coronavirus

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced on Thursday a limited Stay at Home Order that requires non-essential work, movement and gatherings to stop between 10 PM and 5 AM in counties in the purple tier. The order will take effect at 10 PM Saturday, November 21 and remain in effect until 5 AM December 21.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Riverside County officials are eyeing a December end to current federal coronavirus funding, which is partly used for testing and tracing. 

Riverside County Executive Officer George Johnson told the board of supervisors at their meeting on November 10, that he is planning for the worst-case scenario of no extended federal stimulus money in 2021 due to gridlock in Washington.

“We do need state and federal assistance to keep paying for these testing and tracing functions," said Johnson. "We can’t do it alone.”

County of Riverside

Both Riverside County and San Bernardino County are seeing a spike in coronavirus hospitalizations. 

First, Riverside County.

There were at least 228 coronavirus patients in Riverside County hospitals on Sunday, which is a jump of 57% from one month ago.

The confirmed case total is at 71,620 with 1,388 deaths.

As for San Bernardino County, hospitalizations are up 40% from a month ago.

The confirmed case count there is 68,865 with 1,096 deaths.

sanbernardinodemocrats.org

Election Day is tomorrow, and one of the names many Inland Empire voters will see on their ballot is Congressman Pete Aguilar, representing the 31st District as a Democrat in the House of Representatives. KVCR asked Aguilar about the local and state reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter and policing, wildfire season and climate change, and more. 

Riverside County

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted today to direct the County Executive Office to coordinate with other Southern California counties to present a unified request to the governor to revise or drop the color-coded coronavirus tier system.

The vote comes after Riverside County was demoted to the most-restrictive purple tier after briefly being in the red tier, which allowed for limited indoor capacity for restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and places of worship.

County of Riverside

Riverside County officials announced today that the county has gone back to the most-restrictive purple tier of coronavirus restrictions set by the state.

Riverside County had gone into the less-restrictive red tier in September, allowing indoor operations with restrictions.

Now, amid rising coronavirus test rates, the county’s going back to the purple tier.

This means gyms, churches, restaurants, movie theaters, and more have a few days to transition to not being able to hold any indoor operations.

Riverside University Health System

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime, yet fewer women are going in to get screened for the disease during the COVID-19 pandemic. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke to Riverside University Health System radiologist Lisa Mahoney about the importance of early screening for breast cancer and some of the precautions RUHS is taking to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus during screenings. 

lamayor.org

Ontario International Airport’s freight and passenger numbers are growing, reflecting a “gradual recovery” for the airport amid the pandemic. 

Commercial freight volume at the airport increased more than 20% in September while the number of air travelers rose to almost 200,000.

According to a press release, Ontario Airport representatives say these numbers reflect a “gradual recovery” for the airport in recent months.

Passenger volume there reached a low point in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s grown every month between May and September.

state.gov

San Bernardino County appears to be overtaking San Diego County in coronavirus hospitalizations, now ranking second in the state. 

San Bernardino County is now behind only Los Angeles County in terms of hospitalizations.

San Diego County now ranks third.

The confirmed case count in San Bernardino County since the public health documentation period began in early march is 58,125 cases with 986 deaths.

More than 690,000 people have been tested for the virus in the county.

sbcounty.gov

San Bernardino County continues to move away from moving into the less-restrictive red tier of coronavirus restrictions amid rising case and positivity rates. 

The county is still in the most-restrictive purple tier of restrictions set by the state, despite hoping to move to the red tier last week.

Under the red tier, counties can open churches, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters indoors, with limited capacity.

According to data released Tuesday, San Bernardino County had 9.6 cases per 100,000 residents, which is up from 7.7 last week.

Esri

The race is on to develop a coronavirus vaccine, but once it’s created, how do we ensure it’s distributed equitably? Este Geraghty is the Chief Medical Officer and Health Solutions Director at Esri, a Redlands-based geographic information systems company. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper interviewed Geraghty about the logistical and planning challenges involved in distributing a potential vaccine and the role GIS mapping technology plays in doing so.

The first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, has been detected in western Riverside County, and a second probable case has been detected in the Coachella Valley. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with Dr. Chad Vercio, Pediatrics Chair at Riverside University Health System, about MIS-C and what parents need to know. 

Monday through Thursday at lunchtime, Empire KVCR News has your daily news rundown. Stories highlighted today include:

1) Flu season may be the last thing on people’s minds as the COVID-19 pandemic continues but it’s time to start preparing

2) The California legislative session ended Tuesday morning - and it was one for the ages.

3) A review of some of the COVID-19 numbers in the Inland Empire.

state.gov

 Riverside County has changed the way it calculates coronavirus recoveries, and is now reporting more than 12,000 newly confirmed patient recoveries. 

The number of people who have recovered from the virus now stands at 40,769, compared to 28,407 on Tuesday.

That huge jump is because the Riverside University Health System is now including all cases that it’s been unable to reach after 45 days of follow-up, which happens as a result of missing or changed contact information, or when the patient doesn’t answer or call back.

Benjamin Purper / KVCR

Healthcare workers rallied in 11 cities across California on Tuesday to call for more personal protective equipment, or PPE, as well as the passage of SB 275, which would ensure healthcare providers in the state have a stockpile of PPE for future emergencies. One of the rallies was in Riverside.

Preliminary results from a COVID-19 antibody testing study reveal that 175,000 people may have been infected with the coronavirus in Riverside County. 

