***Update As of 01/25/21***
STATE LIFTS REGIONAL STAY AT HOME ORDER, COUNTY MOVES BACK TO PURPLE TIER
The State has lifted the strict regional stay-at-home orders issued in December — moving the County back into the previous tier system. San Bernardino County remains in the Purple Tier. As a result, local restaurants will be allowed to open for outdoor service, personal care services (such as hair and nail salons) may reopen with modifications, retailers may allow more customers into their stores and campgrounds may resume operations, among other changes. For the County to move into the next less restrictive red level, it will be vital for testing to continue not just for protecting residents from illness but for reopening our economy and getting residents back to work. Click here for details.
***Update As of 12/14/20***
Riverside County health officials anticipate first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 18
The first shipments of a much-anticipated vaccine for COVID-19 could arrive in Riverside County on Friday (Dec. 18), and local health officials are working with area hospitals to vaccinate thousands of first-line health care workers.
The recently approved vaccine is expected to arrive at several pre-selected hospitals and at Riverside University Health System (RUHS) – Public Heath facilities, where they will be housed until transported to other medical locations. The total number of doses for Riverside County – both those transported directly to hospitals and RUHS-Public Health – is between 14,000 and 15,000.
“With so much grim news lately with the pandemic, it is great that we can give the public something so positive that we believe can turn this around,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of Public Health. “This is a turning point in the pandemic and we are looking forward to a time in the not-to-distant future when we can vaccinate tens of thousands of our neighbors against this virus.”
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine last week, setting off a massive plan to ship millions of doses throughout the country. Riverside County officials, working with state and federal officials, developed a distribution plan to get the doses to thousands of health care workers under the phased system of allocation.
“The vaccine is a lifesaving breakthrough in the battle against this global pandemic,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “It comes at an urgent time, especially for our health care workers who face a worsening situation at hospitals throughout Riverside County and our nation. It is ever more critical that we follow public health requirements, wear a mask, maintain physical distancing and avoid unsafe crowds so we can all help each other.”
The Phase 1-A tier is the first group to be vaccinated and includes those healthcare workers at acute care hospitals with “direct patient contact who have potential for direct or indirect exposure.”
“Receiving the first doses of vaccine for our front-line healthcare workers is a day we’ve been looking forward to,” said Vice Chair Karen Spiegel, Second District Supervisor. “As we receive more vaccine in the coming weeks and months, we’ll be able to offer vaccinations to more of our workforce and start to see big movement in recovering from this terrible pandemic.”
***Update As of 12/05/20***
Governor issues Stay-at-Home order for Southern California region for at least three weeks
The governor announced regional stay-at-home restrictions for all Southern California, including Riverside County, for a minimum of three weeks. The stay-at-home order will go into effect on Sunday evening at 11:59 p.m. The regional restrictions are in response to weeks-long surge in cases, hospitalizations, positivity rates and coronavirus-related deaths throughout the
“We have seen cases and other metrics rising for the past month and it is expected to get even worse this month,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of the Riverside County Department of Public Health. “We must practice social distancing and wear masks to preserve valuable space and staff in our hospital system. These resources are already stretched thin.”
For more information on the types of businesses impacted by the regional stay-at-home order and to monitor the regional ICU capacity, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-foressential-needs/.
In Riverside County, total COVID positive hospitalizations have set new highs each day this week. As of Dec. 4, there are 658 COVID positive patients hospitalized, including 135 patients requiring treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU). In July, the highest number of COVID positive hospitalizations was 550, and the highest number of patients requiring ICU care was 167.
Critical county services and programs will continue on behalf of our residents. In line with the regional stay-at-home order, many of those services could return to being provided virtually. This practice has been critical to how the county has conducted business throughout the pandemic. Residents should call ahead to determine if their needs can be met online, over the phone or through the mail. Some services requiring in-person visits may need an appointment.
Dec. 10 is the deadline to make the second installment of property taxes, which can be paid online, over the phone or through the mail. Owners who need to pay their property taxes in person next week will be able to do so while observing social distancing and safety guidelines.
