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County declares local health emergency; Still no cases in the county

The San Bernardino County Public Health Officer and the Board of Supervisors today declared a local health emergency to help ensure county government and the public are prepared for the possibility that COVID-19 will appear within the county.

No local cases have been reported in the county, although cases have been identified in neighboring Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange counties.

“The purpose of this declaration is not to alarm people but to increase the focus on preparedness for both the public and county government departments and agencies,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “The health risk to the general public in San Bernardino County remains low at this time.”

Various appropriate county departments and agencies have been working together since Jan. 25 to prepare for the possible arrival of the virus within the county. That is when the county was notified an aircraft carrying U.S. citizens evacuated from the region in China where the virus had originated might be arriving at Ontario International Airport. The flight was eventually diverted to Riverside County. The County Department of Public Health activated its Department Operations Center on March 3.

Among the county departments and agencies meeting regularly to coordinate efforts are Public Health, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Office of Emergency Services, County Fire, Sheriff, and the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency.

County Public Health continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health to respond to reports of COVID-19. Although Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency to help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19, the health risk from COVID-19 to the general public in San Bernardino County remains low at this time.

  • As with any virus, especially during the cold and flu season, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your health and those around you:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • If someone does become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough, they should stay away from work, school or other people to avoid spreading illness and seek assistance from their healthcare provider if symptoms become severe.
  • N95 masks are not recommended outside a healthcare setting. Surgical masks can be worn by sick individuals to reduce the likelihood of spreading germs to others.

For more information on COVID-19, please call (800) 722-4794 or visit the County Public Health COVID-19 webpage at http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus/. Information is updated as soon as it is made available.

7 Responses to County declares local health emergency; Still no cases in the county

  • Still no answer to Sandra’s question…. or should we take that as the answer then? She must be correct.

  • Many people with symptoms of COVID-19 have arrived at the ER and are not being tested. What is going on? Does the County of San Bernardino not have Coronavirus test kits? Is our county ill prepared? Some residents do travel outside the county for work, shopping and entertainment…. and could of possibly been exposed by a carrier without symptoms. I’m a concerned resident.

    • Hi Sandra, the County is working diligently to help our community stay safe and healthy and we continue to follow the advice of medical professionals. The County’s Public Health Officer has ordered the immediate cancellation or postponement of gatherings of more than 250 people within the county until further notice. The order applies to, but is not limited to, concerts, conferences, and professional, college, and school sporting events. We are concerned residents as well and we will keep you as updated and informed as we can. Take care.

      • You didn’t answer Sandra’s questions. Does the County of San Bernardino not have Coronavirus test kits? Is our county ill prepared? How many people have been tested?

  • You say that there have been no reported cases, but has anyone one been tested? If so, how many?

  • Is there a plan in place, if the Coronavirus hits the homeless and/or drug/alcoholic places that they gather in??? It seems it would be very difficult to keep them in quarantine.

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