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Frequently Asked Questions

County Response to COVID-19

The County Acting Health Officer has issued an order for all residents to stay at home except for essential needs like getting food, caring for a relative or friend, getting necessary health care, or going to an essential job. If residents must leave their home or place of residency for an essential need, residents shall wear a face covering that covers the nose and mouth, keep at least 6 feet of distance from other people and wash hands frequently.

Services for the following County departments and offices will be available only by phone and online. Offices will be closed to the public:

  • Agriculture/Weights & Measures
  • Assessor-Recorder-Clerk
  • Child Support Services
  • Children’s Network
  • Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
  • Community Development and Housing Agency
  • County Fire and Fire Marshal
  • District Attorney
  • Economic Development
  • Human Resources
  • Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA)
  • Land Use Services, which includes Planning, Building and Safety, and Code Enforcement
  • Public Defender
  • Public Works, with the exception of lobby computer access to surveyor records
  • Purchasing
  • Registrar of Voters, with the exception of election observers by appointment only
  • Risk Management
  • Special Districts Water and Sanitation
  • Transitional Assistance
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Workforce Development, however, in-person appointments will be conducted only when necessary

The following County attractions and services are closed to the public until the indefinite health orders are lifted:

  • Preschool Services (Head Start)
  • Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge
  • County branch libraries
  • County museums and historical sites
  • Park and recreation district preschool in Joshua Tree
  • Joshua Tree Desert Conservation Area (Section 6)
  • The following senior and community centers (centers that conduct meal programs will make meals available via drive-thru)
    • Big Bear Senior Center
    • Bloomington Ayala Senior Center
    • Joshua Tree Community Center
    • Lucerne Valley Community Center
    • Wonder Valley Community Center

Additional measures may be taken and announced to the public.

COVID-19 SYMPTOMS

Symptoms may appear within 2 to 14 days after exposure. Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. (COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness).

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, and has reason to believe they may have been exposed, they should call their healthcare provider before seeking care. Contacting them in advance will make sure that people can get the care they need without putting others at risk. Please be sure to tell your healthcare provider about your travel history. You can also take the following precautionary measures: avoid contact with sick individuals, wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

You can use the CDC Self-Checker as a guide to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care.

People who are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness includes:

  • Older adults
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems
  • Individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or health condition, it is important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus. From the international data available, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80% do not have symptoms that would require hospitalization. For patients who are more severely ill, hospitals can provide supportive care. Because there is not treatment for COVID-19 at this time, it is important to learn how to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the disease.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

  • Stay at home or place of residency. Everyone is required to stay home except for essential needs like to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Wear a cloth face cover when leaving your home for essential needs. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect. Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are visibly dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Face coverings may include coverings that secure to the ears or back of the head and cover the mouth and nose. Homemade cloth ear loop covers, bandanas and handkerchiefs, and neck gaiters may be used to reduce the spread of COVID-19 particularly among asymptomatic people. Do not use surgical masks and N95 masks, which are for health care workers and emergency responders.
  • Continue to practice frequent hand washing before and after touching and adjusting face coverings.
  • Face coverings made of cloth should be washed frequently after each use, at least daily. Place face coverings in a bag until washed in detergent with hot water and dried on a hot cycle.
  • Discard cloth face coverings that no longer cover the nose and mouth; have stretched out or damaged ties and straps; cannot stay on the face; and/or have holes or tears in the fabric.
  • There is no need for drivers traveling alone or with members of the same household to wear face coverings unless they must lower their windows to interact with first responders, food service workers, or others who are not members of their households.

Covering the face may reduce the chance that asymptomatic people spread COVID-19, but it is not as effective as social distancing and handwashing. This is just one more tool to help battle the disease.

Social distancing is a practice recommended by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of contagious diseases. It requires the creation of physical space between individuals who may spread certain infectious diseases. The key is to minimize the number of gatherings as much as possible and to achieve space between individuals when events or activities cannot be modified, postponed, or canceled. Achieving space between individuals of approximately six feet is advisable.

For more information, see the CDPH Gathering Guidance.

State and County public health officials have directed bars, night clubs, breweries and wine tasting rooms to close. Restaurants may have dine-in service with modifications, food delivery and takeout while maximizing social distancing for those who are inside their restaurant.

