Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman has announced that, in an effort to protect the public from any possible spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, the County’s Public Health Officer today has ordered the immediate cancellation or postponement of gatherings of more than 250 people within the county until further notice.
The order applies to, but is not limited to, concerts, conferences, and professional, college, and school sporting events, and is in line with guidance issued today by the California Department of Public Health.
“The County realizes that this order will result in inconveniences to many people and businesses. However, the County’s primary concern is the health and wellbeing of its residents and visitors,” Hagman said.
Smaller gatherings should refer to guidance from the California Department of Public Health, which can be found here.
The County Public Health Officer’s order does not apply to activities such as attendance at regular school classes, work, or essential services.
“Certain activities are essential to the functioning of our state and must continue,” the order states. “Hence, this Order does not apply to essential public transportation, airport travel, or shopping at a store or mall. This Order also does not apply to congregate living situations, including dormitories and homeless encampments.”
Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the county, numerous cases have been confirmed in neighboring counties. Large gatherings that attract travelers and other people who don’t routinely congregate with each other increase the risk of COVID-19 appearing within San Bernardino County.
As should always be the case, people experiencing symptoms of contagious illness should seek medical guidance, not attend work or school, and avoid contact with other people.
On Tuesday, the County Public Health Officer and the Board of Supervisors declared a local health emergency to help ensure county government and the public are prepared for the possibility that COVID-19 will appear within the county.
Various appropriate County departments and agencies have been working together since Jan. 25 to prepare for the possible arrival of the virus within the county. That is when the County was notified an aircraft carrying U.S. citizens evacuated from the region in China where the virus had originated might be arriving at Ontario International Airport. The flight was eventually diverted to Riverside County. The County Department of Public Health activated its Department Operations Center on Feb. 13.
County Public Health continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health to respond to reports of COVID-19. Although Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency to help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19, the health risk from COVID-19 to the general public in San Bernardino County remains low at this time.
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:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- 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% 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.
- If someone does become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough, they should stay away from work, school or other people to avoid spreading illness and seek assistance from their healthcare provider if symptoms become severe.
- 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 more information on COVID-19, please call (800) 722-4794 or visit the County Public Health COVID-19 webpage at http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus/. Information is updated as soon as it is made available.
Event organizers seeking guidance from the Public Health Officer specific to their planned events should send their inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.