The latest data released by San Bernardino County show new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Big Bear Valley. The number of cases now total 17.

The city of Big Bear Lake reports 11 confirmed cases, an increase of two prior to the holiday weekend. The new cases are not attributed to the influx of visitors during the July 4 holiday weekend. Any possible infections related to the holiday weekend won’t show for two to three weeks, which was the case following Memorial Day. The uptick in local cases began to show up in the last week of June.

In the unincorporated areas of the Valley, there are six confirmed cases. The unincorporated areas include Big Bear City, Fawnskin, Lake William, Sugarloaf, Baldwin Lake and Erwin Lake.

Less than a month ago, Big Bear’s confirmed cases had been stagnant. On June 16 the cases were at 10 total, with no new cases reported for several weeks. At that time the most recent case was reported on June 5.

San Bernardino County is one of 23 California counties on a watch list due to increasing cases of COVID-19. Four counties were added to the list since July 1 when Governor Gavin Newsom took action to slow the spread. At that time, Newsom ordered the closure of all restaurants to indoor dining effective immediately in any county that had been on the monitoring list for three consecutive days. That included San Bernardino County. Bars were also closed in those counties, along with indoor operations at zoos and museums, movie theaters and bowling alleys.

Big Bear restaurants responded by getting creative to offer outdoor dining for what was anticipated as a busy July 4 weekend. Many turned parking lots into outdoor dining areas, some used pop-up tents and put tables on sidewalks and in parking spaces to continue operations. The city of Big Bear Lake offered leniency for those pop-up outdoor operations.

Newsom stepped up enforcement of the new policies by creating strike teams involving several agencies. Areas targeted included known violators, high-risk sectors or industries that continue to operate when they should be closed. During the recent holiday weekend period, close to 6,000 businesses were visited.

In San Bernardino County, there are 15,345 positive cases. Hospitalizations are also on the rise countywide. As of July 4, the last time the data was updated, there are 461 COVID-19 positive patients being cared for in a hospital, with another 96 suspected coronavirus patients also hospitalized. There have been more than 160,000 people tested for COVID-19 in San Bernardino County. The positivity rate is at 9.6 percent in the county.

Young people in the 20-29 age range account for slightly more than 3,200 of the positive cases in San Bernardino County. Another 3,000 are in the 30-39 age range. That is in comparison to 1,500 in the 60-69 year-old range. Officials are concerned that the younger people are ignoring guidelines, feeling invincible because they don’t seem to get as sick, some being asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading the coronavirus to others.

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