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Humboldt county report | march 27, 2020

Coronavirus in Humboldt County

NEW The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Humboldt County. The patient has been in self-quarantine since being tested earlier this week. Read more here and remember to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Public Gathering Directive

March 24, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed an emergency directive related to public gatherings during the COVID-19 crisis. Nevadans who are not living within the same household, working at or patronizing an essential business or providing essential services may not gather in groups of 10 or more in any indoor or outdoor public area. Read more here.

Declaration of Emergency Directive

Governor Steve Sisolak has issued a Declaration of Emergency directing law enforcement agencies to implement the measures he outlined on March 17, 2020, in his Nevada Health Response COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiative. Beginning at 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 20, 2020, Governor Sisolak has ordered that "non-essential businesses [that] continue to operate and avail themselves to the general public, further exacerbating the public health emergency" close to the public until April 16, 2020, unless renewed by a subsequent directive. Read the Declaration of Emergency Directive here.

Coronavirus in Nevada

NEW The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services has launched a data dashboard tool to help Nevadans keep track of statewide COVID-19 numbers. View the latest statewide testing and patient data here.

Humboldt General Hospital

NEW As of noon Friday, March 27, 2020, there is one confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Humboldt County. HGH has diagnosed and treated a significant number of patients for respiratory illness through its screening process; of those; 37 have been tested for coronavirus after ruling out other respiratory causes. Results for 36 tests have come back negative for the virus; results for one test are pending. Our community will be notified if and when there is another confirmed case of COVID-19.

THANK YOU Special thanks to local dentist, Dr. Jeremy Keener, who saved the day for Humboldt General Hospital. With the increasing need for staff to wear fluid resistant masks, Dr. Keener arrived with 42 boxes of those exact masks along with 30 boxes of extra small gloves, 40 boxes of small gloves and 10 boxes of medium gloves. Humboldt General Hospital is so appreciative!

Beginning March 26, all visitors are now restricted from the Humboldt General Hospital facility. Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis, such as end-of-life compassionate care or births. To view a list of visitor restrictions, please click here.

HELP Humboldt General Hospital is looking to fill immediate positions for environmental services staff. Please view and/or pass along this job announcement to anyone who might be interested in joining the HGH team during this critical time.

Humboldt General Hospital has opened the HGH West Campus at 51 E. Haskell Street as a designated primary location for the screening of patients who are experiencing respiratory illness, including influenza, streptococcal infections and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that patients first be screened for other causes of respiratory illness before being tested for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The screening clinic is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday; all patients who are experiencing respiratory illness should avoid the hospital and go directly to the HGH West Campus clinic location. Seniors who are experiencing respiratory illness should CALL the West Campus screening clinic at (775) 623-5222, ext. 1379, prior to arrival.

HELP Humboldt General Hospital is reaching out to any retired or otherwise available healthcare providers in the community who could join the hospital staff on a temporary basis. Nurses, Mid-Level Providers, Physicians, Paramedics, EMTs and others may contact HGH Human Resources Director Dianelis Almendares at (775) 623-5222.

Humboldt General Hospital has shared a public service announcement that includes information from HGH Interim CEO Karen Cole and Humboldt County Public Health Officer Charles Stringham, MD. Watch it here.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 preparations at Humboldt General Hospital, please visit www.hghospital.org and click on the banner at the top of the page.

Winnemucca Police Department / Humboldt County Sheriff's Office

NEW Humboldt County Sheriff's Dispatch and law enforcement agencies were inundated with calls and requests for information following the Thursday, March 26, announcement of Humboldt County's first case of COVID-19. Law enforcement, hospital, county and city agencies are working together to better coordinate the future flow of information to the public.

Following an Emergency Declaration on March 19 by the Humboldt County Board of Commissioners, Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen, along with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Command Staff and Emergency Management Division, have been consistently working with the Nevada Department of Emergency Management, local county government, Humboldt General Hospital, and community partners on the issues surrounding the COVID-19 virus and the impact on our community.

