Latest COVID-19 Updates in the Inland Empire

Apr 29, 2020

This post will be edited as new information comes to light about coronavirus within the Inland Empire. For additional up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Riverside and SB County, check our daily MIDDAY NEWS REPORT. Listen here  

Update as of April 29th, 2020

Riverside County Offers Growing List of Food Resources for Homebound Seniors   

The services are meant to help vulnerable seniors fight food insecurity during COVID-19 pandemic

From quick meals that can be picked up to food dropped off at homes, Riverside County is offering several free food options to disabled and vulnerable adults as stay-at-home orders continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adults who have a disability or are over age 60 can contact Riverside County Office on Aging, which offers food delivery for critical emergencies, two weeks supply of pantry and essential items, home-delivered meals, and Grab-and-Go meal packages at community center locations.

“We have a number of programs, depending on our callers’ needs and nutritional risk. We will tailor enrollment to any one or more of these important nutrition programs,” said Gary Robbins, Deputy Director for Programs and Operations with Office on Aging. “We’re averaging almost 1,200 calls a day at this point, and our requests for food have tripled. I’d encourage folks who want to find out more to visit the Office on Aging website or send us an email.”

Seniors or disabled adults can call 800-510-2020 or visit rcAging.org to determine their need for any one of the following service options:

  • Grab-and-Go Meals: Up to seven to 14 days of cooked and frozen meals ready for pick up
  • Courtesy Pantry: Two weeks supply of food delivered within five to seven days
  • Home-Delivered Meals: Up to seven to 14 days of delivered food with no contact for vulnerable adults
  • Emergency Meals:  Up to three days of immediate food delivered to fragile adults and seniors

Details on Office on Aging’s program can be found at RCaging.org. Riverside County has also released a map showing where senior meals, school meals and food pantries are available.

To meet the growing need, the state of California is also launching a restaurant meal delivery program specifically for seniors who don’t qualify for other food assistance programs.

“I am very proud of the Riverside County Office on Aging, which has been leading a number of innovative programs and will soon have this new effort up and running to further support Riverside County’s senior population,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “This is a great program because it enhances food security and the senior safety net that provide service and dignity that all senior citizens in our community deserve. This program has many wins for our communities, it will help our seniors, our restaurants and taxi industry. We encourage any senior in need and any restaurant in our community that wishes to partner in this program to contact us.”

 

Office on Aging wants restaurants, especially those who deliver, to fill out a contact form or email rcaging@rivco.org if they want to participate in the program.

Once implemented, seniors will be able to select from preapproved restaurants, who will deliver a maximum of three meals a day to their homes.  More details on the newly announced statewide program can be found here or at rcAging.org.

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The City of Riverside has re-opened some of its parks and is looking for ways to safely open
others. Parks were closed earlier this year to limit the spread of COVID-19 following state and county health orders. However, the county’s Public Health Officer recently issued two amended orders that enable cities to re-open some parks, trails and other facilities within specific guidelines. Since then, city staff has determined which facilities can be re-opened without violating the remaining County orders or the State order. Signs have been posted reminding people to maintain six feet of social distancing and wear a face covering, as required by these orders. Read more...

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Riverside County residents who lost employment because of the coronavirus epidemic may receive up to $800 in job loss benefits thanks to a $252,000 state grant received by the Riverside County Workforce Development Division.

 

“I am glad we have this additional resource from the State of California to assist job-seekers in Riverside County,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “This will support many people through the transition to new employment opportunities.”

 

The funding will help provide supportive services for jobseekers enrolled in the agency’s various workforce assistance programs.  Eligible jobseekers will be eligible for up to $800 in financial support for:

 

  • Housing assistance
  • Utility assistance
  • Telework equipment and internet access
  • Childcare assistance
  • Transportation assistance

 

Jobseekers who suffered a permanent job loss due to economic impacts of COVID-19 will be prioritized for assistance.

 

In addition to supportive services, jobseekers enrolled in the program will receive comprehensive workforce services which include: career coaching, paid training, on the job training and job placement.  Services are offered in a variety of formats such as internet, email and telephone to facilitate remote access.

 

For more information on the supportive service program, please call 951-955-9742 or contact us via email at workforcehelp@rivco.org

 

Update as of April 24th, 2020

Riverside County residents who are experiencing the stress and challenges surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have free access to live support via text chat from peer support specialists and counselors through a new computer and smartphone app called TakeMyHand.co.  Please note that the URL is a ".co" and not a ".com" site.

