Coronavirus crisis: Amid cautious optimism, San Bernardino County officials to announce plan to reopen parks

Physical distancing and masks "have made a big difference and have allowed us to win this battle" against COVID-19, "for now," a health official said.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Health officials in San Bernardino County on Wednesday described their efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus in nursing facilities, while announcing that a plan to reopen parks will soon be released.

Early on in the pandemic, officials had dire predictions for local hospitals. Initial models suggested that medical facilities would run out of bed space last week.

But that time period came and went without any such overcapacity. Data on the online dashboard that tracks COVID-19 cases in the county showed that the number of hospitalizations had flattened and plenty of ventilators were available.

San Bernardino County COVID-19 surveillance dashboard: DESKTOP VIEW, MOBILE VIEW

Physical distancing and masks "have made a big difference and have allowed us to win this battle, for now," Dr. Rodney Borger of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center said at a morning press conference. "We haven't won the war, but the battle is being fought and we are winning."

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He said the county had "flattened the curve significantly and are starting to have maybe a little bit of downward trend."

Meanwhile, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has been closely monitoring nursing homes such as Villa Mesa Care Center in Upland.

One family recently spoke out about what they described as a lack of personal protective equipment at the facility after a person infected with COVID-19 died.

County officials said they have been to that facility several times since.

"We put them up as a priority," said Trudy Raymundo, the county's director of public health. "In terms of supplies, we know they've received gowns, we know they've received N95 masks.

"We are making sure that staff are out there," she said, "so that they know how to use the equipment also effectively."

County officials are expected to soon announce a plan to reopen some public spaces -- including parks, trails, golf courses and recreation areas -- this weekend.

"It's a lot of obvious things that we think are hopefully common sense for people," said Curt Hagman, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors. "We're not opening up the jungle gym for the kids to go bounce on, because that's a lot of touching.

"It's going to be basically where you can walk, where you can run, where you can enjoy the outdoors and be safe-distanced from some other people."
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