March 16, 2020 — San Bernardino County today reported its second case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a 54-year-old male with underlying health conditions who had come into contact with persons who had recently traveled from Washington state.
“This case does not change our level of readiness or response and it should not increase alarm among the public,” said Acting County Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson. “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.”
“We are prepared from a public health standpoint, and our residents, cities, businesses and other key communities have been informed about safe practices,” Dr. Gustafson said.
“We continue 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. As more testing is conducted and more results come in, we thoroughly expect to see an increase in the number of reported cases.”
The county reported its first case of novel coronavirus on Sunday, March 15, in someone who had recently returned from the United Kingdom.
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 and allow flexibility in response.
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.
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. 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:
- 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 information about the coronavirus crisis, visit the County’s coronavirus website at http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus/, email the County at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the coronavirus public information line from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at 909-387-3911.