YUCCA VALLEY MAN ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER

A Yucca Valley man was arrested Wednesday, accused of torturing and imprisoning a woman last week. According to a Sheriff’s report, Steven Perez, 35, lured the victim to an apartment in the 7400 block of Bannock Trail in Yucca Valley. Once inside the apartment, Perez beat the woman and bound her hands and feet. She was locked inside a room in the apartment, and the windows were barricaded to keep her from escaping. Perez then allegedly burned and tortured her before releasing her about 12 hours later. The victim went to the Hi-Desert Emergency Department about 9 p.m. Wednesday for help with her injuries. Deputies served multiple search warrants at locations in Yucca Valley and recovered evidence related to the crime. Deputies found Steven Perez about 10:30 a.m. Thursday and arrested him for investigation of attempted murder; he was booked into the Morongo Basin Jail with his bail set at $250,000.

HEAT OVERCOMES 2 HIKERS IN 49 PALMS CANYON; TIPS FOR HIKING IN THE HEAT

Two women were rescued Thursday when they were overcome by 100-degree temperatures while hiking the 49 Palms Oasis trail in Twentynine Palms. About 11:15 a.m., Twentynine Palms firefighters, Morongo Basin Ambulance, Joshua Tree Search and Rescue, and Sheriff’s deputies were called to the trailhead about 11:15 a.m. for a hiker who was feeling weak and dizzy, early signs of heat exhaustion. Rescuers had to hike about a mile and a half to reach the 31-year-old hiker. As she and her 29-year-old companion were being escorted back to the trailhead, the second woman also began feeling weak and dizzy. She was treated by paramedics and had to be carried out. When they reached the trailhead, she was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center by MBA. The 31-year-old woman refused to be taken to the hospital.

Managing editor Tami Roleff says hikers are reminded to go out in the cooler morning or evening hours and to bring—and drink—a minimum of one quart of water per hour of hiking…

The heat is on. The Morongo Basin is in the middle of an excessive heat warning. While people are anxious to get out of the house, remember that the heat can be deadly. If you are going to hike, here are a few tips to make your outing safer:

  • Hike early in the morning or late in the afternoon—not in the heat of mid-day.
  • Wear a hat and sun screen.
  • Try to hike at higher altitudes – the higher, the cooler!
  • Take at least 1 liter of water per hour you plan to be out.
  • Tell someone where you are headed and when you should return.

Even if you are just driving through, be sure you have plenty of water with you and that your car is filled with gas and well maintained. Charge your cell phone or have a phone charger with you.

NO LOCAL COOLING CENTERS DURING STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

When the weather gets hot, the county usually directs seniors in need to air-conditioned “cooling centers” such as libraries and shopping centers. However, under the state health order, those places are now closed. Seniors without air conditioning at home who need to cool down during the days ahead should call the County’s Adult Protective Services Hotline toll-free at 877-565-2020.

County staff will bring fans to their homes or even put them up in air-conditioned hotel rooms.

If you know a senior who might need help, please check on them. If you think the county can help, call the hotline at 877-565-2020.

SOME ANSWERS ABOUT SEROLOGY TESTING

COVID-19 testing has now been rolled out seven days a week at various locations throughout the county for anyone who wants to know if they are infected with the coronavirus. Some testing events within the county are implementing serology testing, which has generated a lot of questions. Rebecca Havely has the basics on this potentially valuable tool…

A study of blood drawn from 285 people hospitalized with severe COVID-19, found that all had developed SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies within two to three weeks of their first symptoms. National Institutes of Health photo

Serology testing is used to detect the presence of antibodies. Antibodies form in response to an infection; detecting antibodies in a blood sample confirms an individual was previously infected and developed an immune response—whether or notthey showed symptoms of the disease. Serology testing involves taking a blood sample, usually from a simple finger prick. Since it takes up to two weeks to develop antibodies, a serology test does not determine if someone is currently infected with the coronavirus. Because doctors don’t know yet how much protection coronavirus antibodies give a person for COVID-19, a positive test showing the existing of antibodies does not deliver a “clean bill of health” to the individual.

Why is Serology (or Antibody) Testing Important?

COVID-19 testing has now been rolled out seven days a week at various locations throughout the County for anyone wanting to know if they are infected with the coronavirus. Concurrently, some testing events within the county are implementing serology testing (aka antibody testing) which has generated a lot of questions. Here are the basics on this potentially valuable epidemiological tool.

Serology testing is used to detect the presence of antibodies in a person’s blood serum or other tissues. It involves taking a blood sample, which here in the county requires a simple, painless finger prick.

Antibodies, which typically form in response to an infection, are specific proteins produced by the immune system to neutralize pathogens such as viruses. Detecting antibodies in a blood sample confirms an individual was previously infected and developed an immune response—whether or not they showed symptoms of the disease.

So it is important to recognize that a serology test is not effective for determining if someone is currently infected with the coronavirus, since it typically takes up to two weeks after someone becomes infected for their body to produce antibodies.

However, serology testing helps epidemiologists and other medical professionals better assess the extent of the coronavirus among different populations throughout the nation and the world—including San Bernardino County. The ability to detect infections in people who are otherwise asymptomatic (i.e. people who experienced none of the symptoms associated with COVID-19) is perhaps the greatest benefit of serology testing. It increases understanding of the virus and helps evaluate potential opportunities and risks when dealing with it.

The serology test that is currently available is not designed to confirm whether someone has been infected with the COVID-19 virus. 

Serology testing for coronavirus is not a panacea. While doctors can confirm that a person has contracted the virus and successfully fended it off (as evidenced by the presence of antibodies), it’s not known how long that individual is actually immune to the virus afterward. It’s also possible that immunity is merely partial.

Bottom line: Since doctors don’t know how much protection a person has once he or she has produced the antibodies to combat COVID-19, a positive test showing the existing of antibodies does not deliver a “clean bill of health” to the individual.

STATE ORDERS TESTING AT ALL SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES

California is calling for all residents and health care workers at skilled nursing facilities to be tested for the new coronavirus to try to slow the spread of the illness. The state’s Department of Public Health issued a letter saying facilities should draft testing plans for all residents in settings without cases and all residents who have been exposed to the virus. It also calls for testing of residents admitted from hospitals and says those who test negative should be quarantined for 14 days and then retested.

“Mandatory testing will provide the knowledge we all need to make informed care decisions,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services secretary.

The letter comes as the state’s 1,200 skilled nursing facilities have struggled with the virus, which spreads quickly in congregate living facilities and among elderly and frail residents. More than 1,600 residents of these facilities who had the virus died, accounting for roughly 40 percent of California’s total virus deaths, state data shows.