The number comes from a randomized study by the Riverside University Health System released Monday.

The study of 1,726 randomly chosen residents showed 1,621 tested negative and 101 had developed COVID-19 antibodies.

Based on that data, it is estimated there have been between 118,000 and 175,400 infections in Riverside County.

The coming trend of automation has been looming over the logistics industry for a while, especially in places likes the Inland Empire, as more and more jobs are becoming automated. University of Redlands economist Johannes Moenius says COVID-19 could accelerate that trend, transforming the job market in the Inland Empire quicker than expected. 

Inland SoCal United Way

The application window for the United Lift rental assistance program in Riverside County opened yesterday, allowing residents to apply for rental assistance payments. 

The program is administered by Inland SoCal United Way.

The money comes from the CARES Act funding awarded by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to support 10,000 households affected by COVID-19 and behind on their rent.

Residents can apply at UnitedLift.org or by calling 2-1-1. The application portal is available in English and Spanish until July 25.

Courtesy of UC Riverside

The coronavirus pandemic may have upended the world of live theatre, but the Theatre Department at the University of California, Riverside has found a way around it. They created a hybrid play, film, and radio drama called “At the Pass” which will soon be turned into a podcast. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with some of the key players behind “At the Pass.”

Longtime Inland Empire journalist and KVCR contributor Cassie MacDuff and KVCR's Benjamin Purper review some of the big Inland Empire news stories from the past week, including:

Benjamin Purper / KVCR

The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has led many people to take up activism of some kind – whether that’s through donating, protesting, or hashtagging. Now, we hear from a local comedian whose street comedy has taken a turn into activism. Aaron Chase is a stand-up comedian from Riverside who regularly performs in Downtown Redlands, and he spoke with KVCR’s Benjamin Purper.

The full interview will air on an upcoming episode of KVCArts. 

Activists Rally Outside Adelanto ICE Processing Center

May 29, 2020
Benjamin Purper / KVCR

Protesters rallied outside the Adelanto ICE Processing Center yesterday to denounce what they say are poor conditions for immigrants detained in the center. ICE denies this and says it’s taking the necessary steps to combat COVID-19 in the facility. 

Protesters gathered in front of the ICE Processing Center in Adelanto to denounce the conditions inside the facility, which they say are substandard.

The FDA has given emergency authorization to a Fontana-based company to produce and manufacture “Patient Isolation Transportation Units” for use with COVID-19 patients. 

The Patient Isolation Transportation Unit, or PITU, is an enclosure that makes it safer to work with patients with highly contagious diseases.

It’s what’s called a negative pressure isolation enclosure.

The California Employment Development Department today released the state’s unemployment rates for last month, including those of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. 

The state’s unemployment rate was at a record 15.5 percent in April as the state’s employers lost more than 2 million non-farm payroll jobs.

San Bernardino County’s unemployment rate jumped to 13.4 percent, and Riverside’s went up to 15.3 percent.

The combined unemployment rate for Riverside and San Bernardino counties in April was 14.4%, up from only 5.2% in March.

Arek Socha/Pixabay

Couples wishing to get married during the COVID-19 shutdown have a new option in San Bernardino County with online video marriage ceremonies. 

“I now pronounce you married. You may seal your vows with a kiss.”

That’s Melissa Garcia, Chief Deputy Recorder for San Bernardino County performing their first ever video wedding for Yucca Valley residents Trent and Crystal Bell on May 11.

KVCR has been interviewing local elected officials about the coronavirus. Now, we have an interview with 5th District Supervisor for Riverside County, Jeff Hewitt. Supervisor Hewitt discusses his reasoning for voting to rescind most of the coronavirus restrictions put in place by Riverside County Health Officer Cameron Kaiser. 

Editor's note: The CDC in its guidelines recommends wearing face masks in public. Neighboring Los Angeles County requires masks in public, but it is no longer mandated in Riverside or San Bernardino Counties.

May is Mental Health Month, and we have a series of stories about mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we have an interview with Dr. David Puder of Loma Linda University Health, who is worried about a potential increase in depression and suicide as a result of the pandemic and its economic fallout. As a warning, this story does talk extensively about suicide. Here’s KVCR’s Benjamin Purper in conversation with Dr. Puder.

You can hear more of Dr. Puder’s work on the Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast.

MEGAN JAMERSON/KVCR

Public comments on budget cuts to a centuries old public institution stretched a Redland’s City Council meeting to nearly eight hours. The council met to discuss a proposed budget to handle revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facing a fifteen point seven-million-dollar shortfall for next year’s budget, Mayor Paul Foster led a virtual city council meeting on Tuesday morning. Broadcast online, with city council members calling in remotely, the tone was somber.

On Friday, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors rescinded all but one of their own public health officer’s coronavirus orders, effectively loosening restrictions on mandates such as the requirement to wear face masks in public and practice social distancing. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with Riverside City Councilmember and small business owner Ronaldo Fierro about the Board’s decision and what it means for the city of Riverside. 

Before last week’s vote, the Riverside City Council voted to send a letter to the Board asking them to delay it.

The city of Fontana is out $6.8 million in revenue thanks to the coronavirus. It’s also the city with the second-most coronavirus cases in San Bernardino County, as of Tuesday. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with the mayor of Fontana, Acquanetta Warren, about the revenue loss and what it means for the city.

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