Merced County Times Newspaper
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Merced County COVID-19 cases rise to 19; 3 recovered

As of Friday, April 3, 2020, there are 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Merced County. Of that number, three have recovered and there are no deaths.

*Total confirmed cases include total recovered and total deaths.

**Recovered defined as symptom free with no medication for 72 hours.

  • • 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.
  • 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 11,163 active cases and 243 deaths.
  • 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.
  • This week, a #StayHomeSaveLives social media campaign was launched to encourage people to stay home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. More information:
  • Earlier this week, Public Health staff provided a COVID-19 update to the Board of Supervisors during its regular meeting. That update can be viewed here:
  • 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 as well as
  • The Merced County Public Health Department Operations Center was opened Jan. 27, 2020 (68 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.
  • 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).
  • This week, Merced County opened two “mobile specimen collection sites” for COVID-19 in order to streamline testing capabilities. Soft openings were held last week. 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
  • 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:
    • 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. o Cover sneezes or coughs with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
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