The first known California case of the Brazilian strain of the coronavirus has been found in San Bernardino County. 

According to San Bernardino County health officials, a San Bernardino man in his 40s is the first person in the state confirmed to have the P.1 variant.

The man was tested on March 2 and was confirmed to have the variant on March 13.

According to the county, contact tracers have been communicating with the man, who has been self-isolating at home.

County officials are investigating how he was exposed to the variant.

The House of Representatives passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package today, sending the legislation to the president’s desk for his signature. Now that it’s passed both chambers of Congress, President Biden is expected to sign it on Friday, meaning relief payments could hit Inland Empire residents’ bank accounts in the next few weeks. 

Jonathen Davis / Team Rubicon

The humanitarian crisis response organization Team Rubicon mobilized today to help at the mass coronavirus vaccination site at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. 

Team Rubicon is a volunteer organization based in L.A. that provides disaster relief and humanitarian response.

Volunteers are called “Greyshirts” and they’re often military veterans, though not exclusively.

Lorraine Riser is Team Rubicon’s Inland Empire representative.

Benjamin Purper / KVCR

Elementary schools in San Bernardino County have been cleared to reopen starting Monday, if they want to and have a reopening plan. 

The clearance comes after the county’s adjusted case rate numbers dipped to a certain level.

The number of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, adjusted for the amount of people tested in the county, has been below 25 for five consecutive days.

Neighboring Riverside County hasn’t met that same threshold, but their case numbers are also improving.

President Biden has already undone much of the previous administration’s immigration policies, including through a proposal to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. In a press call today, Representative Raul Ruiz of the Coachella Valley called on Congress and the Biden Administration to ensure legalization for immigrants is included in the next COVID-19 economic recovery package. 

Ruiz, who represents California's 36th District and chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, held a press call Tuesday with immigration advocates. / Carnegie Mellon University/Facebook

A new interactive map from Facebook’s Data for Good program shows the percentage of people in counties across the U.S. who would choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine based on the results of a survey conducted by the social media company and Carnegie Mellon University. 

According to the map, about 76% of people in Riverside County would choose to receive a COVID vaccine if it were offered to them today.

In San Bernardino County, that number is about 69%.

Inland Empire Media Roundtable

KVCR is collaborating with the Inland Empire Media Roundtable, a collection of media entities working together for the equitable distribution of information in the Inland Empire. Special focus will be given to information about the coronavirus vaccine and its distribution to inland residents, especially communities of color. KVCR’s Benjamin Purper spoke with coordinator Armando Carmona about the collaboration and the unequal distribution of vaccines in the Inland Empire.

Benjamin Purper / KVCR

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order directing the Justice Department to stop contracting with private prisons. What impact will that have on the private immigrant detention center in Adelanto? As KVCR’s Benjamin Purper reports, the answer is probably none.

The executive order only applies to people in the custody of the Department of Justice – not Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  

County of Riverside

The combined case count of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has passed 400,000. 

Riverside County reported more than 17,000 new infections on Monday, reflecting test results from the extended holiday weekend.

That brought the county’s cumulative case total to 198,236 cases as of Monday.

There have also been 2,096 confirmed deaths from the virus in Riverside County.

Meanwhile, San Bernardino County reported more than 18,000 new infections, bringing that county’s total to 203,309.

County of Riverside

The rate of intensive care unit admissions for both Riverside and San Bernardino County rose sharply in the last few days. 

In Riverside County, the number of people in intensive care for COVID-19 broke records on both Saturday and Sunday.

As of Sunday, the number of people hospitalized in Riverside County for COVID-19 stood at 1,367, with 282 people in intensive care.

San Bernardino County, meanwhile, has twice as many COVID-19 patients in intensive care as it had a month ago.

Facebook has created an interactive map that forecasts the spread of coronavirus across the entire United States – and it puts Riverside and San Bernardino counties in its “high risk” category. The map forecasts San Bernardino County to see more than 102,000 cumulative cases of the virus by December 13, while in Riverside County that number is more than 94,000 by the 13.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

 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 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.”