The Winnemucca Police Department has advised they have received requests from HGH patients for transportation home following treatment. The WPD (and other law enforcement agencies) will not offer this service.

The Winnemucca Police Department and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department have suspended fingerprinting until the end of March, at which time the agencies will re-evaluate.

Humboldt County School District

NEW School offices will be closed for spring break starting Friday, March 27. School staff will continue to be accessible though email Friday and then will begin a well-deserved spring break until Monday, April 6, at which time the district will continue distance learning until cleared to reopen schools.

NEW The Humboldt County School District has established a Technology Support Hotline (775) 623-8111. Students and/or parents who are having issues with Google login accounts and/or Chromebooks should call between 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. All calls received after hours will be returned the next business day.

In an effort to better accommodate the needs of students and families to access academic materials, all Winnemucca-based schools will have office hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please contact rural schools regarding availability. Students may access a chromebook, if needed. For those without computer access, schools will provide paper packets. With the new extended hours, those packets will no longer be available at the District Office. The district will be observing spring break, so materials will not be available from Friday, March 27, through Friday, April 3.

The Humboldt County School District has confirmed that schools will be closed through at least April 16. Please read HCSD Superintendent David Jensen's update here.

The Humboldt County School District will be providing lunch and breakfast for students in our community from ages 0-18. These meals meet Federal School Lunch requirements. At each pick up, a lunch for the day, and breakfast for the next morning, will be provided as a pickup service only. At least one child will need to be present for parents/guardians to access the meals. Service is provided from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at designated locations in Humboldt County. Please visit the school district’s Facebook page or the district’s website ("School Closure Parent Information") for details. Meals will be available during spring break, from Monday, March 30, through Friday, April 3.

The Humboldt County School District is asking the community to utilize its website's "School Closure Information" page for information, resources, school site hours, and updates. This page is continuously evolving so check back often.

The school district is sharing information regarding online learning for Humboldt County students. Please go here for login information. Please go here for updated information regarding distance learning for elementary and middle school students.

Humboldt County

Humboldt County offices remain open for business. However, citizens should attempt to do their county business online, as much as possible, and limit onsite activity to critical and/or time-sensitive issues.

The Humboldt County Clerk’s Office is currently open regular business hours; staff are conducting all duties as required. Customers who require service should contact the office first at (775) 623-6343 to determine if the request is something that can be addressed over the phone, by e-mail or fax. Public notary services and Marriage License Applications have been discontinued until further notice. Staff are aware that county business licenses and fictitious firm name renewals are currently due. Those with concerns regarding their ability to submit the necessary paperwork in a timely matter should call the office for assistance. Questions and concerns also may be addressed via email at County.Clerk@hcnv.us.

The Humboldt County Regional Landfill is open with regular hours. The procedure has changed for accessing the facility. The assistant at the scales will no longer hand the individual a tag. Instead, they will be assigned a number and the customer will return to the scale and provide the number to the attendant. For billable loads, drivers will need to provide their full name and the name of the entity/company they are representing when they return to the scale. Landfill hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. November through April, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May through October. For more information, please contact the landfill at (775) 623-2985.

The Humboldt County Board of Commissioners adopted a Humboldt County Resolution on March 19, 2020, issuing an Emergency Declaration to help ensure the county is prepared for an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. The declaration will give the county greater access to state and federal funding to support its citizens.

The Winnemucca Convention Center and the Winnemucca Events Complex have canceled all events and activities through April 16 at the earliest. Staff will still be working, but there will not be any public access to the facilities. The public is encouraged to call (775) 623-5071 for assistance. At the Winnemucca Events Complex, staff will be setting up a designated set of stalls for those traveling with horses using an honor payment system. WCVA staff is working on gathering information to provide to travelers about what services and amenities are available in Winnemucca.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and the Child Support Enforcement Office are operating with normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, these offices are trying to avoid or limit personal contact by locking the exterior doors to the public. Therefore, the offices request that all business be conducted by telephone, mail, facsimile or email. All appointments or meetings will be conducted by telephone. Only if these alternatives are insufficient, other arrangements will be made. Before coming to the offices, please call first: District Attorney’s Office at (775) 623-6360 or Child Support Office at (775) 623-6362.

