On March 14, the City of Ontario declared a local state of emergency in preparation for the potential local spread of COVID-19. The City of Ontario was among the first in San Bernardino County to declare a local state of emergency which implemented a comprehensive emergency response plan to minimize the risk of exposure, anticipate potential vulnerabilities and act quickly and responsibly to any new developments.
The very next day on March 15, San Bernardino County reported its first case. On March 25, the City of Ontario filed a public records request with the County of San Bernardino for information on where confirmed coronavirus cases were occurring. The County of San Bernardino had only been releasing countywide data which put Ontario and other cities at a disadvantage when it comes to keeping their own communities informed and safe. The request sought the identification of local jurisdictions in which cases have been reported. Mayor Paul Leon made clear that “knowledge is protection.”
City Manager, Scott Ochoa, indicated transparency with our residents was paramount, stating that unless the County can confirm that COVID-19 is impacting their community directly, people are apt to lessen their adherence to the State’s stay-at-home orders – especially when neighboring counties were releasing such information.
On Monday, March 30, less than a week after Ontario filed a public records request with the County, County officials reported 111 confirmed cases – five of which were in Ontario. That number for Ontario has more than tripled during the first days of April and will continue to grow. A week later, San Bernardino County is now reporting 353 confirmed cases.
Mayor Paul Leon stated, “this is not a cause for panic or alarm, but to step up in an even bigger way. The actions all of us are taking today will determine how quickly we get through this.” He further stated that having local data underscores the need for the City and its residents to redouble the efforts in practicing social distancing and safe health habits to stop the spread of COVID-19.
For day to day actions taken by the City of Ontario, please visit: www.OntarioCA.gov/Coronavirus