San Bernardino County recorded its first case of COVID-19. a week ago. There are now 17 confirmed cases in the county. No deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus in San Bernardino County.

On March 19, a statewide stay at home order was issued by Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Public Health Officer. There are exceptions for essential tasks and services.

“Complying with public health orders is essential to our continued health and safety,” said Acting County Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson. “These orders are not intended to spark panic, but rather reduce the spread of infection and minimize the number of people who get sick at any one time to keep our healthcare system functioning.”

Gustafson said cases in the country are fairly evenly distributed, and no one should assume the virus is not present in their community. Big Bear recorded its first case March 21 when Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We must presume and behave as if the virus is everywhere,” Gustafson said.

The acting county health officer and the Board of Supervisors have declared a local health emergency to help ensure county government and the public are prepared and allow flexibility in response. Various county departments and agencies are working together and in partnership with cities, schools, and the business and nonprofit communities to ensure an effective response.

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.

· Persons age 65 years and older and persons of any age with certain underlying health conditions are at increased risk should they contract COVID-19 and are encouraged to self-quarantine.

· 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 percent 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 wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus. New information and resources have been added and the site is being updated daily. The public can also contact the coronavirus public information line from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at 909-387-3911, or email coronavirus@dph.sbcounty.gov.

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