The Humboldt County Treasurer’s Office is encouraging the public to conduct business remotely, either electronically or by telephone, in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. The Treasurer’s office staff will be available by phone and/or email Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to assist with any questions or concerns. Staff will continue to process payments made through regular mail or online services. Property tax information is available at www.hcnv.us. The 2020 Delinquent Tax Auction scheduled for Friday, April 17, will be postponed until further notice. Please consider the following options for conducting business with the Treasurer’s office:

  • Make payments through your bank’s online bill pay service or pay online at https://www.hcnv.us/207/Treasurer.
  • Mail payments to 50 W. Fifth Street, Winnemucca, Nevada 89445.
  • Call (775) 623-6444 or email treasurer@hcnv.us if you have questions.

All Cooperative Extension Office events, meetings, classes, workshops etc. have been canceled through April 13. For more information, please call (775) 623-6304.

All Juvenile Services groups have been canceled for the next two weeks, at which time they will re-evaluate. Please note:

  • Multi-Dimensional Family Treatment has been postponed through April 14, 2020.
  • All individuals who enter the Juvenile Services building are screened for fever and must complete a screening form.
  • Families are asked to call Juvenile Services to address issues over the phone, except in the case of emergency.
  • With regard to adult drug testing, only two individuals may enter the building at one time.
  • Youth drug testing has not changed.
  • Home visits are canceled, except in the case of emergency.

County building inspections will continue. However, customers are asked to do as much online as possible. Handouts and permits are on the Humboldt County website. The forms can be downloaded and emailed to karen.johnson@hcnv.us. The office can take credit card payments. If customers have questions, please contact Karen Johnson at (775) 623-6322 to schedule an appointment.

Humboldt County Public Works is open for business; please call (775) 623-6416. Typically, personnel have limited involvement with the general public and will continue to maintain county roads and infrastructure. The department is ready to do anything necessary to help during this time.

Effective immediately, the Humboldt County Recorder’s Office will be by appointment only. The office will continue to record electronically or by mail. Requests for copies, marriage certificates and small research projects will be fulfilled by phone or email. Please direct all questions and request to (775) 623-6412.

For Humboldt County-maintained wastewater/sewer systems, please note: With the supply of toilet paper being unpredictable at local stores, Humboldt County would like to remind residents in McDermitt and Paradise Valley to “Watch what you flush." The county's wastewater systems are designed for human waste and toilet paper only. Items such as paper towels, tissues, rags and wet wipes/baby wipes -- even if they say “flushable” -- can cause issues in the wastewater system as well as homeowners' portions of the system. These items do not break down like toilet paper and can cause slower flows and backups within the system.

Union Township Justice Court and the Sixth Judicial District Court have modified some court procedures temporarily as a COVID-19 precaution. Please call the Justice Court for more information at (775) 623-6059; please call the District Court at (775) 623-6271. Also please note the current hours of the Sixth Judicial District Court are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until further notice.

The Pleasant Senior Center will be closed until April 6, 2020. Staff delivered meals for 20 days to all homebound clients so they will have dinners for the full 20 days that the senior center is closed. The center is following guidelines from the Aging and Disability Services Division and will re-assess continued closure after April 6, if necessary. Staff are taking time to deep clean and sanitize everything in the center during this closure, but urge clients to monitor and listen to information and continue to follow social isolation protocol. Please visit the Senior Center's Facebook page for updated information.

