Riverside County

A joint taskforce between local and federal law enforcement authorities announced charges Tuesday against 21 people allegedly involved in a drug trafficking and distribution scheme in the Inland Empire.

With the June 15 re-opening of California only a week away, inland county officials are waiting on specifics for what this will mean for public spaces and the workplace.

There could be some changes in guidance between now and California’s re-opening,  but “essentially it’s business as usual or business pre-COVID," said San Bernardino County Interim Public Health Director, Andrew Goldfrach.

Riverside University Health System

A Riverside County plan to shift resources to mobile vacciation teams, means two area clinics will be closing.

The Beaumont based vaccine clinic at Chatingy Senior Center will close on May 22, and the Menifee clinic at Heritage High will close on May 28.

According to a county news release, the focus on mobile vaccination teams will allow for quicker service for communities in need.

The only county operated brick and mortar site that will remain open will be the Moreno Valley Mall. It can serve several thousand people per day.

Lisa Ferdinando/OFFICE OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

Riverside County will start giving the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to 12- to 15-year-old’s as early as the end of this week. 

Once the county receives guidance from the federal government and state it will expand eligibility of the Pfizer vaccine to this age group said county public health officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung at Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting. Until then, he is encouraging everyone else to continue to get their doses.

Wildfire season is here and bi-lingual resources are available online for Riverside County residents to become prepared. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports one local non-profit is using trusted community messengers to prepare the Latino community for natural disasters.

Martha Carrasco, a retired civil servant, regularly canvasses her Jurupa Valley neighborhood handing out emergency preparedness information. Carrasco said for some in the Latino community, communicating in Spanish is preferred and there is also the benefit of receiving it from a trusted messegner.

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Both Riverside and San Bernardino County announced Tuesday April 13 that they are following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration(FDA) recommendation to pause the use of the Johnson & Jonson vaccine. This follows the report of six patients developing a rare and serious type of blood clot after the one dose shot.

Benjamin Purper / KVCR

Riverside County has expanded vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older, and the Riverside University Health System celebrated this milestone with a vaccination event at their medical center in Moreno Valley today.

About 1,100 people are expected to come through the Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley today, Apr 6, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

There are balloons, photo booths, and signs that say “pandemic finish line.”

Heather Jackson, Senior Public Information Specialist with RUHS, says it's a day to celebrate.

Submitted/County of Riverside

Riverside County replaced its top health officer as pandemic recovery efforts continue. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on the Tuesday announcement.

In a press release, the county said Dr. Cameron Kaiser was released early Tuesday of his duties as health director after nearly 10 years.

Then in a closed meeting session the same day, county supervisors chose to appoint Dr. Geoffrey Leung as the next health officer effective immediately.

Riverside County health officials say improvements in vaccine shipments means supply is now outpacing demand. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports on the latest from Tuesday's Riverside County board of supervisors meeting.

Dr. Geoffrey Leung, of the Riverside University Health System, told county supervisors this is partly because federal shipments are now going directly to community health centers and retail pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and Walmart.

The Galilee Center

During the immigration surge at the U.S-Mexico border in 2019, Riverside County partnered with local non-profits to help more than 2,800 asylum seekers reach their final destinations. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, as arrivals surge once again, action is already underway to assist these families.

The Galilee Center, located in Mecca in the Eastern Coachella Valley, is one of the non-profits that works with Riverside County. Helping asylum seekers is an intensive process says Claudia Castorena, the center’s CFO and CO-founder.

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According to the latest state metrics, San Bernardino County is one week away from reopening more indoor businesses on March 17.

The county’s 6.7% adjusted case rate, 3.2% positivity rate and 4% health equity metric, or the positivity rate in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, have qualified it to advance to the red tier of the state’s re-opening blueprint. Barring any dramatic changes over the next week, businesses like dance studios, gyms, fitness centers and movie theaters, will be able to reopen with modifications.

Supervisor V. Manuel Perez

Riverside County mobilized a team to assist a group of asylum seekers who arrived in Blythe Wednesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez who had the chance to meet the individuals before they were transported to the Coachella Valley.

The group of 15 was made up of five families with minors ranging from age five to 16-years-old that had had traveled from as far away as Cuba and Venezuela. Supervisor Perez said he felt both heartbreak and hope when met the individuals at the Blythe Border Patrol station.

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Some youth and adult sports may now resume play in Riverside County now that coronavirus case rates have met a state threshold. The eligible moderate and high contact sports include soccer, football, baseball, cheer and water polo.

Inland News Today reported Tuesday that case rates in Riverside County dipped to 11.3 per 100,000 residents, well below the state threshold of 14 needed to resume sports.

