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No New Cases Since Monday; County Prepping for Phase 2.5

MADERA — For the third straight day, Madera County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) reported no new cases of COVID-19. The county has had a total of 69 confirmed coronavirus cases — but has not seen a new case since Monday.

County officials already have an aggressive contact tracing operation in place and are hoping to ramp up testing countywide in order to get the go ahead from state health officials to enter phase 2.5 of the reopening process.

On Thursday, District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler said county officials were working closely with Sacramento to help speed the county’s preparation to enter phase 2.5. 

“Our numbers have stabilized and we’re testing more and more people now every day,” Wheeler said. “And the sheriff and all of the folks at the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) are doing a tremendous job.”

Madera County’s EOC in Madera in tandem with the health department has been operating virtually around the clock since the pandemic began in mid-March.

“We’ve got one of the best and most successful contact tracing operations of any county in the state,” Wheeler said. “Hopefully, we’ll get the OK from the governor to go to stage 2.5 real soon now.”

Last week, at the request of the board of supervisors, Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney sent a letter to the governor’s office asking that the county be allowed to reopen its economy more quickly.

Wheeler also said Thursday the County’s general fund is facing “about a $5 million” projected shortfall due to lost sales tax and TOT (transient occupancy tax) revenues since the pandemic began.

“And those numbers could get worse,” Wheeler said. “We’ve got to figure out what we can do to make it better.”

At Sierra Ambulance, General Manager Ed Guzman said his crews were continuing to deal effectively with the virus while transporting and caring for area residents. “So far, no one one on my staff has gotten COVID-19,” Guzman said, adding that his goal is to stockpile a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment — PPE — for his staff. “We’re almost at the goal now,” he added. “We’re just crossing our fingers [the virus] doesn’t hit up here.”

With no deaths so far and only 15 total cases, Mariposa County late Wednesday got the green light from the governor’s office to enter stage 2.5.

Madera County health officials are reporting that 22 cases remain “active” while 45 people who were confirmed with the virus have now fully recovered and an additional 107 individuals are currently being “monitored.”

Two Madera County residents, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 70s, died in late March from COVID-19. Both of those victims reportedly had underlying health conditions.

As of Thursday afternoon, MCDPH had monitored 1,068 people for COVID-19 and had reported a total of nearly 1,500 negative test results to the state. For the latest update from MCDPH, click here.

Other neighboring counties have been much harder hit by the pandemic. Tulare County has reported nearly 1,300 cases to date — and had 50 deaths — while Fresno County has had 1,070 cases and 13 deaths.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, there were 74,564 confirmed COVID-19 cases across California, with the statewide death toll now at 3,042. Nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins, there have been more than 1.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 86,000 deaths.

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online