The Humboldt County Library, Humboldt Bookmobile, and Denio and McDermitt Branch Libraries will all be closed to the public beginning March 18 until further notice. Services such as curbside pick-up of library materials, Facebook Live story-times, Online Databases, and ebooks through Overdrive will be available. The Humboldt County Library and Humboldt Bookmobile may be reached by phone at (775) 623-6388; by email (library@hcnv.us) or via Facebook . The Denio Branch Library may be reached by phone at (775) 941-0330, and the McDermitt Branch Library may be reached by phone at (775) 532-8014.

Beginning Wednesday, March 25, the Local Emergency Planning Committee will meet weekly via technology to discuss the COVID-related activities of all partners and how the group as a whole can continue emergency preparations for the community.

City of Winnemucca

Mayor Rich Stone has issued a letter to the residents of Winnemucca. Read the full text here.

The City of Winnemucca continues to operate as usual. City offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For residents' convenience, water and sewer payments may be completed by phone (775-623-6340; 775-623-6338); online at xpressbillpay.com; or by dropping payment in the dropbox at the front door to City Hall, 90 W. 4th Street.

All City of Winnemucca services are in full operation with the exception of the closure of both the Bode Howard Memorial Pool and the Winnemucca Municipal Golf Course Club House.

With the supply of toilet paper being unpredictable at local stores, the City of Winnemucca would like to remind its residents to "Watch what you flush." The city's wastewater system is designed for human waste and toilet paper only. Items such as paper towels, tissues, rags and wet wipes/baby wipes (even if they say “flushable”) can cause issues in the wastewater system as well as the homeowner’s portion of the system. These items do not break down like toilet paper and can cause slower flows and back ups of the system.

State of Nevada

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada and the FBI are warning of several new fraud schemes looking to exploit people during the coronavirus pandemic. Scammers are setting up websites, contacting people by phone and email, posting disinformation on social media and even going door-to-door in some instances, according to a release from both agencies. Nevadans are being urged to independently verify those who are reaching out to them, be it a company, charity or individual. They’re also being told to be wary of unsolicited emails and offers, especially those requesting cash payments or wire transfers.

The Division of Public & Behavioral Health - Environmental Health Section’s (DPBH-EHS) has identified the following types of permits and services as essential and non-essential per Nevada Governor Sisolak's order:

Essential:

  • Markets and convenience stores selling groceries and packaged foods. This includes food establishment permits where the middle three digits are: 005, 007, 021, 023, 024, 025, & 026.
  • Retail food establishments that transition to packaged, take-out or delivery only following further guidance below.
  • Correctional facility kitchens
  • School kitchens continuing to provide to-go meals while schools are closed
  • Food, drug, and cosmetics processors. This includes permits where the middle three digits are: 032, 039, 040, 041, 051, 060, 061, 062, 063, 064, 065, 066, 067, & 068.
  • Public accommodations and camping/recreational vehicle park occupancy necessary to prevent the displacement of long-term residents.
  • Septic tank pumping contractors
  • Individual sewage disposal system installation and repair
  • Construction and labor camps for continuing mining and agricultural operations

Non-essential:

  • All dining rooms, seating areas, self-service buffets and similar operations at retail food establishments must close.
  • Cottage food operators
  • Farm to fork events
  • Temporary mass gatherings
  • Invasive body decoration (tattoo, piercing, & cosmetic tattooing) establishments
  • Public bathing (pools and spas)

Social Distancing Operational Changes:

  • Essential businesses remaining open must limit the number of patrons allowed in their facilities, avoid allowing lines to form, and maintain 6 feet of social distancing.
  • When patrons must queue (wait) outside, placing markings on the ground 6 ft apart where they can line up while maintaining social distancing will be beneficial. Encourage online and phone orders or employ tactics to reduce in- person interaction. Consider taking phone numbers and texting customers when they may enter.
  • Having patrons wait in their cars and having food or other product delivered outside is the safest practice to limit exposure.
  • Any buffet or food stations used in charitable food distribution settings should transition to boxed meals or serve through gloved staff members or volunteers.
  • Septic tank pumping contractors should limit work inside homes and maintain 6 ft social distancing at all times on a job or when interacting with customers. Continue use of normal PPE and consider the use of full-face protection to reduce the risk of inhaling aerosolized particles during cleaning.
  • Public accommodations, camping and recreational vehicle parks, construction and labor camps, should ensure that residents have adequate sanitary and hygiene supplies. Encourage 6 ft of social distancing among staff and residents who are not already household members or close contacts. Transition food service to residents and workers to to-go only where possible to reduce congregating.

