Just a few weeks ago, San Bernardino County officials were saying that the county was making progress in the fight against the coronavirus.
But now, unfortunately, the good news is over.
There has been an "alarming" rate of new positive coronavirus tests in the county -- similar to the increases seen in all of Southern California and in many states across the nation, according to San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the county has risen sharply to 12,746 as of July 1, and the cities of San Bernardino, Fontana, and Ontario have been hit particularly hard.
Back on April 10, the number of confirmed coronavirus patients combined with patients that were under investigation reached its highest peak in the county, "slightly over 420," said Dr. Troy Pennington, an emergency room physician at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.
Since then, the number of patients dropped steadily during the rest of April and throughout May -- until it abruptly went back up again in June.
The county "flattened the curve," Pennington said, but "now, we're back to where we started" on April 10.
So what happened? Why the sudden dramatic shift?
Speaking at the county's weekly press conference on Facebook on June 26, Hagman suggested several possible explanations:
• The Memorial Day holiday weekend, in which many residents, tired of sheltering in place, ventured into the outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather;
• The reopening of many businesses in the county that had been closed previously for several weeks;
• The protests that were held in response to the killing of Minnesota resident George Floyd at the hands of a police officer;
• Other large group gatherings;
• The lack of wearing face coverings on the part of some residents.
County health officials have not determined exactly how many cases were specifically caused by each of these factors.
But officials said that wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand washing will certainly help to reverse the negative trend.
"People have become complacent about the rules that have been set by the state and the County of San Bernardino," Hagman said. "We need to be vigilant. Just because you don't have a fever or a cough doesn't mean you may not have the virus."
On June 18, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Californians are now required to wear face coverings in public spaces. The majority of residents are complying with this mandate, but some are not.