SAN BERNARDINO — Thirty-one people in San Bernardino County had tested positive for the new coronavirus as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 23.
“That’s obviously a large increase,” said Trudy Raymundo, director of the Public Health Department.
As private and public labs process more tests, the number of people to have the virus will climb, county officials say. But as of Tuesday, the county had only received 300 test kits, which, Raymundo said, is a large reason why the number of confirmed cases in San Bernardino County is so low compared to neighboring counties.
“We are doing everything we can to understand that we need to increase the number of testing in the community,” Raymundo told the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
“Over the last couple of days we were actually able to place an order for test kits. All of those tests are now back ordered and that just speaks to the instability of us being able to get those tests in a timely manner.”
The county is not releasing information on where patients with COVID-19 live, but Raymundo said she has seen cases everywhere, throughout the county, and everyone should assume and act like the virus is in their community.
“It is in all of our cities. People need to already assume that it is in your community and already in your city,” she said. “We absolutely already have community spread and we need residents to be prepared at the highest level of responsiveness.”
Acting county health officer Dr. Erin Gustafson agreed and urged everyone in San Bernardino County to heed the statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state public health officer on March 19.
“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 health care system functioning,” Gustafson said.
Health officials say they are trying to “flatten the curve” — reduce the eventual number of people who will need hospital care so it doesn’t outstrip the hospital beds and equipment available in the county.
The commander of the Twentynine Palms combat center said a civilian man in Yucca Valley was one of the confirmed cases.
Big Bear Lake Mayor Rick Herrick announced he was the first positive case of COVID-19 in Big Bear.
A 56-year-old Running Springs woman posted a video on Facebook saying she had tested positive, and the local hospital confirmed a resident there had COVID-19.
People with questions about the new virus can call San Bernardino County’s coronavirus public information line from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at (909) 387-3911, or email the county at firstname.lastname@example.org.