Here is the state guidance for restaurants:

http://www.sbcounty.gov/Uploads/CAO/Feature/Content/guidance-dine-in-restaurants.pdf

COVID-19 Testing

If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider. Do not visit any of the labs for testing.

Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or those that have suppressed immune systems should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.

If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips of face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.

  • Call the San Bernardino County Health Center at (800) 722-4777. Do not go to the Health Center without calling first. The Health Center staff will ask personal information to determine the possibility of testing or care based on self-reported symptoms and other criteria.
  • See if you’re eligible for Medi-Cal or Covered California

In efforts to provide more testing opportunities for San Bernardino County residents, community drive-through testing events are being held throughout the county. Samples are collected by public health professionals by inserting a nasal swab up the nostril. These samples are then sent to a laboratory for COVID-19 testing. All persons must meet criteria to be tested. Events are free of charge and do not require health insurance.

To see all upcoming community drive-through testing events in San Bernardino County, click here.

Please remember, if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, you can still call your healthcare provider and they can determine if you need testing.

If you need documentation in order to return to work, provide your primary care doctor with your result and your doctor can write you a return to work release. Employers cannot ask for a negative COVID-19 test result due to HIPAA regulations.

Travelers

Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in all states in the U.S., and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with COVID-19. There are several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel.

The CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel. Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services and food supply.

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the following international destinations. Most foreign nationals who have been in one of these countries during the previous 14 days will not be allowed to enter the United States.

For more information about traveling, visit the CDC’s Travel webpage.

Business / Employers

Business owners can call the COVID-19 hotline at (909) 387-3911 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for guidance to the federal and state criteria so business owners can determine whether they qualify as an Essential Business under current health orders.

Please visit the following websites for more information:

No. The Order exempts any business that is performing work related to the delivery of health care, including hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists, pharmacies, blood banks and blood drives, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, and veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.

Only if it performs work that is described in federal and state guidance for Essential Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Labs that do not provide Essential services cannot continue operating their facilities, except to provide minimum basic operations, such as maintaining the value of inventory, keeping the site safe and secure, providing for the delivery of existing inventory to residences or businesses, or ensuring that employees are able to work remotely

Only if it performs work that is described in federal and state guidance for Essential Critical Infrastructure Sectors. This includes non-profits operating food pantries, providing housing for homeless residents, and providing other critical services. Non-profit organizations that do not provide Essential services cannot continue operating their facilities, except to provide minimum basic operations, such as maintaining the value of inventory, keeping the site safe and secure, providing for the delivery of existing inventory to residences or businesses, or ensuring that employees are able to work remotely.

Bicycle and automotive repair are identified as essential services by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security guidance and may continue to operate.

Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, pet food and supplies, and other food retail establishments selling foods items may remain open according to the federal and state guidance. Businesses must follow the CDC’s social distancing, hygiene and sanitation guidelines for employees and customers.

Please refer to the following links for guidance:

The cafeteria can operate like other food facilities. It can serve food to the remaining employees, so long as the employees take the food away and do not eat it in the cafeteria.

No. Businesses that supply food goods and prepared meals to grocery stores and other food retailers are identified as Essential and may continue operating.

Janitorial services are allowed because they are necessary for health and sanitation. You can also provide services to non-essential businesses if, without your services, there would be risk to health or safety.

Non-Essential Businesses may only conduct the following minimum basic operations:

  • Activities necessary to maintain and protect the value of the business’s inventory and facilities; ensure security, safety, and sanitation; and process Essential financial transactions including but not limited to: payroll, employee benefits, property leases or mortgages, accounts payable and receivable, and taxes.
  • Activities to facilitate owners, employees, and contractors being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

Only the minimum number of employees that are required to conduct these activities may be onsite and must follow the CDC’s guidance for social distancing and infection control.

Employees and contractors of any governmental entity may continue to provide the services and products if the governmental entity determines that they are necessary to carry out an Essential governmental function.

Home health care workers are identified as part of the Essential Critical Workforce but should follow the direction and guidance of the governmental entity that coordinates and/or funds the services.

Service providers like plumbers, electricians, and exterminators can keep working and providing services to the public that are necessary to maintain a livable, sanitary, and functional household. You can call your building manager or one of these service providers, or you can also visit your hardware store to assist with making your own repairs.

So long as the service is necessary to maintain safety and sanitation. Allowable operations include routine maintenance work like cleaning, chemical balancing and adjustments, and filtration (necessary to, for instance, prevent pool algae from blooming) and safety-oriented repairs.