***Update As of 11/19/20***
Health officials urge Riverside County residents to keep holiday gatherings ‘Smaller, Shorter, Safer’
Riverside County residents are asked to take precautions when celebrating Thanksgiving with smaller, shorter and safer get-togethers.
With the recent rise in coronavirus cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations, state health officials are urging residents to limit possible exposure to the virus by reducing the number of people they have contact with during Thanksgiving.
While some may opt to have family gatherings, residents are urged to follow these recommendations:
Smaller – If you are going to meet during the holiday, keep the groups small and separate, even within a household. Avoid large gatherings.
Shorter – Keep get-togethers to an hour or two.
Safer – Don’t forget about basic safety: wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands. Eat and socialize outside. Consider seating one family group on the patio, while another sits in a separate area. Keep plenty of hand sanitizer on hand. Avoid sharing serving utensils.
“We understand the desire to celebrate the holidays with loved ones, so consider these three steps that could help reduce the chance of virus spread if you decide to get together,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of the Riverside University Health System – Public Health. “Smaller, Shorter, Safer could really help slow the spread of the virus.”
Riverside County, like the rest of California, has seen a jump in cases, hospitalizations and the use of ICU beds over the last few weeks. The county was recently placed in the purple tier – the most restrictive of the four color-designated state tiers – as the case and positivity rates rose.
“Coronavirus is unfortunately rising rapidly in Riverside County, and around our state and nation,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “Let’s be careful and protect ourselves and our loved ones and follow these public health messages.”
State and federal health officials are providing similar guidance for the holidays. For California Department of Public Health, click https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html.
For guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) click https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html
***Update As of 10/28/20***
Riverside County health officials offer alternatives to traditional Halloween celebrations
California Health Officials Strongly Discourage Traditional Trick-or-Treat
As Riverside County residents prepare to celebrate Halloween, Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH) is encouraging the community to make this year’s festivities as safe as possible by planning lower-risk online, at-home and car-based activities.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health released safety guidelines strongly discouraging traditional trick-or-treating and asks families to plan safer alternatives. These alternative celebrations include a candy scavenger hunt at home, online pumpkin carving and costume contests, and car-based tours of Halloween displays. Riverside County health officials are following the state’s guidance.
Families and individuals are also encouraged to check www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus for guidance on holiday celebrations.
RUHS-PH and state traffic officials offer these tips for drivers and those who are out walking:
- The days are getting shorter. Be visible and carry a flashlight or reflective vest if you are out at dusk or at night so drivers can see you.
- Stick to familiar, well-lit routes.
- Only cross the street at crosswalks or corners where it is safe. Always look left, right, then left again before crossing.
- If you are doing car-based tours of decorations, be extra alert for other vehicles backing out of driveways or leaving parking spaces.
- Watch for pedestrians and yield to them at all crosswalks.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
***Update As of 10/20/20***
State announces Riverside County moved back to purple tier, businesses to adjust within 72 hours
State announces Riverside County moved back to purple tier, businesses to adjust within 72 hours
Local officials remind residents to get tested and wear masks to slow the spread
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that Riverside County will move back to the state’s purple tier, which is the most restrictive tier that requires several types of businesses and places of worship to move outside. These places will need to change operations to outside only within 72 hours.
The state’s decision to move Riverside County back to the purple tier ends the week-long adjudication process that Riverside County requested with the state last week. Riverside County will need to remain in the purple tier for at least three weeks and meet the red tier metrics for two of those weeks before returning to the red tier.
Riverside County’s metrics include a 5.2 positivity rate and 9.1 case rate. While the positivity rate is within the red tier range, the case rate – cases per 100,000 people – is within the purple tier. Riverside County’s case rate is also worsened by the state’s upwards adjustment for not reaching the statewide median of PCR swab tests.
More Riverside County residents are getting tested for the virus at approximately 195 people a day per 100,00 residents, up from 139 in early September. The statewide testing median is 239 people a day per 100,000 residents.
