Big Bear News – Big Bear Lake, CA – Last night, San Bernardino County reported their test results from the mountain area COVID-19 testing event held in Big Bear on Friday, April 16th. Of the 229 specimens taken from individuals, only one tested positive for the virus. The County still reports 6 confirmed cases in the Big Bear Valley. It is unclear at this time if this newly confirmed case is a resident of Big Bear or another mountain community. To aid community hospitals to build up their capacity to help combat COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources announced that they have awarded $4.2 million dollars to rural California community hospitals. Of those dollars, the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District received $197,000 last Thursday. According to CEO, John Friel, the money was an unexpected surprise. Friel stated that the hospital anticipates more money coming in and they continue to actively apply for grants as they become available. Friel added, in order to ready the hospital for potential COVID-19 patients, Bear Valley Community hospital has spent $100,000 in the last six weeks. Expenditures have included relocation of the Skilled Nursing Facility residents to Camp Oakes, construction of a modular building near the Emergency Department in order to screen patients outside the main building, rental of ventilators and additional personal protective equipment for health care workers. As with many organizations, payroll is their biggest expense and, so far, they don’t qualify for subsidies as municipal publicly operated hospitals are currently excluded. To date, 6 symptomatic patients visited the hospital with 3 transferred to area hospitals for a higher level of care and 3 sent home with instructions to quarantine at home unless their symptoms worsen. So far, the hospital has not admitted anyone testing positive for COVID-19.