“This is an example of using leading-edge technology to bring behavioral health care to people where and when they need it,” said Dr. Matthew Chang, director of Riverside University Health System – Behavioral Health, which developed the app.  “The 24/7 availability means that people can get support without a delay or need to travel outside their home,” he continued. 

This online resource uses a chat format to connect individuals with specialists who are trained to interact with people expressing concerns about difficult feelings and behaviors.  TakeMyHand.co  provides an alternative to telephone and video calls for those who prefer text as their primary form of communication.  A comprehensive list of Riverside County wellness and recovery resources is also available at this site.  TakeMyHand.co  is confidential and does not require a login, username or password. 

“I appreciate that Behavioral Health is always there for our community, and especially now,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “These are excellent services that provide support and hope.”
 

Although this is not a substitute for the care of a licensed clinical professional, many people may find this to be a useful outlet to help calm their anxiety and regain their center.  Anyone experiencing a behavioral health crisis should immediately contact 2-1-1 or call the behavioral health CARES line at (800) 706-7500. A 24/7 free, confidential crisis or suicide intervention service can be reached at (951) 686-HELP (4357). Click here to be redirected to the app.

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The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health will conduct a community drive-through novel coronavirus testing event in San Bernardino on Tuesday, April 28.
LOCATION: Arroyo Valley High School (entrance to drive-through testing is on University Parkway off Baseline Street)
ADDRESS: 1881 W. Base Line St., San Bernardino
TIME: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This event is open to San Bernardino County residents by appointment only. Residents can apply for an appointment at sbcovid19.com today, April 23. Residents who cannot access the form online can call the COVID-19 hotline at (909) 387-3911 from Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This event is free of charge and does not require health insurance. All persons will be pre-screened upon completing the appointment request form and again at the event to ensure that all persons meet testing criteria. Visit sbcovid19.com for information about upcoming community drive-through testing events.

Update as of April 15th, 2020

San Bernardino County is complying with the state’s stay at home directives, which require that all “non-essential” business operations be suspended until further notification. Please check here if you are not sure whether your business is considered “essential.”  Some SB County residents have asked how they can report business owners who are failing to comply with these orders. If you believe a business or facility is violating the Health Officer Order, please go to https://bit.ly/2Kl49Mx to complete a form that will give information needed to follow up and investigate. You can also call the COVID-19 hotline at (909) 387-3911. The hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. SB County has stated that for offenders who continue to willfully disregard public health orders, complaints will be forwarded to the SB County Fire Marshal and Code Enforcement for follow-up investigations.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Redlands-Riverside is continuing to meet local families’ needs during the statewide COVID-19 lockdown with its new Family Support Program. Read more...

Update as of April 15th, 2020
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) will conduct Drive-Through testing for coronavirus(COVID-19) on additional dates on April 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24. The COVID-19 testing will be available for the public by appointment only. Read here...  

Update as of April 14th, 2020
SB County is moving forward with the development of a COVID-19 Recovery Coalition that will be spear-headed by Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. The coalition is expected to include numerous government, private sector and community partners throughout the county. Read here...

Specialized teams designed to educate and equip employees at licensed care facilities throughout Riverside County will start visiting the locations today. The four SOS (Skilled Nursing Facilities Outreach Support) teams consist of workers from American Medical Response and other healthcare partners who could be involved in patient care, said Kim Saruwatari, director of Public Health. Read more...

Update as of April 8th, 2020
On Wednesday, the County of San Bernardino gave clarification on Tuesday's order for mandatory face coverings effective April 8th, 2020. More info...

In Riverside County, over 80 patients at a skilled nursing facility were evacuated this morning to other healthcare locations throughout the county. Employees of the facility did not show up to care for sick patients two days in a row. More info...

Update as of April 7th, 2020

Residents in SB County have been ordered to cover their face. the order takes effect at midnight Wednesday, April 8, 2020. According to the County Acting Health Officer, violation of the order is a punishable crime by up to a $1000.00 or imprisonment up to 90 days or both. Read more...

Update as of April 6th, 2020

In response to the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases, Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser today ordered that no gatherings of any number of people may take place outside of family members residing in the same home. Read more...

