Rick Herrick is the first positive case of COVID-19 in Big Bear. The Big Bear Lake mayor was tested Thursday, March 19 and tests came back positive late Friday.
“The time has come to announce that we have the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Big Bear Valley,” Herrick said in a statement issued by the city of Big Bear Lake. “I was tested after a week of self-quarantine following what has felt like a bout with the flu. The results concluded that I’ve contracted the coronavirus, the first confirmed case in Big Bear. This is not the announcement that I imagined, but I hope that by going public on what is normally a private, HIPAA-type subject can be a learning moment for our tight-knit community.
“A week ago, when the first twinge of illness struck me, I followed orders and stayed at home. Although this was not fun or easy, I knew that I was fighting something off and I didn’t need to expose myself to others regardless of the illness. So I worked from home and kept my distance from my wife, frequently washed my hands, used sanitation wipes and hand sanitizer, all while remaining in self-quarantine. My symptoms have been relatively mild. I had a waning, low-grade fever, some chest pressure, achiness and fatigue. It was like the flu but very different at the same time. I’m sure that this novel coronavirus is being carefully studied for cures and patterns, and that the medical world will learn a lot as more data streams in.
“The message I need to convey is to heed the warnings from the World Health Organization as well as from our local public health officials. I am proud to say that our city has been proactive along with our county and state. With that said, it is obvious that this virus is very new and very contagious. Please remember that it’s never too late to protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and our community.
Herrick is the 10th confirmed case of the coronavirus in San Bernardino County. He is resting at home, doing well and expected to make a full recovery.
Herrick went on to say, “if you feel the slightest onset of illness, stay at home and call your doctor’s office. Do not go to the local emergency room without calling ahead so they can evaluate your symptoms over the phone.
“If you are not sick, stay at home as much as possible and practice social distancing. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. The sooner that we collectively can conquer this disease, the sooner we can get our lives back to a regular routine.
“Remember that tens of thousands of people will suffer from this pandemic. Some may lose their jobs, others will have difficulty paying bills or keeping employees, rent payments may be late, and banks may suffer delinquencies, but those problems pale to the much deeper losses others will no doubt suffer. For now I will conduct my business, including my community and mayor duties, from home, and I will recover to fight another day. And I believe that this type of worldwide catastrophe can bring out the best in mankind — and right now we need THAT to ‘go viral’”.
City staff and fellow council members wished Herrick a speedy recovery. Herrick has been and remains fully engaged in the city’s response to the COVID-19 threats in our community, and now offers an even more unique perspective on the City’s response.
Herrick has been self-quarantined for more than a week now. He has had limited exposure to other city officials, and no other city officials are symptomatic at this time. Herrick has been under self-quarantine for more than a week, but anyone who had contact with Herrick earlier may call the San Bernardino County Public Health Department Operations Center for advice at 800-782-4264, option #6.
It was expected that Big Bear Lake would ultimately have confirmed cases of COVID-19 due to the rapid spread of the virus across the United States. With the continued improvements in COVID-19 testing, it is expected that the number of confirmed cases will continue to increase all over the United States, including Big Bear Lake. The public should recognize this fact, should not panic, and should continue to be vigilant in adhering to shelter in place orders, practicing effective social distancing and maintaining good personal hygiene.