction of gatherings be in place in order to prevent our health care resources and health care personnel from being overwhelmed. It is even more critical that each of us comply with these efforts to the fullest extent possible in order to avoid unnecessary deaths from both COVID-19 and non COVID-19 related causes.” says Dr. Bird.
• Directs all individuals living in the County to continue to stay at home unless they are providing or receiving essential services;
• Directs all businesses and governmental agencies to cease non-essential operations at physical locations in the County;
• Prohibits all non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals (including church and funeral services);
• Orders cessation of all non-essential travel; and • Restricts access to certain recreation areas (including parks and golf courses).
Failure to comply with the Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, county jail sentencing, or both. “People are dying in our community—please take all health directives seriously,” said Merced County Sheriff-Coroner Vern Warnke. “If you heed the directives of Public Health officials, then my deputies won’t be forced to take enforcement actions. Risking a criminal record because of mere disregard to health and safety is reckless, careless, and simply not worth it. This pandemic will end sooner if we all do our part.” This new Order is imperative in flattening the curve of COVID-19 transmissions and related deaths in Merced County.
Call your health care provider first if you think you have COVID-19
For general information pertaining to COVID-19, visit the Merced County Department of Public’s website at www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus or call the informational line at 209-381-1180 (English, Spanish, Hmong).
Source: Merced County Dept. of Public Health
Merced County Department of Public Health New Health Order Imposes Stricter Directives to Ensure Community Health and Safety