COVID-19 updates

Big Bear reported five new cases of COVID-19 yesterday bringing the cumulative total to 68 confirmed cases.

Since July 1, there are 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Big Bear. The 54 cases reported this month are mostly active cases, but some of these patients may have recovered or be on the road to recovery.

The data shows the city of Big Bear Lake has 36 reported cases and Big Bear City has 27. Sugarloaf reports five cases and Fawnskin has zero. No deaths are reported in Big Bear Valley associated with the coronavirus.

San Bernardino County’s positivity rate rose to 13.1 percent with the seven day average at 20.8 percent. San Bernardino County’s overall cumulative case county is now at 32,309 with 419 lives lost to COVID-19.

Bear Valley Community Healthcare District now offers testing for COVID-19 three days per week. A doctor’s order is required, as well as an appointment.

Testing, and the delay in results, is one of the biggest issues facing counties and the country in general, said John Friel, CEO for the healthcare district. Test swabs are sent to Labcorp or Quest for screening, a process the healthcare district has used for years for all tests done at the lab, Friel said.

The turnaround time used to be three to five days, now results are averaging at least nine days, Friel said. That places a burden on the local hospital. Most patients seeking care through the emergency room that need hospitalization are transferred to facilities off the mountain. Nowadays, the hospitals off the mountain are asking if the incoming patient is COVID-19 free, Friel said. That’s an answer that isn’t readily available, and could take more than a week to obtain due to the lag in test results.

Those patients are hospitalized at Bear Valley Community Hospital until the results are available, Friel said. If that patient is positive, his or her condition could deteriorate, he said.

Some time ago, the healthcare district ordered the equipment that would provide test results within 30 minutes or so, Friel said. It’s on backorder, Friel said. The test kits arrived, but the machine hasn’t. However, Mountains Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead has the equipment. The two facilities now have an agreement that if test results are needed quickly, the test is sent by courier to Mountains Community. The patient is isolated until the results are available, Friel said.

For cases that aren’t urgent, the patient can isolate at home until the results are available, he said.

The testing clinic is offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m. A doctor’s order is required to make an appointment and the patient must be exhibiting some COVID-19 symptoms such as fever or difficulty breathing.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 909-878-8219.

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