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10 Los Banos Health Clinic Workers Positive for COVID-19



Photo of Sutter Health's rural clinic in Los Banos, California
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Ten workers at a healthcare clinic in Los Banos have tested positive for COVID-19, Merced County public health officials said Thursday evening.

The 10 people work at Sutter Health’s clinic, which is at 1253 W. I Street.

“Healthcare providers are on the front lines of battling this pandemic and their role puts them at a high risk for exposure. Please do not panic or be fearful.” — Dr. Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp, public health director for Merced County

The clinic is closed while it is disinfected and people who had contact with the employees are notified of the positive tests.

“Healthcare providers are on the front lines of battling this pandemic and their role puts them at a high risk for exposure. Please do not panic or be fearful,” said Dr. Rebecca Nanyonjo-Kemp, public health director for Merced County. “We know that healthcare workers are vital to our community and hope for a successful recovery for those affected by COVID-19.”

Workers at Home Under Isolation

The affected healthcare workers have been ordered to remain under isolation at home, county health officials said.

The county’s public health department asks that visitors to the clinic between March 29 and Wednesday who have COVID-19 symptoms call their medical provider. The symptoms include short breath, fever, and coughing. But don’t go in for testing without calling in advance, the health department advised.

Once the clinic is cleaned, it will re-open with limited services, including teleservice healthcare, officials said.

“I would very much like to applaud the cooperation of Sutter Health and this facility with the Merced County Public Health Department in their efforts to slow the spread of this illness by assisting in the identifying and contacting all those possibly exposed and in bringing their health care facility back online rapidly and safely,” said Merced County Health Officer, Dr. Kenneth Bird.

Merced County: 50 Positive Tests, 3 Deaths

Merced County has had at least 50 positive cases and three deaths caused by the coronavirus. At least 44 cases are active, and three people have recovered, according to the county’s coronavirus website.

On Wednesday, Dr. Bird strengthened the county’s stay-at-home order.

Bird said that complying with the order was “imperative” to flatten the curve of COVID-19 transmissions and deaths.

Merced County logo merged with Stay at Home order in black and yellow

(GV Wire Composite/Alexis DeSha)

Stay-at-Home Order

Bird’s order directs all county residents to stay at home unless they are providing or receiving essential services. In addition, it:

  • Directs all businesses and governmental agencies to cease non-essential operations at physical locations in the county;
  • Prohibits all non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals (including church and funeral services);
  • Orders cessation of all non-essential travel;
  • Restricts access to certain recreation areas (including parks and golf courses).

Failure to comply is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, county jail sentencing, or both.

Sheriff Warnke: Pandemic Will End Sooner With Compliance

“People are dying in our community — please take all health directives seriously,” said Merced County Sheriff-Coroner Vern Warnke. “If you heed the directives of public health officials, then my deputies won’t be forced to take enforcement actions. Risking a criminal record because of mere disregard to health and safety is reckless, careless, and simply not worth it. This pandemic will end sooner if we all do our part.”

For general information pertaining to COVID-19, visit the Merced County Department of Public Health’s website at or call the informational line at 209 381-1180 (English, Spanish, Hmong).

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email