Riverside County on state coronavirus watchlist amid increased infections

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Riverside County has been placed on the California Department of Public Health’s coronavirus watchlist.

The county has in recent days broken records for single-day increases in coronavirus infections; on Thursday, Riverside County reported 516 new cases — its largest one-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic — and nine new deaths.

That made for a total of 12,467 confirmed cases of coronavirus since March. A total of 408 of those cases resulted in fatalities.

The state Department of Public Health identified Riverside County as experiencing “elevated disease transmission” and named several factors contributing to this, including:

  • Outbreaks at state prisons and skilled nursing facilities
  • Potential transmission at public protests with large numbers of people in close proximity without face coverings
  • Patient transfers from Imperial County
  • Patients seeking care from Northern Baja California and traveling along SR-86 corridor into Coachella Valley and;
  • General increases in local gatherings.

The Department of Public Health’s website says it will work closely with local health departments of counties on the coronavirus watchlist to “identify action steps and timelines for addressing issues that impact indicators of concern.”

State health officials recommended close monitoring of data, increasing testing volume at state and county sites and continuing outreach and support for skilled nursing facilities, as well as implementing quick-response task force assistance for high-risk facilities.

The state also recommended expanding a contact tracing force, increasing public messaging on the importance of personal protection measures and coordination between the state Department of Public Health, local health officials and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to mitigate outbreaks in state prisons.

Nearby counties on the state’s coronavirus watchlist include Imperial, Los Angeles, Kern and Santa Barbara.

Fresno, Kings, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties are also on the list.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.