"A Minority Publication"

Latest COVID-19

May 26, 2020

CURRENT STATUS: • As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020, there are 273 confirmed cases (100 active) of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Merced County. Of that number, 166 have recovered and seven have died. • Please see “COVID-19 Testing Update” section for latest testing figures.



• 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.


• On Monday, May 25, the Merced County Department of Public Health confirmed the seventh death related to COVID-19. The Merced County resident was a male over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions.

• Last week, the Merced County Department of Public Health received approval from the State to move into an accelerated form (Stage 2B) of California’s Roadmap to Modify the Stay-at-Home order. This will allow for the reopening of dine-in restaurants and in-person retail with proper social distancing and other procedures to protect the health of patrons and employees. Prior to opening, businesses will need to review State requirements and prepare a plan to show customers and employees that they’ve reduced the health risk from COVID-19. State requirements and guidance documents can be found on www.reopenmercedcounty.com/guidelines. Merced County anticipates State requirements and guidance to be modified moving forward. If this information is updated by the State, it will also be updated on www.reopenmercedcounty.com/guidelines.

• On Monday, The California Department of Public Health announced the statewide reopening of places of worship for religious services and in-store retail shopping. Modifications are required in order to keep Californians safe and limit the spread of COVID-19. The new guidance from the State limits religious services and funerals to 25 percent of a building’s capacity or up to 100 attendees—whichever is lower. Today, the State also announced that counties that have attested to meeting the criteria for accelerated re-opening may re-open hair salons and barbershops with modifications, such as mandatory face coverings for both the barber/stylist and client. Salon activities that cannot be done with face coverings, such as shaving, facials, waxing, etc., are still prohibited by the State at this time. For additional information and instructions for re-opening places of worship/businesses, please visit www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus and www.reopenmercedcounty.com, respectively.


• 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 (121 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: • A total of 5,681 tests have been performed in Merced County: 5,337 negatives, 273 positives, and 71 still pending. These figures include testing through both the commercial and public health lab systems.


• COVID-19 Testing Available for All Merced County Residents:

o Merced County Fairgrounds: 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Merced

o 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday—Friday

o Register at www.lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 1-888-634-1123


Due to expected 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.


• Within the public health system, every person who has met CDC criteria for severe disease within Merced County has been tested.

• 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.

o 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.


• 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.

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 alerts: www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus

• Merced County Public Health COVID-19 Information Webpage:

o www.countyofmerced.com/coronavirus

• Merced County Public Health Information Line:

o 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:

o COVID19@countyofmerced.com.

• Updated CDC Information:

o https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/whats-new-all.html

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