COVID-19 DAILY STATUS REPORT
April 9, 2020 - PLEASE NOTE: This is an evolving situation. More information will be distributed as it becomes available. For the most up to date information, please visit: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. Additional information is available at www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus.
• As of Wednesday evening, April 8, 2020, there are 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Merced County. Of that number, three have recovered and one has died.
• Based on information provided by individuals who test positive, Public Health staff will continue to assess risks of exposure and contact any affected individuals.
• Due to privacy laws, the Public Health Department cannot release identifying information related to positive cases.
• UPDATE ON TESTING FIGURES: Until further notice, updated numbers regarding individuals tested for COVID-19 will no longer be included in these updates. The daily figure that has previously been provided only included the total number of people tested within the public health system, but not the commercial lab system, hospitals and clinics (the Public Health Department is not provided those numbers). Due to a significant increase in commercial lab system tests, that daily total would not be an accurate portrayal of how many people have been tested at this time. Following the example of other counties, the Public Health Department is currently working on a new process to more comprehensively capture negative testing results from all lab sources for inclusion on future reports. The Public Health Department already captures, and releases, all positive testing results.
• In California, there are 17,571 active cases and 438 deaths and 314 recoveries.
RECENT ACTIVITIES: • Merced County Public Health continues to coordinate with federal, state and local partners to further prepare us for future impacts. This includes working with the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor COVID-19.
In coordination with the Merced County Office of Emergency Services, daily situational status calls continued this week with local government agencies, schools, and healthcare professionals in our community.
Save the Date! Merced County will host a “Small Business Resources” webinar from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 16. Details on how to access/register for the webinar will be included in future updates. The webinar will cover resources currently available to small business owners and non-profit organizations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
• In partnership with Dignity Health, Merced County and the City of Merced, Rotary Community Corps Merced County has established a collection and distribution system for those who want to make and donate face masks. Drive-through drop-off: 755 W. 15th St., Merced (Merced Senior Community Center), 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday-Friday. Masks will be distributed back to the communities they were donated from. More info: www.rccmercedcounty.org
On, April 8, the Merced County Public Health Officer issued a modified Stay-at-Home Order that:
o Directs all individuals living in the County to continue to stay at home unless they are providing or receiving essential services;
o Directs all businesses and governmental agencies to cease non-essential operations at physical locations in the County;
o Prohibits all non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals (including church and funeral services); o Orders cessation of all non-essential travel; and
o Restricts access to certain recreation areas (including parks and golf courses).
On Tuesday, April 7, the Merced County Public Health Officer issued a new Health Order that:
o Directs health care providers to report patients with febrile respiratory illness to the Merced County Department of Public Health;
o Directs employers to screen employees for febrile respiratory illness; o Directs residents to self-monitor for signs of COVID-19 and appropriately isolate if necessary;
Strongly encourages all residents to wear a cloth face covering whenever out in public to reduce the spread of the illness. This is in addition to the continued requirement of at least 6 feet of social distancing.
This week, the Care and Shelter Branch of the Merced County Emergency Operations Center continued to make contact with homeless individuals in our cities and unincorporated communities to evaluate their health, provide food boxes, and other assistance. Any homeless individual suspected of having COVID-19 will be provided healthcare to help limit community spread.
• Recenlty, a #StayHomeSaveLives social media campaign was launched to encourage people to stay home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. More information: www.facebook.com/MercedCounty
• The Merced County Office of Emergency Services and Merced County Department of Public Health proclaimed a local and public health emergency March 13 in order to help address the outbreak. The Board of Supervisors ratified those actions during a March 16 special meeting.
• On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Executive Order N-33-20, asking California residents to stay at home. On March 20, Merced County’s Health Officer also issued an Order directing County residents to remain in their places of residence except to perform or receive essential services.
• Information regarding donation locations and requested donations was added to www.facebook.com/MercedCounty as well as www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus.
• The Merced County Public Health Department Operations Center was opened Jan. 27, 2020 (73 days) in order to prepare for COVID-19 in and around our community. The Merced County Emergency Operations Center is activated at a Level 1.
COVID-19 TESTING UPDATE:
• Within the public health system, every person who has met CDC criteria for severe disease within Merced County has been tested. Testing has been limited across the state of California, as noted multiple times by state officials as a barrier to response.
• Public Health is actively identifying other methods to enhance testing capability for providers throughout the community and increase testing county-wide. We will continue to be notified should positive tests come through either system (public health or commercial).
• Recently, Merced County opened two “mobile specimen collection sites” for COVID-19 in order to streamline testing capabilities. Initially, there will be two collection days per week, one on the westside of the County, and one on the eastside of the County. Each site will remain open for four hours per day. Additional hours per day and days per week may become more frequent if supply and personnel availability increase.
PLEASE NOTE: Use of these mobile specimen collection sites are by appointment only, and you must have a prescription from a physician and prior approval from the Merced County Department of Public Health. If you do not have a provider and have symptoms call 209-381-1180 for a phone consultation. Anyone without prior approval will not be tested. Locations will be provided to clients once appointments are made. Call 209-381-1180 for more information.
COVID-19 SYMPTOMS AND PRECAUTIONS:
- Coronavirus symptoms include: mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If symptoms develop, individuals should stay at home to limit exposure to others.
- Anyone who has had contact with a person with possible COVID-19 infection and has the above symptoms should call his/her local health department/health care provider immediately.
- Do not go to your provider’s office without calling ahead. Do not call 911 for suspected COVID-19 unless you are having a medical emergency.
- During the flu season, there are steps you can take to protect your health and the health of those around you:
o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
o Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
o Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms such as fever and cough.
o Cover sneezes or coughs with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Sign up for COVID-19 alerts: www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus
- Merced County Public Health COVID-19 Information Webpage:
- Merced County Public Health Information Line:
o (209) 381-1180 (English, Spanish, and Hmong. Live reps. available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- Email COVID-19-specific questions to Merced County Public Health:
- CDC Resources for Households:
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers:
- Report Price Gouging:
- Report Consumer Fraud:
• Free Virtual Care options through Dignity Health for those with COVID-19 symptoms: o Patients can receive a free Virtual Care Anywhere visit if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms can include low-grade fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
To access a free virtual urgent care visit, visit www.dignityhealth.org/virtualcareanywhere, download the Virtual Care Anywhere app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or call 855-356-8053 and use the coupon code COVID19.
Get Help/Give Help: www.gethelpgivehelpmerced.com
Donations—help community members impacted by COVID-19: www.countyofmerced.com/donations
Exclusive Shopping for Vulnerable Populations: www.countyofmerced.com/3396/Exclusive-Shopping-for-Vulnerable-Popula
Source: Merced County Public Health