Rise of coronavirus in Mammoth Lakes County on state watch list

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An increase in coronavirus cases linked to restaurants in Mammoth Lakes has prompted the state to place Mono County on its watch list for the first time.Compared to other counties in the state, which have recorded over 414,000 infections and over 7,900 deaths, Mono County has been less affected and spared the outbreak of cases than hot spots such as Los Angeles and Los Angeles counties. ‘Orange have known. But in recent weeks, the county has reported a spike.

In the past two weeks, 40 people have tested positive for the virus, bringing the infection rate to 8.03% and the seven-day average from July 12 to July 19 to 11.32%. One person is hospitalized in stable condition. The increase in cases is the highest the county has seen since the start of the pandemic.

At least 84 people have tested positive for the virus, including 79 cases in Mammoth Lakes. The city is also responsible for the only death in the region.

Depending on the county, positive tests were identified through a variety of means, including community context testing, contact tracing and symptomatic people in hospital. The origins of 65% of new cases are related to restoration operations.

Mammoth Lakes has a population of just over 8,100, more than half of the 14,200 residents of Mono County. But the region is a tourist destination, especially around holiday weekends.

“We don’t think July 4th was a primary catalyst, just a massive number of visitors seeking solace in the Eastern Sierra,” said Public Information Officer Stuart Brown.

The cases announced on a given day typically represent exposures from two weeks ago, so it’s likely that some came from the holiday weekend. The county has identified restaurants in Mammoth Lakes as an area of ​​interest and will place additional requirements on restaurants and businesses that prepare and serve food, including bars and cafes.

All restaurant workers will be required to wear personal protective equipment, such as surgical or N95 masks, as opposed to lower-level options like fabric coverings. The county will also require at least 30% of employees at each restaurant to be tested between July 22 and July 28, and each restaurant will need to screen employees before each shift.

Failure to follow directions by a restaurant will result in immediate closure for 72 hours. A second violation would result in a five-day closure, which would turn into a one-week closure and possible fines.

Testing and screenings are not foolproof tactics to determine if a person is positive for the virus, officials said. A test can provide information about an individual only on a given day, and screenings are usually based on fever checks, which ignore asymptomatic individuals.

But in the absence of a vaccine or medical therapies, testing, screenings and proactive measures such as the use of face masks and social distancing are the only real weapons to fight the spread of the virus.

“To alleviate this spread, it is now more important than ever to wear a face mask in public if you are unable to get away physically, to stay home if you are sick, to wash your hands frequently, to clean your hands regularly. objects and surfaces, and to avoid group gatherings of all kinds, including with loved ones outside your home, ”said Dr Tom Boo, Mono County health officer.

Although the county expects more cases in the coming weeks, hospitalizations have remained stable and capacity is up to state standards. Less than 80% of intensive care beds are occupied and at least 75% of ventilators are available.

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