All residents are encouraged to take a PCR swab test to contain the disease and help reach the red tier metrics. Anyone, with or without symptoms or health insurance, can take a free PCR swab test from a county or state-run site. Visit GetTested.ruhealth.org or call (800) 945-6171 to make an appointment. Other testing options can be found online at: https://covid19.ca.gov/get-tested/.
The best ways for residents to protect themselves and loved ones is to continue to wear face coverings, avoid social gatherings and mixing of households, keep six feet of distance from others and frequent handwashing. Health officials note that when all these things are done, we protect ourselves up to 95 percent.
The return to the purple tier will adversely impact small businesses like restaurants and gyms which were able to provide indoor services in the red tier after having business operations restricted for several months throughout the course of the pandemic. The state also announced today that all personal care services were moved into the purple reopening tier and may continue inside operations.
Schools that have already opened for in-person instruction may continue to do so. Schools and school districts that have not already opened for in-person instruction will need to obtain a waiver, approved by the Riverside County Public Health Officer and CDPH. For a complete list of all schools that have applied for, or received approval for, a waiver, visit https://www.rivcoph.org/SchoolWaiver.
Other actions the County of Riverside is taking to address the rising number of cases in the community include a coordinated mobile testing strategy to bring pop up testing sites closer to the community to improve access within specific workplaces and areas. In addition, the county is increasing outreach efforts and partnerships with community-based and faith-based organizations that serve hard-to-reach communities.
Follow official sources for information, including Riverside University Health System-Public Health on Facebook and @RivCoDoc on Twitter. For more information on which businesses are affected, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/. For more information on safe business reopening guidance and other business resources, visit www.rivcobizhelp.org.
***Update As of 09/23/20***
Riverside County enters state’s red tier, more businesses resume indoor operations
Riverside County is now in the red tier of the state’s reopening plan, paving the way for more businesses and community places to resume indoor operations.
Under the red tier, all remaining personal care services may return indoors, including nail salons, tattoo shops, massage services and esthetician services. As a reminder, hair salons and barber shops were returned indoors under the previous purple tier.
In addition, restaurants, places of worship, movie theaters, as well as museums, zoos and aquariums may resume indoor operations up to 25 percent capacity. Gyms may resume indoors up to 10 percent capacity and indoor shopping malls up to 50 percent capacity.
“Now that Riverside County is in the red tier, more of our local businesses that have been badly hurting throughout this pandemic can return indoors,” said Board Vice Chair Karen Spiegel. “As we continue our focus to slow and contain this virus, we must also focus on the recovery of our whole community. Reaching the red tier is an important step towards getting there.”
For more information on Riverside County’s case and positivity rate, as well as which businesses are currently allowed to reopen, please visit www.covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.
Additionally, the Board of Supervisors decided to consider, at their October 6 meeting, other potential options at the county level for reopening businesses.
“Now is the time to come together; to safely support our health, children, and livelihoods,” said Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, Fifth District.
***Update As of 09/10/20***
More residents needed for COVID testing to slow the spread, move into red tier
More residents needed for COVID testing to slow the spread, move into red tier
Riverside County residents are needed for coronavirus testing to continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus, as well as help the county emerge from the state’s most restrictive purple tier.
Coronavirus tests for active infections slows the spread of the disease by identifying infected individuals who can then be isolated as well as their close contacts. This process disrupts the disease, slows the spread of the disease and preserves space in our acute care hospitals.
In addition, increased testing supports moving into the next level of the state’s reopening plan (red tier) that will allow more businesses, as well as schools and places of worship to reopen indoors.
The county is currently designated for the purple tier, where the COVID-19 virus is considered widespread. Based on the state’s criteria, increased testing will result in a lower case rate, allowing the move to the red tier where the virus spread is considered substantial. Counties are placed within tiers because of their daily case rate (must be lower than seven new cases per 100,000 population) and positivity rate (lower than eight percent).
Riverside County reached the positivity rate that will allow it to move to the red tier (7.8 percent), but the case rate remains higher than the state’s requirement. This week, the state began adjusting the case rate higher for counties that are not meeting the state’s daily average testing volume, which brought Riverside County’s case rate from 7.4 to 8.6.
