Frequently Asked Questions

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Latest News Regarding COVID-19

San Bernardino County, along with the rest of the state, fully reopened its economy on June 15 — eliminating various restrictions and discontinuing the color-coded county tier system.

Restaurants, bars, retail stores, theaters, hotels and entertainment centers may return to usual operations — meaning no capacity limitations and no requirements for social distancing.

Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Some minor restrictions will remain in place. For example, while fully vaccinated individuals don’t need to wear face coverings in most indoor and outdoor settings, they are still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, airports and transportation stations. (Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals will be required to wear facial coverings outside of their home.)

Also, what the state deems “mega events” — outdoor live events attended by more than 10,000 people and indoor events with 5,000 or more attendees — still face some restrictions. Guests attending indoor events must either show results of a negative COVID-19 test or verify they’ve been vaccinated. The same guidelines are recommended (though not mandated) for outdoor events. Businesses and venue operators may require proof or self-attestation at point of registration, during ticket purchase or on the day of the event prior to entry into the venue. The requirements will remain in place until October 1.

The County’s primary objective now is to continue expanding vaccinations of residents, and it has made obtaining a vaccine simple, easy and cost free. For more information, please visit our Vaccine Information page. We also encourage you to view our County Updates for the latest information. You can sign up to get updates via email.

To view CDPH’s “Safely Reopening California” guidance visit: https://covid19.ca.gov/safely-reopening

Vaccinations are in good supply and readily available to any resident aged 12 and over, and there are vaccination sites located throughout the County. Additional information, including lists of vaccination sites and appointment opportunities, can be found here. (Most sites also permit walk ups without appointments.)The County is currently offering three different COVID-19 vaccines — those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. As of now, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for children ages 12-15 (though the Moderna vaccine is currently in trials with young people). Vaccinations for minors require consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Information on additional doses/booster doses can be found here.

Links to schedule appointments can be found here.

The County’s COVID-19 dashboard with updated statistics on vaccinations can be found here.

Beginning June 15, all sectors listed in the current Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart may return to usual operations (with the limited exceptions noted below for Mega Events) based on the following general public health recommendations:

Restrictions Applying to Indoor & Outdoor Settings
Vaccine Verification / Negative TestingRequired for Indoor mega events
Recommended for Outdoor mega events
Capacity LimitationsNo restrictions
Physical DistancingNo restrictions for attendees, customers and guests
MaskingFollow current CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings
TravelersFollow CDC Recommendations and CDPH Travel Advisory

When Outdoors:        

For fully vaccinated individuals, face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.

For unvaccinated individuals, face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.

When Indoors

Fully vaccinated individuals won’t need to wear face coverings in most indoor settings.

Face coverings are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

  • On public transit (airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation)
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings
  • Healthcare settings, including long term care facilities
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers

The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:

• Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.
• Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
• Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
• Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

The County has established several stationary or “walk-up” testing sites, which are open Monday through Friday (some sites feature weekend appointments). Appointments are accepted, but walk-ins are welcome.  Getting tested is free of charge and does not require health insurance or a doctor’s prescription. For more information on testing sites, please see our Testing Sites page.

Coronavirus and COVID-19: The Basics

Coronaviruses are a group of related RNA viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections that range from mild to lethal. We currently are dealing with the “novel coronavirus,” which is officially labeled SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, largely between people who are in close contact with one another (i.e., within about 6 feet).  Respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or sings; these droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of nearby people or even be inhaled into the lungs. The droplets may also land on hard surfaces (such as countertops and door handles) and then be transmitted to humans when such surfaces are touched.

Studies suggest that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are asymptomatic — that is, someone who show no symptoms of the disease. That’s why wearing masks is so important: a mask can help prevent the spread of the virus from people who have no idea they’re infected.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, aches, a cough or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider before seeking care.  Do not simply show up at your doctor’s office, which might put others at risk. Your doctor or other healthcare provider can advise you regarding next steps, which might include arranging a COVID-19 test.

You should also take the following precautionary measures: avoid contact with sick individuals and 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 include:

  • Older adults (approximately 80% of COVID-19 related deaths are to people age 65 and older)
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems
  • Individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions, including:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Kidney disease
    • Liver Disease
    • Obesity

It is especially important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease if your age or health condition put you at higher risk for serious illness.

On October 22, the first treatment for COVID-19, Veklury (remdesivir) was approved by the FDA.

REGEN-COV: The monoclonal antibody therapeutics (mAb) continue to be available for ordering and can be used to treat eligible non-hospitalized patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have mild to moderate symptoms. These treatments mimic your immune system’s response to SARS-CoV-2 (the infection that causes COVID-19) and are available to eligible patients 12 years and older with a high risk of progressing to severe forms of COVID-19 or being hospitalized. HHS/ASPR has an ample supply of all COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapeutic products and we are encouraging state and territorial health departments; as well as, healthcare providers to continue ordering and using these products. Read more from the FDA.

