Update #47
COVID-19 Emergency
April 30, 2020 - 6:00 pm
Still 5 Confirmed Cases in City of Big Bear Lake, But Now 3 Confirmed Cases in Unincorporated Areas

Hospital Bed and Ventilator Availability Remain High

City Increasing Enforcement Presence This Weekend

Additional COVID-19 Testing Available in Lake Arrowhead

US Forest Service Extends Closure of Developed Recreational Sites Through May 15

City's Focus Shifts Toward Responsible Reopening
The City of Big Bear Lake is working hard to ensure that the residents, second home owners, investors, businesses, and visitors in our community have the correct information about the status of COVID-19 threats in Big Bear Lake and the City's response to these threats.

This email newsletter is the official guidance from the City of Big Bear Lake, and the City appreciates everyone's adherence to the restrictions and recommendations outlined herein. This email newsletter also serves as the City's official press release regarding the City's COVID-19 response, and press inquiries may be directed to Frank A. Rush, Jr., City Manager, at 909-866-5832 or via email.
To be sure you are receiving the latest and most accurate information, please sign up for this email newsletter by clicking here . PLEASE share this email newsletter with anyone and everyone, as we want to reach as many people as possible with this information. Thank you!
There are now a total of 8 confirmed cases in Big Bear Valley, with a total of 5 confirmed cases in the City of Big Bear Lake and 3 in unincorporated areas outside the City limits. It is important to note that this data reflects the total number of cumulative cases since COVID-19 testing began in March, and continues to include those who have recovered. For example, Mayor Herrick is included in this total, and he has now fully recovered, and it is likely that some of the other confirmed cases have also recovered by now.

The County reports a total of 2,058 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 19,964 tests have been administered thus far in the County, with 10.3% testing positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 93 people have now died from COVID-19 in San Bernardino County. Thankfullly, there are 0 deaths reported for the Big Bear Valley.

This data is updated daily at the County's COVID-19 dashboard, and the City encourages everyone to view this site for the most accurate information.
City officials continue to track the County's data regarding hospital bed and ventilator availability in our County, and this data is one of many considerations guiding the City's COVID-19 actions. Thankfully, the data suggests that COVID-19 remains relatively manageable in our area. Fortunately, hospitals in San Bernardino County and Big Bear Lake are functioning normally and have not been overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.

According to the County, there are a total of 279 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. The number of patients hospitalized has generally remained in the 250 - 350 range since April 1, with a peak of 451 on April 10. The County reports a total of 1,085 "surge capacity" beds (the number of additional beds a hospital could provide if all available space was needed) in the County, and there are approximately 6,000 total hospital beds in the County.

There are a total of 82 patients in intensive care, and 179 intensive care beds are still available. The number of ICU patients has generally remained in the 75 - 125 range since April 1, with a peak of 124 on April 10. There are a total of 312 ventilators in use in the County, and an additional 527 ventilators still available. This number has remained steady in the 300 range since April 1.

Bear Valley Community Hospital and Big Bear Fire / EMS officials continue to report lower patient and call volumes than typical for this time of year, which remains a good sign for our community. Bear Valley Community Hospital is equipped with 7 ventilators locally.

It is also interesting to note that there are approximately 75,000 hospital beds and approximately 7,300 intensive care beds in the State of California. Statewide, there have been approximately 5,000 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases each day since April 1, and approximately 1,500 patients in intensive care.
With gorgeous spring weather upon us, and almost everyone anxious to get out of the house after the past 7 weeks, we are expecting many to be outside enjoying Big Bear Lake this weekend.

It is important to note that outdoor activity is permitted, as long as it's done in isolation or with your household unit, you keep moving, and care is taken to stay far away from others also enjoying the outdoors. Face coverings are not required when engaging in solitary outdoor activities or with your household unit, however, face coverings must be worn if others are nearby. USFS hiking trails, City parks, and the Alpine Pedal Path are expected to experience higher usage this weekend, so please be cautious and avoid interacting with others.

If you are out for a walk in your neighborhood, in The Village, or along the lake, please keep your distance from others, do not congregate, and make sure you are wearing face coverings. Please note that restaurants and other food establishments are permitted to operate for take-out and delivery only, and if you order food please do not congregate outside the establishment! Please take your food home, or to a location far away from others.

Boating activities are permitted on the lake this weekend, with a maximum of 4 individuals permitted on the boat. Limited vehicle / trailer parking (only 25 spaces) is available at the East Public Launch Ramp, and social distancing and face coverings are required while launching.

The City will have an increased enforcement presence this weekend to ensure that the public complies with these requirements. The City is working hard to enable the reopening of businesses in our community, and in order for us to take this next step it is critical for our community to use proper social distancing, face coverings, and personal hygiene. We are getting closer and closer to a gradual reopening, and we need EVERYONE's cooperation!