Notary services are considered essential, though they must follow all social distancing guidelines in carrying out this function.

Title insurance services are considered essential.

Sales of guns and ammunition are considered essential.

Cemeteries are considered Essential Critical Infrastructure.

Funeral home providers and mortuaries may continue operating to the extent necessary to the transport, preparation, or processing of remains. This means that any employee necessary for the transport, preparation and/or processing of a body may continue to report to these facilities to conduct their work and follow guidelines for social distancing.

State and federal guidance should be followed to determine which products are Essential or Non-Essential. Please refer to the following website for guidance https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce (Under Critical Manufacturing). This guidance specifies several types of manufacturing that are considered necessary for the Essential Critical Infrastructure.

Cell phone related services as described are considered essential.

Trucking or transportation services as described are considered Essential.

Essential Businesses may move from one facility to another if the move is necessary to continue its operations or for safety, habitability or sanitation reasons. Non-Essential Businesses can move if it is necessary to continue minimum business operations or for safety, habitability or sanitation reasons.

These services may be provided only when a healthcare provider has determined that they are medically necessary and cannot reasonably be delayed without endangering a patient’s health or safety. Providers should conduct phone screening for COVID-19 symptoms in advance.

Locksmith related services as described are considered Essential.

A Non-Essential Business is permitted to perform minimum basic operations to maintain the value of the businesses inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or facilitate employees working from home.

An Essential Business may continue to operate financial operations. Please refer to the following website for more information:  https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce (Under Financial Services)

Federal and state guidance outlines many types of allowable construction projects that are necessary for the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure:

Yes, if the construction is immediately necessary to maintain the operation of Essential Infrastructure.

Yes. All construction sites must comply with the COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guidelines, which are available here:

Housing construction-related activities may continue to ensure additional units can be made available to combat the nation’s existing housing supply shortage.

You must defer your remodel or renovation project unless it is necessary to restore your home to a safe, sanitary, and habitable space and cannot reasonably be delayed.

Residential remodeling projects that are partially completed can continue if delaying completion would pose a safety, security, or sanitation risk to residents or impact the habitability of the residence; otherwise, they must be deferred.

You can perform work on the site only to ensure it is safe and secure. This includes sending employees to the construction site to secure the site and ensure it does not sustain damage. You can continue construction on the project only if strictly necessary to prevent damage to the project, e.g. completing a roof or ensuring that there is proper drainage after grading has been completed.

Public works construction is permissible if the lead governmental agency for the project determines that it is Essential.  It is up to the lead governmental agency (i.e., the city, county, state, federal government, special district, etc.) to decide the process for making that designation.  The governmental agencies involved in the project should decide amongst themselves which agency is serving as the lead governmental agency.

ASSISTANCE FOR SENIOR POPULATION

  • The County Senior Information and Assistance (SIA) program provides information, referrals, and assistance to help senior citizens solve problems they may have. Available daily from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Senior Information & Assistance Program
(800) 510-2020

Barstow SIA
(760) 256-3564

Morongo Basin/Yucca Valley SIA
(760) 228-5219

Needles SIA
 (760) 326-9224

Rancho Cucamonga SIA
(909) 948-6235

San Bernardino SIA
(909) 891-3810

Victorville SIA
(760) 243-8459

  • The County Age Wise Program is a non-traditional mental health program for the high-risk and underserved older adult population. This program provides in-home behavioral health and case management services to mentally ill older adults, aged 60 and over. Call (800) 451-5633, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Call Adult Protective Services (APS) hotline to report elder and dependent abuse is available at (877) 510-2020, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Housing / Eviction

Contact Inland Fair Housing Mediation Board (IFHMB) for assistance or call (909) 984-2254 and leave a message. To report housing discrimination, call (909) 984-2254, extension 175.

MENTAL HEALTH AND CRISIS SERVICES

If you need to begin behavioral health services, please call the County Department of Behavioral Health access line at (888) 743-1478.

Individuals with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information and resources can be found on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.

The Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24 hours a day and is answered by trained crisis counselors who can support you or someone you care about who may be feeling distress related to COVID-19. Call (800) 985-5990 or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746.

