Merced County Times Newspaper
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Merced County continues to insist no confirmed cases of COVID-19

Despite City of Merced employee testing positive, County says the number is 0



NOTE TO READERS: According to reports in the daily Merced Sun-Star, a courtroom inside the Merced County Superior Court is being disinfected after possible exposure to coronavirus.

This news published Friday comes one day after Merced’s City Manager confirmed to the local media that a police officer had tested positive for the virus.

Also, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke told the Sun-Star that the police officer was in “contact with multiple individuals at the Merced County Courthouse that led to a mistrial in a case.”  The MPD employee, reportedly, was also in contact with individuals at the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.


A news release sent Friday by Merced County Superior Court stated: “During a trial in Courtroom 1, the Court was made aware of a possible cross-infection with the COVID-19 virus involving a participant …. The judge declared a mistrial and advised those present to contact the Department of Public Health and/or their health care provider.


The following information is provided by Merced County administrative staff:




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: Additional information is available at


• As of Friday, March 20, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

in Merced County.

• IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION: As previously reported, a City of Merced employee tested

positive for COVID-19. However, since the individual does not live in Merced County, that

case does not count toward Merced County’s number of total confirmed. It will count toward

the individual’s county of residence.


• A total of 35 people within Merced County have been tested within the public health system,

and those tests have either come back negative or are still pending. That number does not

include additional testing through the commercial lab system, hospitals and clinics. Although

the Merced County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) isn’t provided numbers on how

many tests go through those systems, MCDPH would have been notified of any positive

tests. So far, there have been none.

• In California, there are 1,125 active cases and 19 deaths.



  • Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Merced County at this time, Merced County Public Health continues to coordinate with federal, state and local partners to further prepare us for any potential 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 today with local government agencies, schools, and healthcare professionals in our community.
  • The Merced County Office of Emergency Services and Merced County Department of PublicHealth proclaimed a local and public health emergency March 13 in order to help address theoutbreak. The Board of Supervisors ratified those actions during a March 16 special meeting.Vicki Jones, MPA, REHS Jessica Montoya-Juarez, MS Yadira Vazquez, MBA James Clark, MICP, MHOACEnvironmental Health Division Director Assistant Public Health Director Assistant Public Health Director EMS Administrator 260 E. 15th Street, Merced, CA 95341 | Main: (209) 381-1200 | Environmental Health: (209) 381-1100 |

• On Thursday, March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Executive Order N-33-20,

asking California residents to stay at home. On Friday, 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.

• Merced County will continue providing essential government services in a manner that

decreases the risk of spreading COVID-19. For this reason, effective March 23, 2020, various

County Departments have temporarily changed access to their in-person services. See for details.

• The Merced County Public Health Department Operations Center was opened Jan. 27, 2020 (54 days) in order to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in and around our community. The Merced County Emergency Operations Center is activated at a Level 2 as of March 13, 2020.


  • Within the public health system, every person who has met CDC criteria for severe disease within Merced County has been tested. Those tests have either come back negative or are still pending.
  • Testing has been limited across the state of California, as noted multiple times by state officials as a barrier to response. However, commercial lab systems have recently gained the capacity to test.
  • 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). So far, there have been none.
  • There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Merced County at this time.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.
  • Persons who have recently traveled to China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, or Italy, or who have had contact with a person with possible COVID-19 infection and have the above symptoms should call their local health department or 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 Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds.
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
  • Merced County Public Health COVID-19 Information Webpage:o
  • Merced County Public Health Information Line:

o 209-381-1180 (English, Spanish, and Hmong).

  • Email COVID-19-specific questions to Merced County Public Health:o [email protected]
  • CDC Resources for Households:o
  • Guidance for Businesses and Employers:o o
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