New Testing Site Opens At Merced County Fairgrounds …
As of 4 p.m. Monday, May 4, 2020, there are 146 confirmed cases (62 active) of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Merced County. Of that number, 81 have recovered and three have died.
2,525 tests have been performed in Merced County: 2,232 negatives, 146 positives, and 147 still pending. These figures include testing through both the commercial and public health lab systems.
- *Total confirmed cases include total recovered and total deaths.
- **Recovered defined as symptom free with no medication for 72 hours.
- ***Healthcare exposure includes exposure in and out of jurisdiction.
- East Merced County includes: Atwater, Ballico, Bear Creek, Calpack, Cressey, Delhi, El Nido, Hilmar, Irwin, Le Grand, Livingston, Merced, Planada, Snelling, Stevinson, Tuttle, and Winton
- West Merced County includes: Dos Palos, Gustine, Los Banos, Santa Nella, and Volta
Due to privacy laws, Merced County had not released a community-specific breakdown of positive cases until Monday, April 13. Due to a relatively low number of positive cases and the size of some of our cities and unincorporated communities, previously releasing those numbers could have been an identifying factor and a breach of patient confidentiality. Furthermore, releasing that type of data could have also created a false sense of security in communities without confirmed cases, leading to greater spread of COVID-19. However, similar to other neighboring counties, Merced County has now reached a high enough case total that patient confidentiality is no longer considered a major risk for communities that have five or more cases. For that reason, we are now releasing community-specific numbers for those that have five or more cases:
- *Only communities with five or more cases are reported in this graph. The figures in this chart represent confirmed cases, which includes active cases, recoveries, and deaths.
- 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.
- In California, there are 55,678 confirmed cases and 2,253 deaths.
RECENT ACTIVITIES & UPDATES:
- 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, situational status calls continued this week with local government agencies, schools, and healthcare professionals in our community.
- Additional meetings took place today amongst public health, law enforcement, executive staff and other County officials regarding strategies to safely open more factions of the local economy in line with the Governor’s Executive Order. Furthermore, Governor Newsom announced today that the State can begin moving into “Stage 2” of modifying the Order beginning this Friday if certain conditions are met. This move, which is based on improving COVID-19 numbers and health indicators, will allow some retailers to reopen with modifications, such as curbside pickup. This includes bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting goods stores, and others.
- More specifics as well as guidelines will be released by the Governor’s Office later this week. Merced County and its partners remain committed to protecting public health while concurrently working with the business community to assist them during this difficult time.
- COVID-19 Testing Available to All Merced County Residents: Thanks to a partnership with the State and OptumServe (a private health services company contracted by the State), a new testing site opened today at the Merced County Fairgrounds at 900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Merced. The new testing site will allow for more than 100 additional tests a day. The site is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Due to high demand, testing availability is by appointment only in order to prevent unnecessarily-long wait times for clients. Walk-ins will not be accepted at this time.
- Register at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 1-888-634-1123.
- The Merced County COVID-19 information webpage, www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus, continues to be updated on a daily basis.
- 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.
- The Merced County Public Health Department Operations Center was activated Jan. 27, 2020 (99 days) in order to prepare for COVID-19 in and around our community. The Merced County Emergency Operations Center and Human Services Agency Department Operations Center are also currently active.
COVID-19 TESTING UPDATE:
- COVID-19 Testing Available for All Merced County Residents:
- Merced County Fairgrounds: 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Merced
- 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday—Friday
- Register at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 1-888-634-1123
- Due to expected high demand, testing availability was changed to by appointment only in order to prevent unnecessarily-long wait times for clients. Walk-ins will not be accepted at this time.
- Within the public health system, every person who has met CDC criteria for severe disease within Merced County has been tested.
- As of Friday, May 1, 2,435 tests have been performed in Merced County: 2,127 negatives, 136 positives, and 172 still pending. These figures include testing through both the commercial and public health lab systems. These numbers will be updated again Monday.
- 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).
- In late March, 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, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. 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.
- 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:
- 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:
- Updated CDC Information:
- CDC Resources for Households:
- How to talk to your kids about the coronavirus:
- Guidance for Businesses and Employers:
- Report Price Gouging:
- Report Consumer Fraud:
- Report non-essential business activity and large group gatherings that violate the Stay-at-Home Order:
- Hotline: 209-381-1100 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday)
- Email: [email protected]
- Free Virtual Care options through Dignity Health for those with COVID-19 symptoms:
- Patients can receive a free Virtual Care Anywhere visit if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms can include 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:
- Donations—help community members impacted by COVID-19:
- Exclusive Shopping for Vulnerable Populations:
- Make and donate face masks:
- Apply for benefits— Individuals experiencing financial hardship may qualify for cash assistance through CalWORKs, food nutrition assistance through CalFresh, and medical assistance through MediCal.:
- Unemployment Insurance questions to local Merced County EDD Office:
- Information regarding tenant protections:
- 24/7 Warm Line for Youth (emotional support):
- 209-381-6800 or 1-888-334-0163 (toll free)
- Additional Behavioral Health resources: www.countyofmerced.com/3395/BehavioralHealth-Resources
For additional information pertaining to COVID-19, please visit the Department’s resource website at www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus or call the Merced County Public Health Department Information Line at 209-381-1180 (English, Spanish, Hmong).