While Riverside County has the volume to test 4,000 people a day, only half that number have been getting tested at county and state testing sites in recent weeks. Health officials believe this is partly due to more private providers offering antigen and antibody testing, which is not calculated in the state’s testing metric for active infections.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in slowing the spread of the disease and we want residents to know that more testing will help us continue to disrupt the spread of the virus,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of the Riverside University Health System – Public Health. “At the beginning of the pandemic Riverside County led the state in per capita testing. We need to pick up our testing again – for both the purpose of isolating the sick and to help us safely reopen more parts of our community.”
Saruwatari said those with and without symptoms are encouraged to get tested, as well as younger people who traditionally have not gotten screened at the same rate as other groups.
“Testing is for everyone, regardless of immigration status or insurance, available for anyone with or without symptoms, and it is free,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “By getting tested, you are helping keep your family and our community healthy.”
There are 13 testing sites spread throughout Riverside County, both walk-in and drive-up services. To find locations and make an appointment, go online to gettested.ruhealth.org.
***Update As of 08/07/20***
The California Department of Public Health today released statewide interim guidance for institutions of higher education. The guidance is intended to help institutions and their communities plan and prepare to resume in-person instruction when appropriate based on local conditions.
“As colleges and other institutions of higher education plan to resume in-person instruction, it’s critical that campuses make modifications to reduce risk,” said Dr. Erica Pan, State Epidemiologist. “This guidance aims to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our students, families, and the communities where they study.”
A phased reopening of higher education institutions will depend on local conditions including epidemiologic trends, availability of campus and community testing resources, and adequate campus preparedness and public health capacity to respond to case and outbreak investigations.
The guidance identifies areas institutions of higher education must address as they consider resumption of in-person instruction. This includes:
- Complying with Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings.
- Establishing a campus-specific COVID-19 prevention plan.
- Implementing distancing on campus. Space seating/desks at least six feet apart.
- In San Bernardino County and other counties on the County Data Monitoring list for three consecutive days, indoor lectures are currently prohibited. Courses offered in specialized indoor settings (e.g., labs, studio arts), whose design imposes substantial physical distancing on participants based on the nature of work performed in the space, are permitted.
- Limit nonessential visitors and campus activities.
- Closing nonessential shared spaces, such as game rooms and lounges.
- Providing grab-and-go meal options or serve individually plated meals.
- Prioritizing single room occupancy for housing, except for family housing.
- Training faculty, staff and students on COVID-19 prevention.
- Encouraging telework for as many faculty and staff as possible, especially workers at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- When a student, faculty or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and has exposed others, the institution of higher education must conduct initial assessments then consult with local public health officials to determine potential follow-up actions needed including potential total or partial closure and other measures to protect the community.
The IHE guidance also outlines conditions under which collegiate athletics may return. This includes:
- Teams must require masks for coaches, staff, media and any players not engaged in play at each match.
- Practice may resume, only if regular periodic COVID-19 testing of athletes and support staff must be established and implemented by the institution of higher education. Isolation and quarantine will be required upon a positive test.
- Competition between teams without spectators can begin only if:
- The institution of higher education can provide COVID-19 testing and results within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk sports.
- Athletics departments should consider how to share testing results and related safety assurances to opposing teams before the start of an event in a manner consistent with applicable health information and education privacy laws.
- In conjunction with local public health officials and contact tracers, schools must in place a mechanism for notifying other schools should an athlete from one team test positive within 48 hours after competition with another team.
- Teams must follow the college athletic association (e.g., NCAA), conference-specific, and institutions of higher education-specific “return to play” safety plans.
Due to the higher risks associated with play, IHEs are expected to ensure full compliance with the state guidelines for college athletics. The state expects campus leaders to strictly adhere to these guidelines and to ensure player protections, including the preservation of scholarships and prohibition of requiring players to sign waivers of liability.
In addition, the state will be actively monitoring decisions by institutions of higher education and the NCAA, regarding protections to preserve eligibility through medical redshirts for players who exercise their right under the guidelines to opt-out for the season, and will take further action as necessary.
