Dear Dr Putnam:
I’m a typical tourist, passing through Elko on the way to somewhere else. As my wife and I approached Elko, I searched your site for COVID-19 information and found the “Nevada State Report” dated 19 July. There, I learned that Elko County is among the three hottest Corona-19 spots in a very hot state. I also reviewed the recommendations in that report, among which were:
• Ensure enforcement of the masking requirements in business establishments.
• Consider further limitations on occupancy or operation of certain businesses in highly affected counties ...
Tonight, I ordered takeout from a restaurant on Idaho Street (their “Shrimp Lover” combo is spectacular). When I went into the restaurant, I was shocked to find every occupied table in the establishment (the majority of them) taken up by closely grouped, unmasked customers. Most tables I saw had at least six people in attendance. The wait staff were all masked, though the cash register person, behind a screen, did not cover her nose.
I find it surprising, in a Coronavirus hotspot county, that any indoor commercial activity is permitted. Given your region’s reported 10.3% positive test rate, I’d estimate that at least three of that restaurant’s customers could be virus shedders, potentially infecting other customers and even the masked wait staff. Needless to say, I was acutely uncomfortable in the establishment, and beat a hasty retreat as soon as my purchase was confirmed.
As Elko County’s health officer, I urge you to promptly and aggressively act to suppress the spread of this contagion within your jurisdiction, by strictly following the above-cited recommendations.
Sincerely and respectfully yours,
Tom Snyder, M.D.
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