By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
The Ely Times

White Pine County had its first confirmed report of COVID-19, Sunday morning, March 20, at approximately 5:30 according to William Bee Hospital’s CEO, Matt Walker. Walker confirmed the case is an infant with recent travel history. “Patient is in stable condition, and the family is quarantined at home.”
Dr. David Byun, White Pine County Public Health Officer, released a statement, “we are aggressively pursuing the identification of all direct contacts to our local patient zero to instruct, educate and reassure those individuals in order to mitigate and possibly contain the spread of COVID-19 to the rest of the community.”
The confirmed case is reportedly not hospitalized at this time, and the identifiable information will no be distributed out of respect to personal privacy, Byun said.
Ely Mayor Nathan Robertson commented on the first case of COVID-19 in Ely. “Additional cases are sure to follow. The most important things each of us can do during this stressful time is to continue to observe the mandates from our local County Health Officer and practice social distancing protocols.”
Social distancing and preventative measures was encouraged by Byun as well, reminding everyone that this was the time to step up.
“Your actions will determine the course of this battle for days and weeks to come.” Byun said.
Gov. Steve Sisolak instituted an order last week that restricts groups of 10 or more. This includes indoor and outdoor public spaces such as parks, libraries, parking lots, playgrounds, and sports fields. Members of the same household are exempt from the restriction.
Sisolak explained the directive does come with consequences for those who fail to comply. “Police will first issue warnings but may resort to more dramatic measures such as civil or criminal penalties.”
Robertson took immediate action last week by closing all of the city parks. Broadbent, Bianchi, Terrace and Jack Cayolr parks are sealed off with caution tape and signs posted, “Closed due to COVID-19.”
During a radio interview with a local radio station KDSS, District Attorney Mike Wheable explained that state and national parks are closed across the nation as well. “I will be addressing the county parks this week to see what we want to do about that. We also recognize the challenge you have with children at home and that makes it difficult when the playground is closed.”
Robertson executed an executive order for the City of Ely on March 31 that all directives from Gov. Sisolak and Dr. Byun continue to be in effect and enforced within the City of Ely, city offices shall remain closed to the public from April 1-17, non-essential Municipal Court hearings will be continued through April 16, all city advisory board meetings shall be canceled for the month of April, and city council meetings during April will be available via videoconferencing or phone.
As of March 31, Nevada has 1,113 positive COVID-19 cases, and 23 deaths. More than 10,000 tests have been administered. White Pine County currently has administered 45 tests, and seven are currently pending.
“While these social distancing and safety measures are disruptive to many aspects of our lives, I believe they are important not only to our personal safety but for the safety of our most vulnerable citizens.” Robertson said.