“California will consider further action if the NCAA or other sport institutions fail to meet these requirements and prioritize their economic interests over the health and well-being of players – and their families,” added Governor Gavin Newsom.
The institutions of higher education guidance is available in the COVID-19INDUSTRYGUIDANCE:Institutions of Higher Education.
California will continue to update and issue guidance based on the best available public health data and the best practices currently employed. More information about the state’s COVID-19 guidance is on the California Department of Public Health’s Guidance web page.
More information about reopening California and what individuals can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/.
***Update As of 08/05/20***
State and County OK resumption of youth sports – with restrictions
The State Department of Public Health has issued long-anticipated guidance allowing youth sports and physical education – including school-based, club, and recreational programs – to resume, as long as they are limited to groups of participants who regularly gather, such as a class or organized team, and only when physical distancing of at least six feet can be maintained.
Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent possible.
Sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not yet permitted either indoors or outdoors.
“This is an opportunity for young people to stay healthy, stay in shape, and be ready when the State allows team and other group activities to resume,” said San Bernardino County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. The County Health Officer has approved implementation of the guidance within San Bernardino County.
***Update As of 08/03/20***
State fixing technical issue causing lag in case reporting
Delay may give impression Riverside County cases are slowing down; not the case, say local health experts
Riverside County health officials urge the public to stay vigilant in protecting themselves from the coronavirus, despite an appearance the disease is slowing locally.
There is currently a technical issue with the California Department of Public Health’s electronic disease reporting system. The California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (commonly called CalREDIE) is experiencing delays.
Electronic laboratory reporting is not being submitted to CalREDIE’s system in a real-time manner. Riverside County’s positive cases in recent days may appear that the numbers are holding steady or flattening, but that’s simply not true, said Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari.
“This is an integration, technical issue,” Saruwatari said. “Simply put, there is a significant lag in how the information is being fed into the system. We’re anticipating significant increases in case reporting this week.”
This is why Saruwatari and the county’s Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said it’s as important as ever for residents to battle the virus in every way possible. Embracing the county’s new campaign – Masks are Medicine – is one way to do that, Dr. Kaiser said.
“Practicing social distancing, washing one’s hands routinely and wearing face coverings are critical steps to protecting yourself and your friends and loved ones,” Dr. Kaiser said. “We did it before and we can do it again.”
The California Department of Public Health informed public health departments of the delay in an e-mail on Friday (Aug. 1). Today, the CDPH informed local agencies that it is committed to resolving the issue as quickly as possible and has “urgently escalated this issue to leadership.”
Saruwatari said the delay impacts how public health workers can chase down cases for investigation, contact tracing and, ultimately, controlling the disease. The county’s testing positivity rate is also impacted by the delay.
Hospitalization and death rates are not impacted as they are reported directly to the county through different systems. A total of 737 residents have succumbed to COVID-19 and roughly 425 residents are currently being cared for in Riverside County hospitals. More than 38,000 have tested positive for the virus.
“We’re hopeful this technical issue will be resolved quickly so we can continue our fight to protect our county residents,” Saruwatari said.
***Update As of 07/31/20***
County Overcomes COVID Testing Supply Shortage with New Supplier
All residents urged to get tested at convenient sites using easy-to-use nasal swabs
Responding to a recent statewide shortage in COVID-19 testing materials, San Bernardino County has contracted with a new supplier to secure an adequate supply of test equipment and is now encouraging all County residents to get tested.
“Now that our testing capacity has expanded and stabilized, we hope that every resident, regardless of whether they have experienced any symptoms, will make an appointment to get tested,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Testing is free, painless, takes only a few minutes, and can be obtained without a doctor’s prescription.”
The County is now offering testing with an appointment at 10 locations, using an easy-to-administer nasal self-swab. Results can also be expected in no more than 5 days, but usually within 72 hours. There is no cost to take the test, however County residents will be asked to enter insurance information when setting an appointment in order to assist taxpayers in recouping some of the costs associated with testing.
