Rick Herrick is going to be OK.
Herrick, the Big Bear Lake mayor, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 20, the first and thus far only case in Big Bear. His wife, Cathy, said Rick is doing OK, and is not hospitalized. He was taken to the emergency room at UC San Diego on March 23, but has been released and is resting and recovering at a private home.
Cathy said since Rick tested positive, their older daughter, who is a doctor, wanted them closer to her in San Diego. Cathy said they probably would have gone down sooner, but had to deal with another family illness, that of their cat. Sadly, they lost the cat on Monday, Cathy said.
Rick attended a City Council meeting via teleconference on Monday morning, and following the meeting wasn’t feeling well. Cathy drove her husband to the hospital in San Diego, and they did keep him overnight, she said.
Cathy said with COVID-19, the process at the hospital is very different. Only the medical staff and the patient are allowed in. Luckily, their daughter was able to get information on Rick’s condition, Cathy said.
Rick had an X-ray at Bear Valley Community Hospital on March 20 and it was clear. An X-ray on March 23 in San Diego is showing some signs of pneumonia, Cathy said. “It happens that fast,” she said.
Rick was sent home with medicine and now the disease will need to run its course, Cathy said. Getting him out of the altitude was a plus, she said. Within about 20 minutes of getting off the mountain, his color started improving, she said. The altitude was working against him, she said.
The Herricks won’t return to Big Bear until he has recovered, and the pneumonia is clear, Cathy said. She said it’s been a roller-coaster, but even at the beginning, Rick didn’t feel that sick. COVID-19 presents differently in everyone, which is scary, she said.
She and Rick want everyone to take this disease seriously, Cathy said. She said the lack of testing ability is frustrating as there are probably many more who are positive. The key is testing, Cathy said.
Cathy is feeling fine with no symptoms, she said. When the county Public Health Department contacted her after Rick’s diagnosis, she said it is strange, but “I feel perfectly fine.” The county public health officer said it’s not that strange that not all family members are positive for COVID-19.
“He’s going to be fine,” Cathy said of Rick. Now it’s time to let his body take over and heal, she said. And she’s doing her part allowing him plenty of rest, making chicken soup and getting him out in the sunshine, Cathy said.