Merced County Times Newspaper
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COVID-19 Status Report from Merced County

Editors note: This report has been updated since its original posting

  • As of Wednesday, March 18, 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (novel
    coronavirus) in Merced County.
  • A total of 27 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 738 active cases, 13 deaths and six recoveries.
  • 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
  • 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 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.
  • A COVID-19 virtual town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 to 8 p.m. today, March 18. The
    virtual town hall can be viewed live on, where viewers will also
    be able to ask questions of our public health experts. For those who don’t use Facebook, the
    event can also be viewed on Channel 96 (Comcast), Channel 99 (AT&T), or, where it will also be archived for future viewing.
  • A new COVID-19 website ( has been put up by the State, which
    highlights critical steps people can take to stay healthy and resources available to
    Californians impacted by the outbreak, including paid sick leave and unemployment
  • The Merced County Public Health Department Operations Center was opened Jan. 27, 2020
    (52 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.
  • 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:

    • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory
      symptoms such as fever and cough.
    • Cover sneezes or coughs with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.


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