New supplier, improved nasal tests
The County’s new supplier is Fulgent Genetics, a Southern California-based genetics testing company that provides diagnostic testing for improved patient care. The company’s COVID-19 polymersace chain reaction (PCR) tests involve a relatively short nasal swab, which most patients consider much less uncomfortable than the longer “nasopharyngeal swabs” commonly used earlier during the pandemic. Fulgent collaborates with Healthvana, an HIPAA-secure information portal, to provide test results 3-5 days after testing.
The County has established testing sites In Fontana, Hesperia, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino and Victorville, along with the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. In addition, tests (and other services) are provided to underserved and vulnerable populations at County Health Centers in Adelante, Hesperia, Ontario and San Bernardino.
In addition, COVID-19 testing is being conducted at various state-run testing sites, as well as sites operated by private clinics, certain Rite-Aid Pharmacy locations, and HMO-operated facilities. State sites and private clinics may be using providers other than Fulgent, and testing methods vary at these other locations. Residents are encouraged to visit the County’s Testing Sites webpage to see all the County, state and private testing options, and to schedule an appointment.
Benefits of widespread testing
Public health experts believe that many of the people who carry the coronavirus do not know it, since they exhibit no symptoms of the disease (referred to as asymptomatic carriers). As a result, hundreds of thousands of infected people could be unintentionally spreading the virus to others.
“Increasing the number of people tested is essential to lowering the infection rate, getting the County back to work, and allowing recently reopened businesses to stay open,” said County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. “Testing gives us a better idea of community spread and the scope of infections, and helps us concentrate medical resources where they are needed most. And working in concert with our contact tracing team, we can better stop the spread of the virus.”
Expanded testing and lowering our positivity rate will help San Bernardino County get off the state’s Monitoring List and allow more flexibility in our reopening efforts.
Porter cautioned, however, that a negative test result should not be seen as permission to stop being cautious.
“Regardless of your test results, you still need to avoid gathering with people outside your immediate household.” Porter said. “You also should continue social distancing, continue wearing a face covering whenever in public, and diligent washing of your hands. Expanding our testing is an essential step in our war against COVID, but we’ve already seen what can happen if we relax prematurely.”
To learn more about the County’s testing program, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
***Update As of 07/27/20***
Antibody study shows coronavirus spread wider in Riverside County
Wearing a face covering will slow the spread from asymptomatic carriers
Results of a COVID-19 antibody testing study indicate the virus may have infected more than 100,000 Riverside County residents. This finding underscores the need to wear face coverings as people may have the virus without any symptoms, then easily spread it to others when not wearing a mask or keeping six feet of distance.
The randomized study, the results of which are still being analyzed, was conducted over two weekends this month. Riverside County health officials originally planned to test 3,500 randomly selected residents to determine whether they had been exposed to coronavirus and developed COVID-19 antibodies.
Here are some preliminary results from the study:
- 1,726 individuals were tested and 101 showed they had developed antibodies for COVID-19, this is a positivity rate of 5.9 percent.
- 1,621 tested negative; Four had unclear results.
- Based on that data, it is estimated there have been between 118,000 and 175,400 infections in Riverside County.
This study describes the prevalence of COVID-19, which will be used to inform planning efforts. This study is unique in that it included both children (5 years and older) and adults. Antibodies are part of the body’s defense against infections. Antibodies develop and stay in the blood even after the infection is over.
Public Health is not creating a list of participants and will not collect the individual information from the study.
“The data gleaned from the study provides important information that will help guide our efforts and direction as we move forward,” said Dr. Errin Rider, laboratory director for Riverside University Health System-Public Health. “We appreciate those who agreed to take part in the study; they have contributed to the fight against the pandemic.”
Residents could not volunteer for the study, in part, because health officials wanted a more representative sampling of the community.
“We believe the number and variety of participants shows the study successfully recruited an excellent representation of the community and accurately reflects the prevalence of the antibody in Riverside County,” said Dr. Tait Stevens, with Riverside University Health System and co-author of the study.