San Bernardino County health officials are recommending people use face coverings when leaving home to conduct essential business such as grocery shopping, going to a medical appointment or visiting a pharmacy to help flatten the curve of Covid-19. Read More...

Update as of April 2nd, 2020

Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser extended the closure of the county’s schools to June 19 in response to the current conditions of COVID-19. Read more...

Here is a complete list of San Bernardino County closures as of today:
Services for the following County departments and offices will be available only by phone and online. Offices will be closed to the public:

  • Agriculture/Weights & Measures
  • Assessor- Recorder-Clerk
  • Child Support Services
  • Children’s Network
  • Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
  • Community Development and Housing Agency
  • County Fire and Fire Marshal
  • District Attorney
  • Economic Development
  • Human Resources
  • Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA)
  • Land Use Services, which includes Planning, Building and Safety, and Code Enforcement
  • Public Defender
  • Public Works, with the exception of lobby computer access to surveyor records
  • Purchasing
  • Registrar of Voters, with the exception of election observers by appointment only
  • Risk Management
  • Special Districts Water and Sanitation
  • Transitional Assistance
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Workforce Development, however, in-person appointments will be conducted only when necessary

The following San Bernardino County attractions and services are closed to the public until the indefinite health orders are lifted:

  • Preschool Services (Head Start)
  • Big Bear Alpine Zoo at Moonridge
  • County branch libraries
  • County museums and historical sites
  • County Regional Parks, including Calico Ghost Town
  • Park and recreation district preschool in Joshua Tree
  • All Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District Parks
  • All Bloomington Recreation and Park District Parks
  • All County Service Area Parks
  • Oak Glen Park and Museum
  • North Etiwanda Preserve
  • Joshua Tree Desert Conversation Area (Section 6)
  • The following senior and community centers (centers that conduct meal programs will make meals available via drive-thru)
    • Big Bear Senior Center
    • Bloomington Ayala Senior Center
    •  Joshua Tree Community Center
    •  Lucerne Valley Community Center
    • Wonder Valley Community Center

For information about the coronavirus crisis, visit the County’s coronavirus website at sbcovid19.com, email the County at coronavirus@dph.sbcounty.gov, or contact the coronavirus public information line from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at 909-387-3911.

 

Update as of March 31st, 2020

Joshua Tree National Park will be closed effective April 1st, 2020. Operatiopns have been modified to support federal, state and local efforts to weaken COVID-19 spread. Park rangers will remain on duty, protecting the parks. All programs, permits for special use activities and campsite reservations are cancelled until further notice. Read more...

Health officials in Riverside County are recommeding residents cover both nose and mouth when leaving the house for essential travel to doctor appointments, grocery shopping or pharmacy visits. Bandanas, fabric masks and neck gaiters are acceptable. Masks do not have to necessarily be hospital grade. Riverside COunty public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser has stated “We’re seeing our numbers increasing even sooner than we predicted and that means our strategy must change too. Covering your face doesn’t change the orders everyone must abide by to stay home as much as possible and maintain social distancing, but it’s an extra layer of protection that I think we need to add.”

Update as of March 30th, 2020

On Saturday a nursing facility in Yucaipa had 12 elderly residents who tested positive for COVID-19. A resident of a second nursing facility in Mentone resented symptoms of the disease. More info... 

Update as of March 26th, 2020

SB County Public Health will conduct a drive-thru specimen collection for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Friday, March 27. The specimen collection for COVID-19 testing will be available for the public by appointment only. Appointment sign-up and details will be available on the COVID-19 webpage on Thursday, March 26 by 8 a.m.

Update as of March 25th, 2020

Riverside County health and emergency management officials recieved a federal medical station fromt he U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read more...

Update as of March 24th, 2020

The Mayor of Moreno Valley has released a video message to the community during the COVID-19 outbreak. The video provides Spanish subtitles for the Spanish-speaking community. Read and see more.

The City of Redlands wants to let seniors in the community know that they are never alone. A senior helpline is available for seniors that are needing resources. The helpline is 909-798-7579. Read more...

Update as of March 23rd, 2020

Medi-Cal announced Friday that it won’t bump people off their plans if they don’t renew their coverage on time. And Covered California, the state’s individual health exchange, is extending its special enrollment period past its April 30th end date. Read more...

