Riverside County

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.

Riverside County received a warning from the state Tuesday that it is in danger of slipping back into the first phase or purple tier of the re-opening plan. This could cause some recently reopened businesses to close once again. 

On September 22, Riverside County’s COVID-19 numbers were improving and so the county advanced into the state’s second or red tier re-opening phase, allowing some businesses like gyms, restaurants and salons to partially resume indoor services.

Rep. Mark Takano of Riverside, hosted a virtual town hall to answer constituent questions about congressional efforts to tackle police reform on Wedensday. Despite a summer of public protests calling for change and bi-partisan support, legislative efforts recently stalled.

Takano says public sentiment around systemic racism in policing and the structure of law in America visibly changed this summer.

cdc.gov

Riverside County health officials reported the area’s first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome also known as MIS-C on Tuesday. It is a rare, but serious condition that can damage multiple organs in children who are exposed to or had COVID-19. 

A child under the age of 15 from western Riverside County is believed to have the first case. Officials also reported a probable second case of a child from the Coachella Valley.

County of Riverside

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to support quarantine housing and financial relief for farmworkers who test positive or are exposed to COVID-19. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson spoke with the organization partnering with the county about the fund’s significance and how it is only the beginning of the support these workers need.

Luz Gallegos of TODEC legal center says farmworkers in the Coachella Valley are faced with an impossible choice when they are told they should quarantine.

“It’s either you work or you don’t eat,” said Gallegos.

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.

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Riverside County Vector Control will begin treating 50 acres in Nuevo for mosquitos on Wednesday August 12 between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. This is after mosquitos in the area tested positive for West Nile Virus in late July and is part of the county’s plan to prevent the spread of West Nile virus and intensify mosquito surveillance.

It’s not unusual for mosquitos to test positive for the virus especially during the summer. West Nile virus can be spread to humans from an infected mosquito. To date there have been no documented cases of infection in the county.

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