October 27, 2020-Corwin Porter, Director, San Bernardino County Public Health- Meeting via Zoom

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Member/Alternates Only Meeting

Virtual meeting via ZOOM

Present:   Ruthy Argumedo, Patti Arlt, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Rachelle Bussell, Christie Cardenas, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Sandra Cuellar, Jennifer Cusack, Michelle Decker, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, David Koenig, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, P.T. McEwen, Darcy McNaboe, Jarrod McNaughton, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Viki Ostermann, Catherine Pritchett, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Paul Shimoff, Phil Southard, Sol Teh, Pete Van Helden and Ray Wolfe.

Guests:  Carol Kim, Sheriff John McMahon, Robert Nava, Martha Santana-Chin, Mark Taylor, and Tod Warden.

Announcements: 1) Members have now received two curated lists of available State board/commission appointments.  Staff has heard from a few individuals that have shown interest in pursuing the process.  All are encouraged to review the lists and share with others to assist the Inland Empire to obtain a stronger voice in the State. 2)  Staff will be scheduling Zoom meetings with our newer members to help orientate and to get better acquainted.  3)  Judge Holcomb is now seated on the District Court in Riverside.

Louis Goodwin, Chair, presiding.

Motion by L. King /Second by D. Roberts/Passed:  Minutes from October 20, 2020.

Jarrod McNaughton introduced Corwin Porter, Director, San Bernardino County Public Health.  Corwin Porter was named Director of the Department in July 2020, having served as the assistant director for nearly five years.   He discussed the challenges of fighting COVID-19 in our County, how we can reduce the Corona virus restrictions and advance an economic recovery.

Positive COVID-19 cases have been increasing weekly since early September.  San Bernardino County is currently rated in the purple zone where the virus is considered widespread.  According to the State’s blueprint, both testing rates and reporting of positive cases, are a part of the formula to calculate the danger in each county.  The risk tiers are as follows: purple for widespread, red for substantial, orange for moderate and yellow for minimal.

Overall positive testing is calculated by the number of COVID positive tests over the number of people tested.  San Bernardino County is doing well by steadily staying at 6.5%.  However, the Health Equity Metric, which rates positivity results in our most disadvantaged places in the County, is in the upper 8% range.  We must be at or below 8% per 100,000 people to be able move to the next less restrictive red tier.

Positive case rates
The daily case rate for those that test positive is required to be at or below 7 cases per 100,000 people to be in the red tier.  Reporting delays throughout California have created a seven-day lag so the state has added an adjusted case rate.  The adjusted case rate is dependent on volume of testing above or below state testing median, which is 239.21/100,000.  Our case rate has been climbing for the past 5 weeks indicating that the virus is spreading rapidly here.   San Bernardino County’s adjusted rate is at 11.8 (our raw case rate is 12.2).

More testing equates to fewer positive COVID-19 tests in our County which will help us move into a zone allowing us to begin opening more businesses.  The County goal is to get to 500 tests/100,000 population or approximately 11,000 tests/day. We are currently at some 6,000 tests/day.  All county residents are encouraged to get tested for COVID even if no symptoms are present.  The County mobile and stationary testing sites are equipped to take walk-ins and appointments.  Residents will be asked for insurance information, but no one will be turned away as funding from the CARES Act has allowed for backfilling.  Test result certainty is critical, so the County uses PCR tests which are 99% accurate unlike the antigen tests which have a reputation for false positives.  Additionally, they are receiving 80% or more test results within 24 hours.

Although the mortality rate for the virus is low overall, it begins to increase at age 50 but is extremely high for our older population with 80-90% of deaths occurring in ages 60 plus.  Since the massive surge in July, the County has maintained adequate capacity at our hospitals and medical facilities.

The biggest outbreaks are now in community gatherings.  Family and friends are getting together and not using precautions so are spreading the virus.   The County has teams that address and advise potential “super spreader” public events and gatherings like seasonal pumpkin patches.  They are also  taking contact tracing very seriously and have had success with some 80% participation, but are struggling to get the remining 20% to share who and where they have been to help stop the spread.

It has been unfortunate that contrary messaging from others has created difficulties and confusion.  The County however has a unified marketing message and will increase use of social media, especially to get the attention of the 18-34-year old sector that is considered to be “super spreader”.

To get out of purple and move us into the red tier will take the effort of every city, business, FBO, CBO, school and resident doing their part and taking responsibility.  The following should be practiced:

  • Follow current state guidelines – physical distancing, face coverings, hand washing and sanitizer use
  • Help the County promote testing
  • Follow County guidelines and practice individual responsibility
  • Limit exposures – such as gatherings

Updated information, locations of testing sites and current data about COVID-19 in the County can be found at https://sbcovid19.com/

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 9:04 a.m.