Update #50
COVID-19 Emergency
May 4, 2020 - 7 pm
Again No Change in Confirmed Cases in Big Bear Valley

COVID-19 Hospitalizations, Ventilator Use Remain Relatively Constant

Governor Newsom Indicates Loosening of Some Restrictions Coming This Friday, Also Creates Potential Local Flexibility

Committee Nearing Completion of City Reopening Plan, Meets Again Wednesday

Guidance for Lodging, Vacation Rentals Coming Soon

Restaurants, Seniors Can Now Sign Up for Meal Delivery
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 still 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.

The County reports a total of 2,182 confirmed cases in San Bernardino County. A total of 22,895 tests have been administered thus far in the County, with 9.5% testing positive for COVID-19. Sadly, a total of 97 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 now perhaps the most important data to consider as we move forward on the COVID-19 issue.

County data suggests that COVID-19 remains relatively manageable in our area, as COVID-19 hospitalizations and ventilator use continue to remain relatively constant. Thankfully, hospitals in San Bernardino County are not overburdened by COVID-19, and are functioning in a relatively normal manner.

According to the County, there are a total of 260 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 77 patients in intensive care, and 126 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 297 ventilators in use in the County, and an additional 544 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 generally 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 30+ hospital beds and 7 ventilators.
Earlier today, Governor Newsom indicated he expects to loosen some restrictions for low-risk retail establishments, including bookstores, music stores, toy stores, florists, sporting goods, and others this coming Friday. More specific guidelines are expected later this week, and the City will implement these changes in Big Bear Lake upon confirmation of details by State and County officials. These changes will be communicated in the City's COVID-19 updates later this week.

Perhaps more importantly, the Governor's new Executive Order (paragraph 2) includes a provision whereby County governments may secure the ability to be less restrictive than the State in the future. San Bernardino County officials are currently considering reopening strategies, and the City is hopeful that our County will be able to secure approval from the State Public Health Officer to enact its own, less-restrictive guidelines that will enable business activities to resume in Big Bear Lake and the Big Bear Valley in the near future. City officials remain in close contact with County officials on this issue, and are working hard to secure needed flexibility in Big Bear Lake and the Big Bear Valley.

The City believes that it's time for Big Bear Lake to reopen - in a safe and responsible manner. The City has been relatively fortunate, and meets many of the criteria that Governor Newsom has suggested are important to enable a return to some level of normalcy:

  • to date there have only been 5 confirmed cases in the City, with no new cases reported in the past 9 days,

  • there have only been 2 new confirmed cases in Big Bear Lake in the past 30 day, and it's also likely that some or all of the confirmed cases in Big Bear Lake have recovered by now,

  • the unincorporated areas outside Big Bear Lake only have a total of 3 confirmed cases to date,

  • the April 17 testing event in Big Bear Lake yielded only 1 positive test out of 229, and there was sufficient testing capacity for many more that day, but was not needed,

  • any individual in our community who needs a COVID-19 test can easily secure a test at a nearby location,

  • there is sufficient hospital bed, ICU bed, and ventilator capacity in San Bernardino County,

  • Big Bear Fire / EMS call volumes remain at or below typical levels, and Bear Valley Community Hospital reports manageable patient loads,

  • antibody testing is in the process of being rolled out in San Bernardino County, and

  • Big Bear Lake residents and businesses have acted responsibly, and have diligently adhered to the recommendations and restrictions for more than 7 weeks now.

The City is pleased with Governor Newsom's announcements earlier today, which are a step in the right direction, and looks forward to San Bernardino County securing local flexibility - and working with or delegating to the City - in the near future. As a result of the City's efforts over the past two weeks, including the diligent work of a special Council-appointed ad hoc committee and the City Council's thoughtful consideration of these issues, the City aims to be well-prepared to reopen our community in a safe, responsible manner - hopefully very soon!
The City Council-appointed ad hoc committee tasked with reviewing, adjusting, and improving the City's draft proposal met again this morning, and conducted a productive discussion about several key elements of a responsible reopening plan. The committee provided helpful input on initial business occupancy limits, lodging and vacation rental facilities, expressed interest in allowing more business activities outdoors to promote social distancing, emphasized the need for face coverings, and discussed efforts to promote services for seniors and other vulnerable members of our community. T he committee will review an updated proposal at its next meeting on Wednesday, May 6, and is expected to finalize its recommendation to the City Council at that meeting. The City Council is scheduled to review the updated proposal at its meeting on May 11.

The updated proposal will be available on Tuesday, and the City's COVID-19 update on Tuesday will include a link to the committee's May 6 meeting agenda and the updated proposal.

As noted above, the City remains hopeful that additional flexibility will be provided to the County and ultimately the City in the near future, and this reopening plan will position the City well to resume business activities and welcome visitors back in a safe, responsible manner.
In accordance with Governor Newsom's and County public health officials' orders, the City previously advised lodging facilities and vacation rentals that they could not operate and to block out all dates through at least May 8 - this coming Friday. The City may extend this guidance to May 15 later this week, however, we are awaiting further indications from Governor Newsom in the next few days before finalizing any decisions. A final decision will be communicated in a City COVID-19 update later this week.

If lodging facilities and vacation rental managers / owners have reservations scheduled for May 8 and beyond, please simply be advised that it may become necessary to postpone those reservations until at least May 15, and perhaps later depending on the evolution of the Governor's and the County's restrictions. Lodging facilities and vacation rental managers / owners should plan appropriately and advise scheduled guests accordingly.
Governor Newsom recently announced the launch of the "Great Plates Delivered" program.  This program will provide adults 65 and older and adults 60-64 who are at high-risk from COVID-19 with three (3) nutritious meals a day to help keep them safe at home and healthy, and also provides economic assistance to local restaurants .
The Great Plates Delivered Program is administered by San Bernardino County . Individuals with questions regarding how the program works and eligibility can find answers here . To enroll in the program, eligible individuals should call (888) 743-1485. Information on the program for Big Bear Lake restaurants interested in participating can be found here . Restaurants interested in participating should submit their interest to mary.bernal@hss.sbcounty.gov
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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