To learn more about COVID-19 treatment options, read the FDA’s Know Your Treatment Options for COVID-19.

  • Maintain Social Distancing. Social distancing is a practice recommended by public health officials to stop or slow the spread of contagious diseases. It requires the creation of physical space between individuals, including an effort to minimize group gatherings as much as possible, and tactics to create space between individuals when events or activities cannot be modified, postponed, or canceled. Most experts believe that maintaining approximately six feet of space between individuals will help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
  • 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 or when it is impossible or impractical to maintain 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.

All public testing sites are open to any resident, regardless of whether or not they are experiencing current symptoms.

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 your options for testing or care based on self-reported symptoms and other criteria.

You also should check to see if you’re eligible for either Medi-Cal or Covered California.

The County has established several stationary or “walk-up” testing sites, which are open Monday through Friday (some sites feature weekend appointments). Appointments are accepted, but walk-ins are welcome. Getting tested is free of charge and does not require health insurance or a doctor’s prescription. For more information on testing sites, please see our Testing Sites page.

Employers cannot ask for a negative COVID-19 test result due to HIPAA regulations.

The County does not provide documentation containing lab results for drive-through or walk-up/stationary testing. Residents must create a patient portal on LabCorp to access their results and can print them directly from the portal. If you need documentation in order to return to work, provide your primary care doctor with your test result and ask him or her to write you a return to work release.

COVID-19 Variants

This strain was initially discovered in India and labeled as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yes. All positive COVID-19 tests go through a testing process called whole genome sequencing. A genome sequence of a virus can reveal mutations that make it unique and identify strains such as the Delta variant.

The Delta variant makes up 38 percent of overall types of COVID-19 variants in the County.

The Delta variant has been found to be 50% more transmissible than previous versions of the virus and possibly capable of causing more severe illness.

All available types of vaccines are effective at providing protection against the Delta variant. To find a vaccination site near you, visit https://sbcovid19.com/vaccine.

Safety of the Vaccines and Administering of Shots

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for evaluating the efficacy and safety of drugs, including vaccines. Vaccines undergo a rigorous review of laboratory, clinical and manufacturing data to ensure the safety, effectiveness, and quality.

On December 11, 2020, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. On December 18, 2020, the FDA issued an EUA for the use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. And on February 27, 2021 the FDA issued an EUA for the use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (also referred to as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). The issuance of an EUA is different than an FDA approval (licensure) of a vaccine.

On August 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, now Comirnaty

The first two approved vaccines — those produced by Pfizer and Moderna — are what are called “Messenger RNA vaccines” or simply “mRNA vaccines.”

mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine that teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. For more information on how the mRNA vaccines work, please check the CDC website.

The recently approved vaccine from Janssen Pharmaceuticals (aka the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) takes a different approach. Rather than using mRNA, it’s what’s called an adenovirus vector vaccine. It employs a harmless cold virus to deliver a gene that carries the blueprint for the spiky protein found on the surface of the coronavirus. The virus enters cells, which then follow the genetic instructions to construct a replica of the coronavirus spike. The immune system uses these replicas to recognize — and respond to — the real thing. You can review this fact sheet for more detailed information on the Janssen Pharmaceutical vaccine.

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine require two doses to provide maximum benefit. The second doses should be administered 21 days following the first Pfizer shot and 28 days after the first Moderna shot. The new Janssen Pharmaceutical (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine only requires a single shot.

In addition, CDC now recommends that people aged 65 years and older, residents in long-term care settings, and people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine at least 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series. Other groups may receive a booster shot based on their individual risk and benefit. Read CDC’s media statement here.

Currently, the vaccines are being administered by the County Department of Public Health, as well as a variety of community health partners such as State OptumServe sites, hospitals, pharmacies and physician practices. For more information, please check our County vaccination appointments page.

There are a variety of vaccination sites, including mobile sites, being operated by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. Some sites are exclusively for residents receiving their second dose of a vaccine. In addition, numerous other providers (e.g., hospitals, pharmacies and physician practices) offer vaccinations.

To learn more, and to schedule an appointment (if eligible), please visit the County COVID-19 vaccination appointments page.

Walk-ins are available at County-operated vaccination sites. Walk-in individuals will not need to bring any additional information to the site, however be prepared to register on site, which will include answering health screening questions. Walk-ins may experience longer wait times and availability may vary based on site demand.

Please visit the County COVID-19 vaccination appointments page which lists vaccine clinic sites as well as the vaccine brands offered at each site.

There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19. As more data is collected, this information will be updated to reflect the latest scientific findings.

