How to sign-up to get vaccinated in Mono County

The COVID-19 vaccination effort is well underway in Mono County, a significant amount of doses are on the way.

The COVID-19 vaccination effort is well underway in Mono County and though it will take time before it is available to everyone, the county has secured nearly 3,000 additional doses that should be arriving next week. Frontline healthcare workers are currently receiving their second doses. 

“We are very excited about getting these 3,000 doses,” Public Health Director Bryan Wheeler said on Tuesday. “It is a huge game changer for us in public health and for the health and well-being of the citizens in our county.” 

The plan is to have four or five COVID-19 vaccination clinics per week at multiple locations in the county. Residents can complete a pre-registration form online and will then be contacted by the health department when it is time to register for their vaccination according to federal and state mandated prioritization.

“Next week we are moving full steam ahead,” Wheeler said. “It is going to be an aggressive rollout of these doses.” 

The county’s IT department is currently fixing a few minor glitches to the online form and issues should be resolved quickly. The county is also setting up a special phone line for technical assistance and will manually input the form for anyone who does not have computer or Internet access. 

Mammoth Hospital and the county have received a combined 969 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to-date. More than 300 Mammoth Hospital employees and medical personnel elected to receive the vaccination and have started receiving their second doses.  

The health department is also completing vaccinations for frontline heath care workers this week including paramedics, emergency medical technicians, public health field staff, laboratory workers, dental and other oral health clinics, and pharmacy staff. 

Next week, the county will begin moving into the first tier of Phase 1B, which includes people 75 years and older, and those who work in education, childcare, law enforcement, the fire department, grocery stores, and restaurants. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday announced that the 65+ age group would start receiving the vaccine, but it is unclear if his announcement changes the tier structure. As of right now, people who are 65 to 74 are in the second tier of Phase 1b. Mono County public health officials have reached out to the state for clarification.

Local officials ask to be removed from the Southern California Region

Last week the Mono County Board of Supervisors and Town Council sent a joint letter to Gov. Newsom asking to be removed from the Southern California Region, suggesting a separate Eastern Sierra region.

“Mono County and the Town of Mammoth Lakes are at a critical crossroads for our communities to both survive the worst public health pandemic since 1919 and maintaining a viable local economy,” the letter, which was signed by Board of Supervisors Chair Jennifer Kreitz and Mayor Bill Sauser, said. “We are losing our ability to achieve these two goals under the existing Regional Stay-at-Home Order. We are at a breaking point.”

Supervisor John Peters also continues to work with the rural caucus to request a change to regional designations. He seemed optimistic about the progress, but said that “a decision is not imminent.”

The Mammoth Chamber of Commerce sent its own letter to the governor in late-December, but has not received a response.

Read: Mammoth updated its lodging guidelines for "essential" travelers

For now, Mono County will stay in the Southern California region where the ICU capacity is still 0.0%. The region will be under the stay-at-home order until further notice. 

“California remains in its most intense surge to date,” Gov. Newsom said in a brief video update on Tuesday. “But there are some good things to report. We’re starting to see some stabilization both in ICUs and in our positivity rate. We’re also starting to see the rate of growth for hospitalizations beginning to decline.”

Newsom also announced that the Sacramento region has exited the stay-at-home order. The California counties adjacent to Lake Tahoe are part of this region and will return to the tier system based on local metrics. Alpine and Sierra counties will return to the red tier, while the others in Sacramento region are in the purple tier. 

According to CDPH guidelines, the stay-at-home order will be lifted for a region once its four-week ICU projection shows 15% available capacity. The projections are based on four factors including: regional ICU capacity, community transmission, regional case rates, and the proportion of ICU cases being admitted. 

Decreasing community transmission and increasing the health system capacity can also help a region’s projected ICU capacity to exit the order.

Post-holiday coronavirus surge is here

The curve had started to flatten in Mono County, indicating that the stay-at-home order was working, but cases of the coronavirus are now rising again. A number of local cases are connected with New Year’s Eve parties, as well as holiday gatherings and travel, health officials said. The majority of current cases are in Mammoth.

It is unclear if these cases are connected to parties at private homes or businesses, but the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is investigating one establishment in Mono County that reportedly held a New Year’s event.

Over the last 7-day period, from January 8 to 14, there have been 114 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, a significant increase from weeks prior. The 7-day positivity rate is 26.0%. Mammoth Hospital remains in the “green status” and there are no COVID patients currently hospitalized in Mono County.

Northern Nevada staffed hospital beds are 80% occupied, according to the Nevada Hospital Association. Transfers to regional hospitals remain on a case-by case basis. 

Last week Northern Inyo Hospital was short on oxygen supplies and borrowed four oxygen concentrators from Mono County.  There are currently five COVID patients hospitalized, according to the CDPH hospital dashboard. Inyo County’s 7-day positivity rate is 20.3%. Last week there were 7 deaths brining the county total to 27 deaths. 

Upcoming in Mono County

Note to the readers: Thank you for your ongoing support. I will be taking a short break from local reporting to focus on other pending work and deadlines. I will be back as soon as there is important news to report. In the meanwhile, you can stay up-to-date by zooming in to the public meetings mentioned above. 

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About Monica Prelle

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