Members of the Romero family go for a walk along Baseline Avenue in northern Fontana. Residents are encouraged to go walking but need to follow social distancing guidelines.  (Contributed photo by Mike Myers)

Local officials are making it clear that the coronavirus threat is extremely serious.

But they are also emphasizing that COVID-19 can be conquered -- if everyone does their part by engaging in social distancing and maintaining good personal hygiene.

"The coronavirus only lives if 'we' spread it to others. Restricting our contact and mobility disables the virus," said San Bernardino County 5th District Supervisor Josie Gonzales.

She quoted the well-known saying, "There's no place like home," in a recent Facebook post to urge residents to remain inside their residences.

"Past generations have lived through famine, war, poverty, injustice and disease. Their sacrifices and perseverance bought us the knowledge we have today, and paved the way for our success. Now it’s our turn to take the helm and lead," said Gonzales, whose district includes part of Fontana.

"By staying home and disinfecting everything we touch, we can starve the virus of new victims. Together as a community, with faith and perseverance, we will overcome the threat of this virus."

A similar message was provided by the City of Fontana in a news release:

"Residents of Fontana are encouraged to stay home as much as possible while only participating in essential activities, such as critical work functions and shopping for necessities. We know these measures are challenging, but social distancing will help to protect all in our community."

Rep. Norma Torres, whose district includes part of Fontana, said that social distancing is "the most effective tool we have" to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect residents.

"Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to slow the spread of the coronavirus," Torres said.

"When partaking in social distancing, it is safe to participate in outdoor activities like walking or hiking. If you go outdoors, please maintain six feet of distance between you and other people."

On March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order, with exceptions for essential tasks and services.

“Complying with public health orders is essential to our continued health and safety,” said Acting San Bernardino County Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson. “These orders are not intended to spark panic, but rather reduce the spread of infection and minimize the number of people who get sick at any one time to keep our healthcare system functioning.”

The number of cases of coronavirus in San Bernardino County continues to increase, as public health experts had warned.  As of March 31, Fontana had 13 cases, and overall in the county, there were 125 cases and four deaths.

Questions about outdoor activities were addressed on the governor's website.

"Can I still exercise? Take my kids to the park for fresh air? Take a walk around the block? Walk my dog?" the governor said.

"Yes. So long as you are maintaining a safe social distance of six feet from people who aren’t part of your household, it is OK to go outside for exercise, a walk or fresh air. Gyms are closed."

Residents must avoid play structures and playgrounds because they are high-risk areas, health officials said.

But spending time outdoors can lead to a number of overall health and wellness benefits like lessening anxiety, boosting creativity, and getting vitamin D.

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