As a reminder, the medical community does not yet know the extent of the benefits of testing positive for coronavirus antibodies. For example, it is not yet known if someone can contract the virus again after testing positive for antibodies.
“We continue to learn new information about coronavirus, and this survey adds important research to the growing knowledge of COVID-19,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “We still must protect everybody out there who is susceptible to getting sick, and we should do so by wearing face coverings, physical distancing, washing our hands and avoiding gatherings.”
***Update As of 07/24/20***
Riverside County to give out 10 million masks as part of ‘Masks are Medicine’ campaign
As part of a community action plan to reverse the trend in rising cases and stop the spread of COVID-19, Riverside County officials are giving away 10 million masks as part of a new “Masks are Medicine” campaign that includes a pledge campaign.
“Because we do not have a vaccine or cure for COVID, masks are one of the safest, cheapest, and most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, ambulatory care director with the Riverside University Health System (RUHS). “Good handwashing, physical distancing, and covering the face can decrease our risk for infection by 95 percent. If we had a medicine that could decrease our risk of getting COVID by 95 percent, everyone would be taking it. This is why we must treat masks as are our medicine.”
The masks will be distributed by local nonprofits working in the community, as well as houses of worship, senior meal delivery programs and local businesses. In addition, everyone who visits a county or state-run testing location, will receive masks. Today, the county distributed more than 50,000 of these masks to local nonprofit organizations.
“We want to give you something beyond words. These masks will help us stop the spread,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of RUHS-Public Health. “We also know that this disease has a disproportionate impact on under privileged communities and communities of color. We don’t want access to face coverings to contribute to that. We will work with our nonprofit partners to get these masks into the hands of the hard to reach populations.”
As an important reminder, the county is asking everyone to join the fight against COVID by making a pledge or promise to wear a face cover whenever leaving the home and to avoid social gatherings. Starting today, visit PledgeToFightCOVID.com to sign the pledge and learn more about how you can help us stop the spread and control the pandemic in Riverside County.
“I am especially concerned for our frontline workers, including those working in grocery stores, nursing facilities and agricultural fields. As a matter of fact, farmworkers are contracting the virus at twice the normal rate,” said Board Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “We all must do our part. Face coverings, along with physical distancing and handwashing, altogether can decrease risk by up to 95 percent. The economy and wearing face coverings go hand-in-hand and should not be seen as mutually exclusive. Masks are the medicine and how we can protect ourselves and our fellow neighbors to get people back to work.”
If each person can encourage one other person to remember to cover the face and avoid social gatherings, Riverside County can reverse the rise in cases during the next 30 days. In this way, the health of our families, community and economy are all tied together.
***Update As of 07/20/20***
State Changes Course Again on Hair and Nail Salons and Barbershops: Outdoor Operations Now Allowed
The governor today announced that after some back and forth last week hair salons, nail salons, barbershops and other personal care services are now allowed to operate outdoors under specific guidance issued by the State today.
The new guidance also applies to esthetic, skin care, cosmetology and massage therapy in non-healthcare settings.
Electrology, tattooing and piercing services may not be provided in outdoor settings because they are invasive procedures that require a controlled hygienic environment to be performed safely.
You might recall that last week the State announced it was limiting these services to the outdoors in counties on the State Monitoring List, including San Bernardino County. Later in the week, the State announced outdoor service would not be allowed due to existing California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology regulations. That changed today.
California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology regulations along with those of Cal/OSHA still apply, but hair salons and barbershops may operate outdoors in Monitoring List counties if the following guidance is followed:
-Outdoor operations may be conducted under a tent, canopy, or other sun shelter as long as no more than one side is closed, allowing sufficient outdoor air movement.
-Salons and barbershops should not perform a service that would require a customer to have to enter the establishment.
-Ensure any outdoor shade or outdoor working area has the same ventilation and airflow as the outdoors. Outdoor shaded areas can be configured to block wind but cannot be enclosed or partially enclosed on more than one side in a way that otherwise restricts normal airflow.
