Lake Elsinore declares local emergency, drive-up testing facility opens

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Medical staff conduct COVID-19 tests for patients who may be showing signs of symptoms at a drive-up screening operation at 2499 E. Lakeshore Drive in Lake Elsinore, March 19. Those who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19 can call 800-945-6171 to schedule an appointment at one of the drive-up screening locations in Riverside County. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

LAKE ELSINORE — Facing rapidly changing demands related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, on Tuesday the city of Lake Elsinore signed a proclamation of local emergency to ensure it is best prepared and equipped to respond and protect the community.

The proclamation was signed by City Manager Grant Yates, serving in the capacity of Disaster Director, and is effective immediately. It will be presented to the city council for official ratification at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

“The city has been fully engaged and proactively preparing for COVID-19 for the last three months,” Mayor Brian Tisdale said. “I can assure our residents that we are prepared, we have a plan, and, following the lead of Riverside County, we will do everything we need to do to ensure the health and safety of our residents.”

In any public health emergency, the Riverside University Health System Public Health Department is the lead agency with the city serving in a supportive role. As such, the city has been responding by implementing existing emergency management protocols and procedures to best address emerging concerns and demands related to COVID-19, which includes regular, ongoing conversations and calls with public health and related departments. The city remains fully engaged and is making decisions guided by local, state, and federal orders related to COVID-19.

“Just as we demonstrated during the Holy Fire, the Holy Floods and the Super Bloom, now is the time to take this situation seriously and to unite and support one another to overcome this latest crisis,” Tisdale said. “This is going to take extreme measures, and it is our turn to step in and offer our support to ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach to best serve and protect all of Riverside County.”

The city has been approached by Riverside County for assistance.

The Riverside University Health System Public Health Department intends to open a drive-up COVID-19 testing facility at Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium. The facility will be managed and operated by the Public Health Department. Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium, widely recognized as a regional community asset due to its location and size, has served to support first responders and community support agencies in the past during emergencies. At the facility, significant steps will be taken to protect the community during operations including requiring participants to remain in their vehicles at all times. To get tested you must have symptoms and must call 800-945-6171 to schedule an appointment.

More information can be found at www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus.

During this time, the city urges residents to remain vigilant and to learn more about ways to protect themselves and their families, including staying home whenever possible and practicing social distancing at all times. While city hall currently remains open, the city is encouraging the community to not come into city hall unless necessary. Several options for key city services are now available online or via phone or email.

“As we always say in Lake Elsinore, public safety comes first,” said Tisdale. “We are in the midst of a severe public health emergency, and I urge our community to continue to heed our warnings and take the appropriate precautions for the greater good of the entire nation and world.”

The public health department has created a wide variety of informational toolkits to assist the community in steps they can take at this time, including seniors, schools, businesses, public, faith-based organizations, and more. These toolkits are available at https://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus. Also, Riverside County has created a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions related to COVID-19.

Read more about the city’s efforts to address COVID-19 at www.lake-elsinore.org/coronavirus.

Submitted by the city of Lake Elsinore