DPBH-EHS prevention guidance is available here.

Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles is closing its offices statewide, including its in-person call center in Carson City, and shifting all services to online access and kiosks only. Almost all DMV services are available online. In an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Governor Sisolak issued Emergency Declaration 004, which grants a 90-day extension on commercial and non-commercial driver licenses, identification cards, and vehicle registrations. Residents whose driver licenses or vehicle registrations expire between March 16, 2020, and April 30, 2020, are urged to print and carry with them the 90-day extension notice and present the notice to any law enforcement officer as proof their license or registration is still considered valid by the Nevada DMV. A copy of the 90-day extension letter is available on the Nevada DMV’s website . This extension does not apply to vehicle liability insurance or SR-22 requirements. Motorists must maintain their vehicle liability insurance coverage. For questions, please call the DMV call center at (775) 684-4DMV. However, the call center is only half-staffed so there may be long “hold” times or busy signals.

Business/Industry

Ridley's Family Market in Winnemucca will offer special shopping hours for seniors from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

Khoury's Market Place in Winnemucca will offer special shopping hours for seniors every day from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. beginning Friday, March 20.

Due to the statewide closure of non-essential businesses, Park Cinemas is closed as of March 18. Watch for updates on the Park Cinemas Facebook.

From March 19 through April 24, Walmart will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The store will be open exclusively to senior citizens from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Tuesdays.

Bengoa Eye Care has indicated that per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the office will only be open for emergency/urgent eye and vision care. For further information, please call (775) 625-3937 or email at info@bengoaeyecare.com.

Dr. Kevin Andrews, a Reno-area orthodontist who provides local treatment, will postpone all non-emergency appointments for the next 14 days, from March 18, 2020, until April 1, 2020, per guidelines from the Nevada Dental Association and the American Dental Association.

Organizations / Other

Age- and Dementia-Friendly Winnemucca and Humboldt County Coordinator Gini Cunningham has shared a wonderful list of COVID-related resources for elderly and cognitively impaired residents: The Sanford Center for Aging (University of Nevada Reno) compiled a list of COVID-19 resources: Sanford Center for Aging; Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division (ADSD); CDC video (What older adults need to know); CDC information for professionals coordinating home care and isolation of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19; The Gerontological Society of America; AARP; Alzheimer's Disease Research Center video for older adults; Alzheimer’s Disease International: Dementia Care during COVID-19; Alzheimer’s Association: COVID-19 Tips for Caregivers; American Geriatrics Society; National Council on Aging; National Association for Area Agencies on Aging.

The law enforcement appreciation banquet, which is held each spring by the Winnemucca Ministerial Association, has been canceled.

The Lazy P Adventure Farm has canceled its Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt. Full refunds will be given to those who have already purchased tickets. The Lazy P will be moving its Farm Baby Days to mid-May in hopes that the Governor's order will be lifted by then. Stay tuned for further updates.

The Winnemucca Food Bank is open to assist clients from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Clients will be given a number at the door and only three will be served inside the building at a time. All others will be asked to wait outside in their vehicles.

The Soup Kitchen is continuing to serve meals Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Methodist Church, 138 W. Winnemucca Boulevard. Meals will be provided in a take-out or sack lunch format at the top of the steps by the building to comply with the health safety precautions currently in place.

