The City of Clovis is bracing for impact as Coronavirus cases continue to increase throughout California and national and state leaders scramble to address the pandemic.
The City, Clovis Unified School District and Clovis Community College suspended all large events March 12, the same day that Gov. Gavin Newsom barred gatherings of 250 or more people to prevent the spread of the virus. He mandates to “heed any orders and guidance of state and local public health officials … to control the spread of COVID-19.”
COVID-19 is the disease that is caused by the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency March 13, days after the World Health Organization announced the outbreak was a global pandemic.
There was one confirmed case of the virus in Fresno County as of Friday, March 13. Neighboring Madera and Tulare counties also reported one case each.
Community Medical Centers Offer Advice To Keep Safe
Community Medical Centers, which includes Clovis Community, are on high alert.
“This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. The risk may change daily. But as home to the valley’s only Level 1 trauma center, our staff and physicians are highly trained and routinely prepare for situations like these,” Community Medical Centers said on its website.
Clovis Community Medical Center is allowing only one visitor per patient. The hospital advises people with cold or flu-like symptoms to not visit family or friends who are in the hospital.
The hospital is also canceling its HealthQuest series.
Similar to the cold or flu, the virus spreads from person-to-person via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Older people and individuals who suffer from chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are at the greatest risk of dying from the disease.
COVID-19 symptoms are similar to mild to severe respiratory illnesses, such as the cold or flu. Common signs include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. In severe cases, COVID-19 can turn into pneumonia.
The Eye Medical Center of Fresno reports the disease can also cause conjunctivitis, the condition known as Pink Eye.
If you exhibit symptoms that are not severe, Community Medical Centers advise to stay home and refrain from interacting with others rather than visiting the doctor’s office and risk spreading the disease to others who are vulnerable. If you believe you should see a doctor, call to make an appointment and report your symptoms, recent travels, and possible exposures, the hospital said.
“We are prepared with procedures in place to treat patients with coronavirus symptoms and to help protect our other patients and staff from the spread of the virus. We are also closely monitoring our supplies and coordinating with local, state and national public health agencies and healthcare providers to help ensure we’re doing everything possible to meet the needs of our patients and our community,” Community Medical Centers said.
People who have symptoms should also refrain from going to work or traveling, the hospital said.
As far as protecting yourself from the virus, a representative from the Fresno County Department of Public Health said people should prepare the way they normally would to protect against the flu.
That includes taking precautions such as washing your hands, avoiding close contact with those that are sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, cell phones and keyboards.
“At the Department of Public Health, we are looking at this as a version of the super flu,” the representative said. “The best way to be prepared for a super flu is to be super prepared for the regular flu. That means doing all the things that we already know how to do to prevent the regular flu.”
The Medical Centers also advises the general public to not panic, though that is not stopping residents from stockpiling necessities such as water, toilet paper and canned goods.
Residents Panic Buy Water and Toilet Paper
On Friday, March 13, several grocery stores around Clovis, including Save Mart, Vons, Costco and FoodMaxx were out of toilet paper and water.
Victoria Castro, a public affairs manger for Save Mart, told the Roundup, “Our stores are seeing a higher demand for cleaning and personal hygiene products from our customers. We are working diligently with our vendors and suppliers to ensure the ongoing availability of the high demand products.”
“If customers do not see a specific product on our shelves one day, they can be assured that we are working continuously so that it will be on the next day,” she continued.
Experts are urging the public to stay calm.
“Consumers’ irrational behavior will certainly do more damage than reality will,” Allen Adamson, a consumer brand consultant who teaches at New York University’s Stern School of Business, told The Washington Post. “People are emotionally driven and nervous, and nothing makes them more nervous than a threat they can’t see.”
City Makes Preparations
The City of Clovis temporarily closed its Clovis Senior Activity Center March 12.
“There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Senior Center. This action is being taken by the City of Clovis out of an abundance of caution, as this facility serves our most vulnerable population,” the City said in a statement.
The City also suspended park reservations. Parks and picnic sites will remain open to the public, however.
“This is being done out of caution and in accordance with current recommendations by Public Health entities to limit group gatherings. Parks and picnic sites can still be used on a first-come, first-serve basis at your discretion,” the City said in a social media post.
Miss Winkles Adoption Center Cancels Annual Fundraiser
Miss Winkles Pet Adoption Center announced March 12 that it is canceling its Fundraiser Dinner and Pet Fashion Show that was slated to take place Saturday, March 14, because of coronavirus concerns.
“While we are disappointed the event is unable to take place this year, the health and safety of our residents comes first. We truly appreciate your support for Miss Winkles and plan on bringing back this fantastic event next year,” Miss Winkles said in a statement on Facebook.
The adoption center will provide full refunds to all who purchased tickets and sponsorships. You can call 559-324-2576 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your refund.
While the event is cancelled, you can still make donations to the adoption center at www.misswinkles.com/donate/.
Colleges Suspend Class
State Center Community College District, following in the footsteps of Fresno State, suspended all of its in-person classes. SCCCD includes Clovis Community, who canceled class March 16 through March 19. Faculty and staff will use this time to prepare to transition to online classes and student services.
Class will resume online Mar. 20.
“The district and colleges have been working together to determine how best to manage the growing spread of COVID-19. We have also been in close communication with the CEOs from all the regional colleges and universities and our local health officials… Student services and all other college offices will remain open and continue to serve students, ” Clovis Community College President Lori A. Bennett said in a statement.
CUSD Cancels All Activities
CUSD announced March 12 that it is suspending all activities, competitions and events until April 13 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. That includes all athletic events, music and performing arts events, clubs and student rallies.
“We are defining essential functions as anything that is essential to the operation of a school site, student learning and/or governance of our district,” a statement on the CUSD website said.
“As indicated in this directive, schools will remain open. Most importantly, we will continue to be in close and frequent communication with Fresno County’s Public Health Department and follow their best practices, act calmly and thoughtfully, and keep the best interest of our students and staff at the forefront,” the statement added.
As of March 11, there were 191 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California. That number is likely higher however, as there are reports of the virus spreading throughout homeless populations.
This story will be updated.