The US Forest Service has extended the closure of all developed recreational sites through at least May 15. Trails, trailheads, and general forest areas remain open for public use, provided users practice social distancing. Trash removal services are suspended, so please pack out all trash and waste. Law enforcement and search and rescue activities are also limited, so please plan accordingly.
The City has been working hard since late February to help keep our community healthy and safe from COVID-19 - along with many others in our community - and these collective efforts have helped to minimize the health impacts of COVID-19 here in Big Bear Lake thus far. The City and our partners are continuing these diligent efforts, however, the City's focus is now shifting toward a responsible reopening of our community in the coming days and weeks. There has been significant economic and social harm for many in our community, and the City's efforts are now aimed at mitigating this harm and promoting a safe, robust, and sustainable economic recovery for our businesses and residents.

A new, ad hoc committee will be working with City officials in the coming days to review, adjust, and improve a draft proposal for the gradual, incremental, thoughtful, and safe resumption of business activities in Big Bear Lake, and will conduct its first meetings on May 1 and May 4. City officials also remain in close contact with San Bernardino County officials, and continue to discuss appropriate strategies to safely resume many business activities and again welcome visitors to enjoy our special mountain environment. The City is hopeful that these efforts will dovetail with additional flexibility from Governor Newsom in the coming weeks, and hopefully enable our community to resume additional business activities by early and mid-May.

The City is focused on immediate reopening strategies, but is also considering the longer-term implications to ensure that once we get back to normal, we stay back to normal. It will be important for our community to effectively plan for any "second waves" of COVID-19 that might impact Big Bear Lake. It's also critical to ensure that our community enjoys a strong 2020-2021 winter season, when the bulk of our economic activity occurs that keeps our businesses (and our entire community) prosperous. Following a difficult late winter and early spring, we're focused on safely bouncing back this summer and fall, and thriving this coming winter!
In accordance with Governor Newsom's and San Bernardino County public health orders, the City previously advised lodging facilities and vacation rentals that they could not operate and to block out all dates through at least April 30. With that deadline now upon us, the City is now advising lodging facilities and vacation rentals to continue to block out all dates and not welcome any guests through at least May 8. This date may be extended further depending on continually evolving circumstances, and lodging facilities and vacation rental managers / owners should advise scheduled guests accordingly.

The City continues to monitor the COVID-19 issue in Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino County, and continues to monitor any adjustments in the Governor's or County orders. Any termination or adjustment of the Governor's or County orders regarding lodging facilities and vacation rentals, or any additional extension of the May 8 date will be included in future City COVID-19 updates as new information becomes available.
The City of Big Bear Lake has implemented various public health recommendations and restrictions for the past several weeks, and continues to do so.

The City encourages everyone to heed the following recommendations:

  • diligently honor the Governor's order to "shelter in place",

  • limit your interactions with others to the maximum extent practical,

  • plan your essential trips out accordingly, and limit the number of trips to the grocery store, drug store, etc.,

  • keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and others you come into contact with,

  • wash your hands ALL THE TIME,

  • if you need to get outside, take a walk, go for a run, take a bike ride, or go on a hike by yourself or with your family - but stay far way from others!

The following key restrictions remain in effect in Big Bear Lake:
  • everyone in Big Bear Lake is directed to "shelter in place", especially those age 65 and older and those who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, however, travel is permitted for work and to conduct personal business,

  • face coverings must be worn when you are interacting with others out in the community,

  • grocery stores, drug stores, and other essential retail and service businesses may operate,

  • construction and repair activities may continue,

  • bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys, ski areas, snow play areas, and other similar businesses may not operate,

  • restaurants are closed for in-restaurant seated dining, however, take-out and delivery services are permitted,

  • lodging and vacation rentals may not operate, except for very limited situations,

  • non-essential group gatherings of any size are prohibited, including commercial establishments, churches, community groups, and other formal and informal group activities,

  • isolated, outdoor exercise is permitted, including walking your dog, and

  • City parks (for pedestrian access, no parking available) and the Alpine Pedal Path remain open, however, these facilities should be enjoyed by yourself, with your small family group, and users should avoid close contact with others.
The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health operates a COVID-19 Hotline for residents with questions about COVID-19. Please call (909) 387-3911 for assistance.
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The City of Big Bear Lake strives to keep our residents, property owners, investors, businesses, and visitors well-informed about the City's issues and initiatives - including the COVID-19 threat - with an emphasis on information specific to Big Bear Lake and the entire Big Bear Valley.
The easiest way to stay-informed is to sign up for the City's email newsletter and other updates. It's easy to sign up - simply visit the City's website and click on "Text & Email Notifications" in the top center of the homepage. Simply click on the link, enter your name and email address, and you're all set. Signing up will ensure that you receive periodic updates about COVID-19 in Big Bear Lake, the City's new monthly newsletter - Elevation 6752', and other special communications from the City of Big Bear Lake for emergency situations, special events, and more.
In addition to the City's email updates, you can also get the latest information from the City of Big Bear Lake via the following digital platforms:
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Please help us spread the word, and share the City's digital communications platforms with your family, friends, other residents, property owners, frequent visitors, or anyone else who is interested in Big Bear Lake. Thank you!
Frank A. Rush, Jr., City Manager
City of Big Bear Lake
39707 Big Bear Blvd. PO Box 10000, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Phone: (909) 866-5831 | Fax: (909) 866-5491