HELP The Frugal Flamingo Thrift Store is closed beginning March 18 until further notice; however, the store is accepting light donations. Humboldt Volunteer Hospice is available by phone at (775) 304-4908 for help with chronically and terminally ill patients.

The Poke 'N' Peek Thrift Shop will be closed from Wednesday, March 18, until at least Wednesday, April 1. Members of the Humboldt Hospital Auxiliary will re-evaluate the closure at that time.

The "Color the Mucc" Fun Run (sponsored by the Humboldt County Chamber of Commerce and Humboldt General Hospital) and the "Party in the Park" (sponsored by Winnemucca Domestic Violence Services) have been postponed. The events were originally scheduled for Saturday, April 25.

HELP Due to the current state of affairs and preexisting cuts to traditionally reliable funding sources this year, the future of Nevada Outdoor School is in turmoil and the organization is facing possible shutdown. The NOS needs community support through monetary donations now to keep its doors open and ensure its future. Your action is needed now for the future of our organization and outdoor education in Nevada. Your monetary gift of any size will help the NOS continue to serve, support, and educate area students.

The Nevada Outdoor School offers classroom lessons on it website for free to teachers and parents; NOS staff also will be posting video "nature lessons" to YouTube and its Facebook throughout the next month as a free resource.

The Frontier Community Action Agency has secured a drop box for application and document drop-off. It will be located outside the FCAA office on 667 Anderson Street. The FCAA will be receiving all documents through the drop box until further notice; the waiting room is closed. As of Monday, March 30, all assistance will be provided via phone appointment or Facebook messenger in conjunction with the drop box. For assistance, please call the FCAA at 623-9003 and leave a message with a good contact number or message on Facebook. The FCAA still encourages all applicants to apply online; paper applications will be available from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Thursday outside the FCAA office for pickup; they also can printed using this link. Thank you to the Winnemucca Post Office for lending the FCAA the use of a drop box!

So far, 23.7% of Nevadans have completed their census and 19.2% of Humboldt County residents have! Thank you to everyone who has completed their census and to the coalition of community leaders and organizations who have helped promote its importance. The Nevada Census form is quick, and easy and can be completed in minutes online/mobile at census.nv.gov and over the phone at (844) 330-2020 (English) or (844) 468-2020 (Spanish). Every Nevadan who is counted in the 2020 Census will earn our state $20,000 in federal funding over the next 10 years. Here are some important updates:

  • In light of the COVID-19 Outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted its schedule of operations. Non-response follow-up (door knocking) will now occur the end of May rather than the start of May.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau has released a heat map detailing current self-response rates. Right now Nevada’s national self-response rate (21.3%) closely mirrors the national self-response rate of 21%. The map also breaks down response rate by county. Churchill County currently has the highest self-response rate (26.2%) and their are a few counties with self-response rates under 5%.
  • COVID-19 has also affected our state census outreach campaign. Nevada currently has a travel freeze and the organizer operation has been suspended for 30 days. This means the team is smaller and focusing on online marketing and remote outreach.

Great Basin College has moved to all online courses, effective Wednesday, March 18. CTE and nursing programs will follow schedules provided by the faculty. The campus is closed to the public, but is still open and providing services to the community. Please call (775) 623-4824 or email. Directory information is available online and many services can be completed through the college's website.

The Boys & Girls Club of Winnemucca is closed until further notice. Please visit www.bgcwin.org for updated information.

The Family Support Center has temporarily moved to its former location at 35 West 1st Street (across from Tallman Lumber and the Winnemucca Pizzeria) while the hospital uses its 51 E. Haskell Street location as a screening location for respiratory illness, including COVID-19. For questions, please contact The Family Support Center at (775) 623-1888.

College students will be returning to the community—many after their universities have closed or transitioned to online learning due to COVID-19. Parents should be watchful for any signs of fever, cough or respiratory illness. Any concerns should be directed to the HGH COVID screening clinic at 51 E. Haskell Street.