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First case of novel coronavirus recorded within county

San Bernardino County today, March 15, recorded its first case of novel coronavirus. The case appeared in a Kaiser Fontana patient who returned from London, U.K., sometime last week. The test was administered by Quest Diagnostics on Thursday, March 12. The results were reported to the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health today.

The patient, a 53-year-old female, presented herself to the Kaiser Fontana emergency department on March 12 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The County Department of Public Health is working to identify the patient’s contacts to monitor them for signs and symptoms of the illness and to take measures to prevent transmission. As should always be the case, people experiencing symptoms of contagious illness should seek medical guidance, not attend work or school, and avoid unnecessary contact with other people.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we recorded our first case,” said Acting County Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson. “This does not change our level of readiness and alert because the county is in a state of emergency, we are prepared from a public health standpoint, and our residents, cities, businesses and other key communities have been informed about safe practices.”

“The health risk from COVID-19 to the general public in San Bernardino County remains low at this time, but everyone is strongly urged to engage in practices that reduce the risk of spread,” Dr. Gustafson said.

“While this patient and her loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers, we want to commend the community for its strength and resilience in the face of this challenge,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Avoiding panic and heeding the advice of public health professionals is the path that will lead us through this crisis.”

On Tuesday, March 10, the County Public Health Officer and the Board of Supervisors declared a local health emergency to help ensure county government and the public would be prepared for the possibility that coronavirus would appear within the county.

On Thursday, March 12, the County Public Health Officer ordered the immediate cancellation or postponement of gatherings of more than 250 people within the county until further notice. Smaller gatherings should refer to guidance from the California Department of Public Health, which can be found here.

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 Feb. 13.

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:

  • As should always be the case, people experiencing symptoms of contagious illness should seek medical guidance, not attend work or school, and avoid unnecessary contact with other people.
  • 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.
  • 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 Information is updated as soon as it is made available.

Anyone with questions or concerns can contact County Public Health at


18 thoughts on "First case of novel coronavirus recorded within county"

  1. Bradford Smith says:

    Kaiser Fontana services s large area. Can you be more specific of the geographical region of the patience residence?

    1. Hi Bradford, that is as specific as we can get due to patient privacy. However, we will continue to keep you updated with the latest information here on our website at and our Facebook page if you would like to follow us there as well. Take care.

      1. Rachel says:

        Los Angeles county lets their residents know what cities people who have tested positive live in. Do you not think this is a matter of importance to the residents of San Bernardino county as well? This is a large county. We deserve this information.

  2. Kye Sheehan says:

    Its about time san bernadino started testing for covid 19

  3. Dr. Margaret Jefferson says:

    Please keep me informed of all changes in the spread of coronavirus in SB co. I am in the high risk senior population with underlying health issues. I have been following all recommended CDC procedures to avoid coming in contact with anyone suspected of carrying the virus, but wish testing was done at greater numbers.

    1. We will continue to update our website at and we will continue to update our blog here. Also follow our Facebook page at for continuous updates. We will keep you as informed as possible. Take care.

  4. Jonathan Olenick, M.D. says:

    Had she been self quarantined since return to CONUS? If not where did she travel? Thank you, Jon.

    1. Justin says:

      She got in London before returning to SB country. It was on the news.

  5. Mikenna Noble says:

    I truly believe that we need to start taking more precautions with the COVID-19 situation. Especially because there aren’t many confirmed cases in or around San Bernardino County, we should act now and start closing bars, restaurants, gyms, and other public places. It’s only going to get worse and spread throughout the community. I am worried for my older parents and my friends parents who are weaker and more susceptible.

  6. Public Health Trump’s patient privacy, at least in terms of where this returning traveler lives and where she went!
    Also please provide information on how many tests have been performed in SB County and whether/when all doctor/hospital requests for indicated tests are being fulfilled.

  7. Public Health trumps patient privacy, at least in terms of where this returning traveler lives and where she went!
    Also please provide information on how many tests have been performed in SB County and whether/when all doctor/hospital requests for indicated tests are being fulfilled.
    Transparency is appreciated and rewarded with public support.

  8. Jessica A. says:

    I believe we need to start placing those precautions that LA and other counties are doing with closing restaurants, bars, and even fitness centers (with the exception of takeout). We have our first case but we need to get ahead of this and not place ourselves in a position where our numbers grow.

  9. Gregory Bourque says:

    There are many small yoga studios and gyms throughout the county. These are held in relatively small spaces and participants are often sweating and breathing fully. What are the plans for keeping these faculties viable.

  10. Jen says:

    Barstow really needs to be more informed about this SERIOUS situation, it looks like everyone is oblivious, not practicing social distancing, coughing and NOT covering their mouths ?! I’m not leaving my house for ANYTHING. This is serious, people. What’s happening in Europe, will surely be happening here in no time.

  11. Matt says:

    When will you take the initiative and close down the county libraries? You are exposing vulnerable populations and staff to this dangerous virus. Children (the most dangerous population to carry the virus) need to stay home, not congregate in close quarters with others. The virus can live on books, dvds and all other media for up to three days. Do you expect your staff to wipe down all materials being circulated? It seems impossible to contain the spread while remaining open. Shut them down!

  12. Fonda Crandall says:

    What about be called to Jury Duty? It’s a risk.

  13. Jonathan Olenick, M.D. says:

    There is a question about reduced virus activity come summer. IT IS SUMMER IN THE SOUTHERN HEM ISPHERE!!! How is Covid 19 behaving there right now???

  14. Jodi damon says:

    Are the testing requirements of citizens the same only people who have come into contact with someone who has known covid19 virus
    2. Test only those who have had contact with known virus who have traveled outside the country 3. Test those who have comorbid or underlying health problems and who are exhibiting difficulty breathing and other symptoms of covid 19.?
    4. Any healthcare worker with symptoms as mild as a sore throat should be tested.
    People are sick and the test is not being offered. We’re told to stay home and manage symptoms. To only seek treatment if symptoms worsen. Is it fair to say then at this point that one diagnosed case in the county is really highly unlikely? This disease will continue to spread quickly. I do not believe we should be told that we are at a low risk when numbers can’t be confirmed because people are not being tested. Testing requirements are there on cdc website to confirm

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