Local crisis services are available by the County Department of Behavioral Health at wp.sbcounty.gov/dbh/crisis-services. You may also call the Community Response Team that is in your area, open every day from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.:

West Valley (Covering Fontana to Chino Hills)
(909) 458-1517

East Valley (Covering Yucaipa, Redlands, Loma Linda, Colton, San Bernardino, Bloomington, East Fontana)
(909) 421-9233

High Desert (Covering Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Phelan, Adelanto, Lucerne Valley, Barstow)
(760) 956-2345

Morongo Basin
(760) 499-4429

COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION AREAS

Starting on Saturday, April 25, the County of San Bernardino is opening County-operated parks and lakes and allowing the opening of city-owned and private parks, lakes, trails, and golf courses on a limited scale for passive recreation. We recognize that a great part of our overall health depends on our ability to enjoy the outdoors, and our county has some of the greatest recreational opportunities in all of Southern California.

All County owned parks, trails, and lakes will be open for passive recreation on a limited scale.

The County is also allowing the opening of city and privately owned parks, trails, lakes and golf courses. Please check with individual facilities regarding their plans to open.

Passive recreation means that our San Bernardino County residents can enjoy individual activities like wildlife observation, walking or hiking, biking, boating, and participating in non-contact sports like golf or tennis with members of their households.

Although San Bernardino County’s recreation areas are usually open to everyone, every American is being asked to respect the guidelines of individual states and municipalities. To meet the Stay at Home guidelines for the State of California, we are asking that residents stay within the boundaries of their residing counties to flatten the curve and prevent the spread of COVID-19. In other words, at this time we are strongly discouraging out-of-county residents from visiting our outdoor recreation areas.

All facilities will adhere to the mandate of practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings.

All facilities open to the public must add signage advising visitors that social distancing and face coverings are required.

If you are planning to visit our outdoor spaces, understand that restrooms and many businesses in and near these sites will remain closed.

Facility operators assume responsibility and liability for operating under the County health order.

The following outdoor recreational facilities are mandated to remain closed:

  • Outdoor amphitheaters
  • Public swimming beaches, pools, and spas
  • Group camping with members outside your household is not allowed
  • Amusement parks or carnivals
  • Outdoor conference centers

Parks

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Rock climbing
  • Skateboarding (where allowed)
  • Tennis, pickleball and racquetball (where allowed, and only by those who share a household)
  • Wildlife observation
  • Dog parks
  • Parking in parking lots for passive recreation activity

Public gatherings outside your immediate household are not allowed.

  • Playgrounds
  • Picnic/BBQ areas
  • Camping areas
  • Basketball courts and baseball/softball/soccer fields for team activities

The following remain closed due to state mandates related to public gatherings.

Lakes

  • Boating (motor boats, canoeing, kayaking where allowed, and only by those who share a household)
  • Parasailing
  • Water skiing
  • Fishing (by boat and by shore)
  • Parking in parking lots for passive recreation activity

In line with public gathering mandates, immediate household members are allowed in one boat.

Boat-rentals as well as other outdoor rentals including kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are allowed, so long as the rentals are to immediate household members only and physical distancing from other household members are practiced.

Trails

  • Off-road and dirt trails for hiking, biking and 4x4ing (where allowed)
  • Equestrian activities
  • Hang gliding
  • Rock climbing

Golf Courses

  • Golf tournaments and other fund-raising events
  • Players must bring their own clubs
  • Players are not allowed to touch flagsticks.
  • Practice putting greens and the practice chipping greens will not have holes cut out. They will just have stakes in the ground where players can aim.
  • Players who choose to rent a cart will be limited to one person per cart or they can ride with members of their households. Cart keys and carts will be disinfected after each round
  • Driving range stations will be a minimum of six feet apart. Range balls must be disinfected before being made available to customers.

Operators of recreational areas, including golf courses, shall monitor activity and advise those who are not complying with safe practices to do so. If compliance cannot be achieved, facilities will be closed. If widespread noncompliance occurs, the passive recreation allowance will be rescinded countywide.

DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERING

Individuals or organizations that would like to make a donation to the County can visit www.relieflink.org. Select “San Bernardino COVID-19” and fill out the required information. To make a donation by phone, please call the Donations Hotline at (909) 386-8844 from Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Visit the County’s Neighbor2Neighbor Response Team website for information on how you can work in tandem with a variety of essential workers who are providing support and outreach in our community.

You can also visit the California Volunteers website to learn about volunteer opportunities such as delivering meals, donating to or volunteering at a shelter or food bank, donating blood, and much more.