You can find more information on COVID-19 vaccines at the link below:
Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued its first set of recommendations that now allow people who are fully vaccinated to gather with each other without masks. This new guidance—which is based on the latest science — includes recommendations for how and when a fully vaccinated individual can visit with other people who are fully vaccinated and with other people who are not vaccinated. CDC will update these recommendations as more people are vaccinated and additional scientific evidence becomes available.

Experts remain unsure how well the approved vaccines reduce transmission of the virus, or how long the protection lasts. CDC is continuing to recommend that fully vaccinated people continue to wear well-fitted masks, avoid large gatherings, and physically distance themselves from others when out in public. The CDC also advised vaccinated people to get tested if they develop symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.

Some people experience side effects from vaccines, and the COVID-19 vaccines are no different. Most people experience relatively minor pain or swelling at the injection site; in rare cases some also experience fever, chills, fatigue or a headache for one or two days. It is not uncommon for side effects to be somewhat more common following a second dose. For more information on what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the CDC page on the subject.

Health authorities need this information to help you stay safe and healthy. The CDC is implementing a new smartphone-based tool called V-SAFE to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you should also receive a V-SAFE information sheet telling you how to enroll in V-SAFE. If you enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. View the V-SAFE info sheet here.

Businesses

Beginning June 15, all sectors listed in the current Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart may return to usual operations (with the limited exceptions noted below for Mega Events) based on the following general public health recommendations:

Restrictions Applying to Indoor & Outdoor Settings
Vaccine Verification / Negative TestingRequired for Indoor mega events
Recommended for Outdoor mega events
Capacity LimitationsNo restrictions
Physical DistancingNo restrictions for attendees, customers and guests
MaskingFollow current CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings
TravelersFollow CDC Recommendations and CDPH Travel Advisory

Businesses and venue operators may choose to:

• Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.
• Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask.
• Require all patrons to wear masks.

Guidelines for cleaning after COVID-19 exposure can be found on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html.

You can submit a report on the School and Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT) page.

Schools

School districts in the County are making their own determination on how they will provide instruction during the pandemic.

Our local colleges and universities are also considering options for the 2021/2022 school year, and interested residents should check the website of their individual campus for direction.

Visit CA Safe Schools for All or SBCOVID19.com/schools for resources and additional information related to COVID-19 and schools.

You can submit a report on the School and Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT) page.

Outbreak Reporting

You can submit a report on the School and Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT) page.

Vaccine Record Cards

Visit the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record Portal at https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.

You can visit cdph.ca.gov/covidvaccinerecord or call 833-422-4255.

Resources and Assistance

There are a variety of resources specifically designed to help seniors during this crisis. Seniors can call the Adult Protective Services hotline at (877) 565-2020 and have a specialist help determine the best assistance options. There are specific age requirements for services: individuals must be 65 and older, or 18-65 dependent adults and at risk for severe neglect or abuse. Callers to 211 are directed to this program.

Great Plates Delivered

The San Bernardino County’s “Great Plates Delivered” program, under the leadership of the Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), is part of a larger collaborative effort teaming the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the state of California, local governments and local restaurants. The program calls for local food providers to prepare and deliver three nutritious meals a day to eligible residents — adults age 65 and older who meet the following criteria:

  • Seniors who have been exposed to the coronavirus, or are at high risk due to pre-existing health conditions;
  • Living alone or with one other program-eligible adult;
  • Not currently receiving assistance from other federal nutrition assistance programs; and
  • Living below 600% of the federal poverty limit.

DAAS, which is working with the Office of Emergency Services, 2-1-1 San Bernardino County, the Joint Information Center and other departments, have been in contact with local restaurants to assess their interest and ability to participate.

DAAS is now also recruiting volunteers to help deliver the meals. Restaurants and drivers interested in helping should contact Mary Bernal at mary.bernal@hss.sbccounty.gov. The group has also established an information hotline at (888) 743-1485 for County residents only.

Other Programs for Seniors

The County Senior Information and Assistance (SIA) program provides information, referrals, and assistance to help senior citizens solve problems they may have. Help is 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 Community Development and Housing Department has created a website that addresses a variety of housing concerns, including potential conflicts between landlords and tenants.

Any questions and inquires can be directed to:
• Landlord-tenant Landlord tenant: landlordtenant@sb-court.org
• Small claims & Landlord – Tenant: (909) 708-8606
Fair Housing FAQ

San Bernardino County has established the San Bernardino County Rent Relief Partnership, an emergency rental assistance program that will leverage more than $46.8 million in U.S. Treasury funds to provide rental assistance to county residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit https://www.sbcrentrelief.com/ to for eligibility information.

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.

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. You may also call the Community Response Team that is in your area, open every day from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Call (909) 421-9233 or text (909) 420-0560. Available in English and in Spanish.