Update as of March 22nd, 2020

The California National Guard will be deployed to the Coachella Valley, starting Monday. Riverside County and FIND Food Bank have partnered with the state to locate essential services support. FIND is anticipating a 70% loss of their volunteer workforce. The California National Guard is helping serve as FIND volunteers and will not perform any law enforcement operations. The FIND Food Bank is responsible for supporting over 120 feeding sites throughout the desert region. This includes 22 free mobile markets, homeless shelters, food pantries and community feeding sites. Read more...

Riverside Convention Center is trying to ease the shopping woes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting tomorrow, residents will have another option for gathering groceries. More info...

On March 15th, SB County reported its first official case of COVID-19. Additional cases have been expected as time moves forward. As of now, there are a total of 17 confirmed cases and no outstanding deaths from the virus in the county. Read more...

Update as of March 21st, 2020

The Mayor for Big Bear Lake, Rick Herrick, has publicly come forward, stating he has tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first reported case of an elected official in San Bernardino County testing positive for coronavirus. Read more...  

Update as of March 20th, 2020

The Riverside County District Attorney has released an official statement regarding price gouging within the county. When someone raises prices more than 10 percent for essential goods or services during a declared state of emergency it is considered illegal. Read more...

Riverside County health officials are encouraging Coachella Valley residents who have symptoms and are concerned they could have coronavirus (COVID-19) to get tested at a driveup facility set up at a church in Indian Wells. Read more...

As of today at 12:00pm PDT, there are 1,006 positive cases and 19 deaths in California according to California COVID-19 Response site.

Update as of March 19th, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a statewide stay at home order. Read more...

The state has rolled out a brand new website to help ease Californian nerves with some helpful resources, including information on education, employment and taxes, healthcare and public places. Read more...

Local food banks are struggling to keep up with increased demand after the coronavirus has impacted people’s livelihoods. Read more...

Update as of March 18th, 2020

Starting today, Riverside County buildings will be closed to in-person visits. This follows the health order issued on Tuesday by Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. Read more...

San Bernardino County today reported its fourth and fifth case of novel coronavirus. Read more...

Update as of March 17th, 2020

Several residents in both Rivco and SB Counties are experiencing the financial effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Employment Education Department (EDD) has provided guidelines as to what is available as a resource and what situations may very well be applicable yo an individual's circumstances. EDD has also provided a Spanish-speaking version on their website. Read more...

SMALL BUSINESSES - The United States Small Business Administration (U.S. SBA) announced guidelines  for Economic Injury Disaster Loans for California Declaration #16332 (Disaster CA-00313), Coronavirus COVID-19. If you have a small business in Rivco or SB County click here for more information. 

Update as of March 16th, 2020

The City of Redlands has updated their site with COVID-19 information. Read more...

Two deaths have occurred in the Coachella Valley. Kaiser has also ordered the closure of all Riverside County schools from elementary to college. Read more...

SB County closes several public attractions and offices. Read more...

Update as of March 15th, 2020

Today, SB County has announced their first official case of novel coronavirus. It was reported from a Kaiser Fontana patient who recently returned from London, U.K. last week. Quest Diagnostics had admimnistered the test on March 12th. SB County of Public Health was notified on Sunday, March 15th. Read more... 

Update as of March 13th, 2020

SB County's Acting Health Officer has ordered the posponment and immediate cancellation of public gatherings of 250 people or more. Read more...

Update as of March 12th, 2020

San Bernardino County has ordered the cancellation of large gatherings.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman announced today that the order applies to concerts, conferences, and sporting events.

The County Public Health Officer’s order does not apply to activities like attendance at regular school classes, work, or essential services.

There are still no confirmed cases in San Bernardino County as of Thursday. Additional infomation can be found here.

Information regarding large gatherings in Riverside county is available here

Update as of March 11th, 2020

Riverside University Health System – Public Health has some information about the Coronavirus, which you can read here.   In addition, the major music festival Coachella has been delayed to Oct 9th and 16th as well. Read NPR's story about the delay here.  

Update as of March 10th 2020, 4:00PM

From the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors: 

The San Bernardino County Public Health Officer and the Board of Supervisors today declared a local health emergency to help ensure county government and the public are prepared for the possibility that COVID-19 will appear within the country.

You can read that press release here