RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside county’s fourth coronavirus testing site will open in Perris today after health officials reported 132 new coronavirus cases and nine more fatalities, bringing the number of deaths to 50.
The new cases reported Monday raised the county’s total to 1,751. The number of people who have recovered from the virus jumped by 103, reaching 297, marking the largest single-day bump since officials began releasing the figures.
The county’s COVID-19 growth rate has been keeping pace with predictions, but local health officials said the rate of increase might soften in coming weeks, reflecting a pattern seen in some other parts of the country.
“Many of you in the small-business community are losing tremendous amounts of money while we’re keeping the community safe,” Riverside University Health System Dr. Michael Mesisca said during a Friday media briefing at the County Administrative Center in Riverside.
“We hope to see some progress, but our modeling is still playing out,” he said. “We hear of other places where the positive (infection) rates are coming down, such as New York. We hope to see that here.”
Mesisca said the so-called “doubling rate,” in which COVID-19 cases increase 100% every five days, is proving accurate countywide, and he maintained the county’s position that a “surge” may yet max out the available hospital bed capacity — roughly 1,500 beds — before the end of the month. However, the doctor stressed that “a million small decisions” by residents would save lives and help arrest the spread of the virus.
The city of Palm Springs, meanwhile, ordered businesses that remain open during the coronavirus pandemic to require employees and customers to wear a face covering to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The executive order by City Manager David Ready Monday was aimed at reinforcing a similar order issued by Riverside County’s public health officer last week, requiring anyone leaving home to mask their faces. Face coverings can be bandannas, scarves, neck gaiters or other clothing that does not have visible holes.
Businesses in Palm Springs must also post signs alerting residents of the requirement, and can be fined if they fail to enforce it.
The 1,751 COVID-19 cases countywide compares to 946 one week ago — a nearly 100% jump. The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 doubled from 25 a week ago to 50 on Monday.
Recovered patients, now at 297, are defined as patients who have completed their period of isolation and are no longer symptomatic, according to county spokeswoman Brooke Federico.
Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told reporters Friday that about 18,000 county residents have been tested for COVID-19, though that figure does not incorporate private testing at doctors’ offices and other locations.
Starting Tuesday, the fourth county-run testing site will open at the Perris Fairgrounds. The location will be staffed Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The other sites are at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, The Diamond in Lake Elsinore and Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside. Appointments to visit any of the sites must be made in advance at 800-945-6171.
Workers are needed at the second federal field hospital to open in the county, this one inside the shuttered Sears store at Arlington and Streeter avenues in Riverside.
National Guard personnel are working with a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services team to prepare the 125-bed facility for opening in the next several weeks. It will be reserved for sub-acute patients only, according to Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton.