Merced County reports 9 total coronavirus infections, one week after first reported case

Sun-Star staff
·2 min read

One coronavirus infection was confirmed Sunday by the Merced County Department of Public Health, bringing the total number of Merced County residents with the virus to nine.

The ninth coronavirus infection comes exactly one week after Merced County reported its first case on March 22.

Public Health did not release information about where in the county the infected individual resides.

In nearby Stanislaus County, there have been 31 confirmed cases as of Sunday.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases in the central San Joaquin Valley climbed past 100 over the weekend, as Tulare County reported 11 more confirmed positive tests among its residents Saturday and Sunday. The county also reported its first death from COVID-19.

Fresno County added a dozen cases to its count on Saturday. Madera County’s total rose by four on Saturday and three on Sunday. Kings County’s second case was reported Sunday morning.

The increase in cases comes as local and state “shelter in place” and “social distancing” orders continue, directing businesses that are deemed non-essential to remain closed and asking residents to stay at home except for needed trips for shopping or other vital appointments.

Such measures are intended to reduce potential person-to-person exposure to the virus and sever what doctors call the chain of transmission.

The ongoing spread of the contagion and continued measures to minimize exposure prompted the leader of the Fresno Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church to indefinitely extend a restriction on public Masses – a decision that will affect Holy Week and Easter Sunday observances at churches throughout the diocese that reaches from Merced and Mariposa counties to Kern County.

“The pandemic we face has grown and all indications are that it will continue to do so for some time,” Bishop Joseph V. Brennan wrote in a letter to parishioners on the diocese’s website. “We were all hoping that the restriction on the celebration of public Masses would end” by March 30, but “that is no longer the case.”

Statewide, confirmed coronavirus cases were reported in 47 of California’s 58 counties. As of Sunday afternoon, about 5,780 cases, including 126 deaths, were attributed by individual counties to COVID-19.

Los Angeles County had the most cases in the state at 1,804 as of Saturday afternoon, along with 32 deaths. Eleven California counties, mostly in remote and rural parts of the state, report that they’ve seen none of their residents show positive test results for the virus.

The United States had nearly 137,000 cases and more than 2,600 deaths from coronavirus as of Sunday afternoon, according to a global pandemic tracker by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine in Maryland.

The Fresno Bee contributed to this report.