County warns businesses against concerts and gatherings, new COVID-19 cases reported

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Health care workers conduct coronavirus testing at Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore managed and operated by Riverside University Health System Public Health Department. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Following a week that saw Gov. Gavin Newsom order schools in 32 counties, including Riverside, to remain closed at the start of the upcoming school year, Riverside County’s lawyer reminded businesses that restrictions that are still in place banning concerts and large entertainment-related gatherings Monday, July 20.

“The county of Riverside has been advised that some restaurants, wineries, parks and other local establishments may be hosting live music or entertainment events,” Gregory P. Priamos, Riverside County counsel, said in an advisory letter. “Please allow this letter to serve as an advisory that offering or holding live entertainment, including live music, is not permitted under the current orders of Gov. Newsom and the California state public health officer.”

The advisory letter goes on to say that an update July 2, to industry guidance for restaurants, bars and wineries said, “All events or gatherings that would bring together persons from different households, such as private parties, must be canceled or postponed until further notice.”

According to the advisory letter, concerts are listed as a Stage 4 activity in the state’s roadmap to reopening.

“The county’s public health officials need your help in both complying with and spreading the word about the state’s orders which prohibit live music events at restaurants, wineries, parks and other local establishments at this time,” according to Priamos’ advisory notice.

County residents who were aware of a business or organization that was hosting or promoting live music events should contact Priamos and Kelly Moran, supervising deputy county counsel.

Riverside University Health System – Public Health officials reported Monday 1,288 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend bringing the total number of cases within the county to 29,983 since the county began recording data.

Day by day, the county reported 672 new cases Saturday, 160 on Sunday and 456 on Monday. Those numbers are in stark contracts to the number of new cases that reported throughout the week before, which saw two days of more than 800 new cases per day.

As of Friday, the age bracket with the largest amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Riverside County includes those between the ages of 25 and 44, comprising 10,998 total infections. Most of the county’s fatalities, or 286, have been people between the ages of 65 and 84.

The number of new deaths reported in the county over the weekend was just one and the total number of people that have died from the virus since the county began sits at 29,983.

Since 24 people were reported to have died from the virus Wednesday, July 15, an all-time one-day record for the county, the number of deaths has remained relatively low.

Also, 28 fewer people were hospitalized with the virus since Friday, for a new total of 507 hospitalizations. But the county reported 131 of those patients were in intensive care units, one more than before the weekend started.

Overall, 10,795 people have recovered from the virus, 379 more than the Friday before, pretty much on par with numbers of recovered patients from the week before. Thus far, the county has tested 323,725 residents for the virus, 16,108 more over the weekend, one of the highest weekend totals reported.

Locally, Temecula added 27 cases (539), Murrieta added 15 (586), Wildomar added six (251), Lake Elsinore added 12 (582), Canyon Lake added five (43), Menifee added 40 (652), Hemet added 29 (754), and San Jacinto added 19 (528).

In local communities, Anza added no new cases (seven), East Hemet added eight (153), French Valley added two (158), Lakeland Village added four (92), Valley Vista added nine (101) and Winchester didn’t add any new cases (six).

Temecula was the only city in the county to add a death from the virus and now has two total. There have been 12 deaths from Murrieta, five from Wildomar, 10 from Lake Elsinore, none from Canyon Lake, nine from Menifee, 30 from Hemet, nine from San Jacinto, none from Anza, two from East Hemet, one from French Valley, two from Lakeland Village and none from Valle Vista or Winchester.

The county reported that there were 271 confirmed cases in county jails and another 1,191 cases recorded in state prisons within the county.

Out of all the patients being treated in Riverside County, only two are from neighboring Imperial County, the site of a coronavirus outbreak that overwhelmed the county’s two hospitals, forcing some patients to be transferred to Riverside County.

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, said Monday the county is in the midst of a surge, and that surge should not be blamed on Imperial County.

“We are experiencing a real local community spread surge that requires real local community awareness and responsibility to stop the surge,” Ruiz, who is also an emergency room doctor, posted on Facebook. “Blaming the surge on Imperial County patients is not based on evidence and the misinformation diminishes the urgency and need to take local public health precautions that will help our local community stop the surge.”

The known active COVID-19 case count Monday was 18,600, up 908 from Friday’s figures. According to the county executive office, the active case count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current cumulative total, 29,983.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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