Lyon County officials: So far, so good amid stay-at-home orders
DAYTON, Nev. — Conditions in Lyon County these days seem to be generally quiet, if monotonous, particularly in Commissioner Ken Gray’s district covering Dayton.
The county had made about 6,000 calls the week of March 25 checking on residents and there was a common need for most residents in that outreach.
“The number one concern was toilet paper and people getting their hands on paper products,” he said. “Nobody’s worried about food. Another concern we heard multiple times were people falling behind on their mortgage or rent payments.
“We just came up on the first or second of the month, and they’re worried they may not have it next week or next month.”
County officials continue to encourage residents to abide by Gov. Steve Sisolak’s stay-at-home orders that have been extended through April 30 due to COVID-19.
Lyon County’s rural communities are doing so, but according to Shayla Holmes, the county’s Human Services director, most requests that come into the county for now are financial with most locals concerned about unemployment or evictions.
“We’re still working with people to help them make smart decisions with money they still have available,” she said. “They’re having to consistently navigate the different waters. We are still seeing increased levels of stress.”
Dr. Robin Titus, serving South Lyon Medical Center as director of Long Term Care, reported there has been an increase in domestic violence cases in the hospital’s emergency room.
“Of course, folks are concerned about the virus and possible exposure,” she said, noting she and her staff had met by teleconference with the Northern Nevada Behavior Health Care Policy Board to ensure proper policies and procedures were in place for social distancing and stay-at-home as needed.
Titus said the medical personnel among the Quad County Health District (Carson, Douglas, Storey and Lyon counties) are working well as new cases are discovered and the information changes daily.
Law enforcement has reintroduced familiar programs, but otherwise, county Sheriff Frank Hunewill said he has seen community support for his department in the midst of COVID-19.
The Forensic Assessment Services Triage Team program, originally started in 2015, in the Lyon County Jail provides services for behavioral health, substance abuse treatment and pretrial and supportive programs was halted briefly in the jail but has since resumed.
The Mobile Outreach Safety Team continues to receive as many referrals prior to COVID-19.
“We had to manage our people in there; we had an infected person in there,” he said. “My fear is those calls are going to go up, but we haven’t seen it yet.”
Dispatch also remains current on hotline information and there have been no significant increases to domestic violence calls or other typical responses for deputies, he added, though restrictions for citizens are becoming more stringent.
“I haven’t seen any paranoia, but time will tell,” he said.
He said the department also is taking its precautions and is getting caught up on its personal protection equipment.
“We’ve got a lot of community support … but we’re in a waiting game,” he said.
Those same restrictions Hunewill mentioned are some of the major concerns many in the county are hoping to be lifted soon, Holmes said.
“Things are starting to shift to what the expectation to the new normal is, and most people are convinced it’s going to (extend) past April or the end of summer,” she said. “We’ll see what new things transpire and how it unfolds. … Our biggest goal is to get them to the right contacts.”
Holmes said seniors frequently call the county asking for daily supplies, and the county has been partnering with local nonprofits and churches to obtain dry goods, toilet paper.
“We’ve seen it during fires that the community just shows up,” she said. “They do have this amazing spirit when there’s a time of need. … We see a lot of people staying home, which is what we want. We have other communities where people aren’t doing that at all, and it’s like, ‘Why are you (hanging out) in the Family Dollar right now? Go home.’ ”
Though its physical offices are currently closed to the public, Holmes said the county does provide the phone numbers, fax or e-mail to the Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services as another resource to the public for those who are in need of other mental health or supplemental nutrition services.
“We’re functioning in such different ways and we’ve had to shift the ways we do things to help everyone,” she said.
While the change is still making a difference, the officials observed local residents are still doing well overall.
“Unfortunately, we will always have viruses,” Titus said. “We need to learn from this and not shut down our country.
“I graduated from medical school in 1981,” she added. “I never thought that in 2020 we would still be telling folks to wash your hands.”
Gray encouraged constituents to do what they can to take a few minutes a day to be productive and look out for each other in simple ways.
“Looking out for each other is good,” he said. “Keep your social distance and we’ll all get through this.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.