Riverside County health officials announced a milestone of giving over 500,000 coronavirus vaccine doses. This comes as the county prepares to receive its first shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccine as early as next week. 

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Riverside County Sheriff’s investigators identified seven San Jacinto homes over the weekend that were taken over by illegal marijuana growing operations. 

According to Inland News Today, the discovery was part of a long-term Sheriff’s investigation. Search warrants linked the homes to a local drug-trafficking operation and resulted in the arrest of ten suspects from the Hemet-San Jacinto area.

Officers seized 8,736 marijuana plants, 700 pounds of processed marijuana and $64,000 in cash from the homes.

Riverside County residents who received their first COVID-19 vaccine at county run sites have a new way to check on the status of their invitation for their second dose appointment. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more from the county’s weekly public health update.

Residents can now go online to check on the status of second dose invitation at rivcoph.org/COVID-19-2nd-Dose-Information.

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Riverside County announced Tuesday that COVID-19 case rates met the state’s threshold to allow for schools to restart in-person kindergarten through sixth grade education. Meanwhile in San Bernardino County, teachers can now sign up to receive the vaccine at county run sites.

In order to reopen, schools in Riverside County must have pre-approved plans. According to a release, currently four districts have approval including Corona-Norco, Palo Verde Valley, Desert Sands, and Murrieta Valley.

Both Riverside County and the city of Riverside declared racism a public health crisis during the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in 2020. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, several anti-racist groups are now working to help turn these declarations into lasting change.

Janice Rooths, an independent consultant focused on racial equity issues, has this definition of anti-racism:

“It is being actively involved in trying to dismantle racism and racist systems and policies and not just letting things go,” said Rooths.

A tight vaccine supply means both Riverside and San Bernardino County will continue to prioritize residents age 65 and older in their vaccine push. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on this and securing second dose appointments.

Riverside County opened up its public health vaccine clinics to people age 65 and older Monday, but University Health System Chief of Family Medicine Dr. Geoffry Leung warned that supply continues to be limited. Riverside County vaccine appointment information can be found here.

County of Riverside/TWITTER

Both Riverside and San Bernardino County officials say they each have around 800,000 people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Weekly, the number of vaccine doses shipped vary, making it hard for county officials to plan ahead. This means with vaccine demand far outpacing supply, appointments continue to be hard to find. As new slots are released online, they are getting snatched up notoriously fast like the 3,500 appointments for the Fontana Speedway “super” site that filled up in less than 20 minutes on January 31.

Riverside University Health System

Riverside County announced Wednesday that it be closing the Beaumont vaccine clinic at San Gorgonio Middle School on Friday, January 29 due to severe weather predicted for the Inland region. 

In a press release, the county said residents with Friday appointments at the Beaumont clinic will receive a confirmation email to reschedule their vaccine for Monday, February 1 at the same appointment time.

All other vaccine clinics operated by the Riverside County Public Health Department will remain open, but the weather situation will continue to be monitored.

Both Riverside and San Bernardino County issued evacuation warnings for residents in the Apple Fire and El Dorado Fire burn scar areas Wednesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has the latest.

The evacuation warning was issued out of concern for potential flash flood events due to an incoming storm expected to bring several inches of rain to the region from Thursday into Friday.

Riverside University Health System

Inland Empire counties are quickly learning that the state system being used to register people for the COVID-19 vaccine can cause challenges. 

Riverside County director of public health Kim Saruwatari told her board of supervisors on Tuesday that vaccine registrations on the county’s website are filling up so fast that some people who are eligible to get the vaccine during Phase 1a of the distribution can not get appointments.

Riverside County/TWITTER

A state run oxygen depot was set up Thursday in Riverside County to supply area hospitals and relieve high demand on oxygen suppliers. 

The depot, operating 24 hours a day, is made up of two large oxygen generators that can fill up tanks used by hospitals to supplement regional supply.

In a release, Riverside County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton said oxygen suppliers are having a difficult time meeting the high demands of area hospitals. He explained COVID patients need a lot of oxygen which has been taxing the entire healthcare system.

Southern California Stay-at-Home Orders Extended

Dec 29, 2020
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With ICU capacity at zero percent, the Southern California region will remain under lockdown for at least the next three weeks.

Inland News Today reports the Stay-at-Home order mandates the following closures:

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The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in San Bernardino County Wednesday and Riverside County Friday as ICU capacity continues to shrink and deaths are on the rise. That's according to the latest reports provided by county officials at Tuesday's Riverside and San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meetings.

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.

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.

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.

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