There are several indicators that can put a county on the state’s coronavirus watchlist. And as of Tuesday, both Riverside and San Bernardino County case rates and the testing positivity rates are still too high to be removed.
Riverside County Health Department spokesman Jose Arballo says the area has a mixed bag of numbers. It has 196 cases per 100,000 people, and a test positivity rate of 11 percent. But there are plenty of ICU beds and ventilators available.
“Our hospitalizations and ICU cases have dropped significantly over the last two or three weeks. Which is a very good thing," said Arballo. "Unfortunately, on the flip side we passed 900 deaths over the weekend and sadly I think we are approaching 1000. We hope we don’t get to it but it looks like we might in the next week or so.”
Arballo says they believe some of the recent deaths are related to the July 4 holiday. And he warns the county is bracing itself for a case spike after Labor Day weekend.
Lana Culp, spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Health Department agrees.
“We really do want to encourage people to not gather because we have seen that is how this virus is spreading quickly through gathering,” said Culp.
San Bernardino County last reported a case rate of 220 per 100,000 people and a testing positivity rate of 12 percent. Culp warns that a technical glitch at the state level led to an underreporting of cases so the current numbers may not be accurate. She says the issue has been resolved but counties may see an increase in cases over the next week due to the glitch.
“Hopefully from this point forward we will see more accurate data and then we will actually get a better idea of what the cases look like in our county," said Culp. "If what the data is showing right now is true then we are working on a downward trend and that is a good sign.”
Both counties are recommending continued mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing. And now that they’ve resolved testing shortages, they are encouraging all residents to get tested. Results turnaround time is now three to five days.