Temecula lights up city hall in solidarity during COVID-19 pandemic

This infographic provided by the Riverside County Public Health Department shows the COVID-19 projections for Riverside County. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Temecula Mayor James “Stew” Stewart wanted to do something to show unity while the city, along with the rest of the nation endures stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stewart has requested that city hall be lit up in red, white and blue for the duration of the crisis.

“As we are all going through these very challenging times, we shall light up city hall as a beacon of hope while the chimes play ‘God Bless America’ nightly,” Stewart said in a press release. “Our health is in each other’s hands, so it is imperative that we all stay safe at home to remain healthy and hopeful as we get through these difficult times together.”

The city continued to attempt to keep the community updated on the latest developments surrounding the COVID-19 through social media and a dedicated website at https://www.temeculaca.gov/coronavirus.

According to the Riverside County Public Health Department, as of Monday, April 13, the county has 1,751 confirmed cases of COVID-19, representing a 13% increase in cases over a day earlier.

To date, 41 residents have succumbed to the virus, while 194 people have recovered from the virus.

“We hope to see some progress, but our modeling is still playing out,” Dr. Michael Mesisca of Riverside University Health System said Friday during a media briefing livestreamed from the County Administrative Center in Riverside. “We hear of other places where the positive (infection) rates are coming down, such as New York. We hope to see that here.”

Drilling down those numbers at a more local level, the county reported that Temecula had 66 cases, but nobody has died as a result of the virus as of press time. Menifee has 66 cases and one death, Lake Elsinore has 59 cases and one death, Murrieta has 58 cases and one death, Hemet has 59 cases and one death, Wildomar has 26 cases and two deaths, San Jacinto has 14 cases and no deaths and Canyon Lake has five cases with no deaths reported.

The county reported number totals for unincorporated areas including French Valley with 20 cases and no deaths, Anza with five cases and no deaths, Lakeland Village with eight cases and no deaths, Winchester with one case and no deaths, Valle Vista with two cases and no deaths, East Hemet with three cases and no deaths and Homeland has one case, while Romoland has none.

The county also announced over the weekend that a fourth testing facility would open Tuesday, April 14, at the Perris Fairgrounds, located at 18700 Lake Perris Drive.

Riverside County residents who want to be tested can call (800) 945-6171 for an appointment. Drive-ups without appointments cannot be accommodated.

“As this pandemic progresses, knowledge is power. The more testing and data we have, the quicker we can get control of this virus and get back to business,” Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, 5th District supervisor, said in a press release. “This gives us a crucial mid county location, and I am very happy to see it open up.”

The county also put out a call for volunteers, specifically those with medical expertise, interested in helping with support response efforts. According to the press release issued Saturday, April 11, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and other group medical care sites are particularly in need for workers willing to care for COVID-19 patients.

“This is the call to action. We need medical volunteers willing to take care of patients who are COVID positive,” Mesisca said. “We will provide full protective equipment to keep you safe. But we need people to step up today. Go to our website and sign up to volunteer.”

For more information about becoming a volunteer and to submit their information, visit the Riverside County Public Health website at http://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus and click on the “Volunteer” button or call (951) 955-9227.

Riverside County also launched a mobile app to report nonessential businesses still doing business against county and state public health orders.

“We must mitigate and suppress the spread of the coronavirus,” Chair V. Manuel Perez, 4th District supervisor, said in a press release. “This app will help identify hotspots that will lead to efficiently responding to businesses that are risking the health of the community.”

RivCoMobile also provides services and information to residents and now has a “Coronavirus” feature on the landing page which can be used to make anonymous reports about possible violations of orders issued by the state of California or the county of Riverside public health officer.

For continual updates from the Riverside County Public Health Department, visit https://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.