-Rewiring and the use of electrical extension cords can increase the likelihood of electrical hazards, including fire and electrocution. Ensure that outdoor operations comply with Cal/OSHA and all code requirements.
-Ensure there are no tripping hazards from cords or other equipment in outdoor work areas.
-Use skin protection when not under shade.
-Stop operations, move away from electrical wiring and equipment, and seek indoor shelter if there is lightning within six miles of your location.
Business owners should refer to the official new guidance for hair salons and barbershops and personal care services. More information can be found on the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology website.
Avoiding and Identifying COVID-19 Scams
It’s sad, but true: whenever the nation suffers a crisis, criminals seek to take advantage — and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Scammers have exploited the crisis to find new ways to cash in at the expense of residents.
Fraud reports have spiked due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, leaving many residents unsure how to avoid scams or report them to authorities. Following are examples of common frauds and tips for recognizing them and avoid being scammed:
Fake at-home COVID-19 testing kits or vaccinations
Scammers may email you or post advertisements on social media promoting remedies to cure or keep you safe from COVID-19. These ads are completely misleading and are tailored to take as much of your money as possible. Moreover, these kits can also negatively impact your health by exposing you to unknown chemicals.
There are no FDA-authorized home test kits or vaccinations for the coronavirus. Visit sites like coronavirus.gov and usa.gov/coronavirus to check for any official medical breakthrough that may occur in the future.
You may be contacted by criminals impersonating the IRS who ask about your stimulus check or request your personal information, claiming such information is necessary if you are to receive future financial support. In reality, the IRS will never call you or contact you via email or text.
Do not provide any personal information — especially with credit card or social security numbers — to anyone contacting you regarding your stimulus check. They are only pretending to be the IRS.
Robocalls are often used by scammers to try and sell you phony low-priced health insurance and work-at-home schemes. Hang up immediately on illegal robocalls. Avoid pressing any numbers during the call as that may lead to more robocalls in the future.
Check with your phone service provider to see if they offer any spam call filters, and be sure to also register yourself on the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce robocalls to your phone.
Scammers often pretend to be representatives of a legitimate charity and prey on a person’s goodwill by asking for donations to their cause. They may call or email you for donations with no (or fake) proof of official affiliation to a charity they claim to be representing. By donating, your money will end up in the scammers’ pockets and not with the charity you were hoping to support.
Always do your homework before donating and make sure you only submit funds through the charity’s official channels, such as its website or official address. Never respond to a charity that asks for donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
***Update As of 07/17/20***
State Limits County Schools to Distance Learning to Start School Year
Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced a new policy affecting all K-12 schools in those counties on the State’s Monitoring List — which currently includes San Bernardino County. The new policy mandates that schools limit instruction to distance learning until the County is removed from the Monitoring List for 14 days — at which point they may resume in-person instruction with specific guidelines and limitations.
“This announcement reaffirms how important it is for all County residents and businesses to work together so we can move off the state’s Monitoring List,” said Corwin Porter, interim director of the County’s Department of Public Health.
The Monitoring List also governs whether we can reopen business sectors. It points to specific criteria in elevated case transmission, hospitalization and ICU bed capacity. Residents can monitor our County’s daily progress for these essential criteria on our COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard under the CDPH Monitoring tab.
“Rigorous distance learning”
In his announcement today, Gov. Newsom stressed the importance of “rigorous distance learning” and noted there will be state assistance in technology devices.
“The virus will be with us for a year or more, and school districts must provide meaningful instruction in the midst of this pandemic,” the governor said in a statement. “Students, staff and parents all prefer in-classroom instruction, but only if it can be done safely.”
In his press conference, Gov. Newsom addressed distance learning by saying teachers must have live daily interactions with students, challenging assignments and work that can be adapted for ESL and special education students.
Strict criteria announced when schools do re-open
When our County is allowed to reopen – subject to staying off the Monitoring List for 14 days – all staff and students in third grade and above will be required to wear masks, have symptom checks to enter school, and have sanitation stations. In addition, social distancing between students and teachers are required.
The state’s new guidelines largely conform to a COVID-19 Guide and Toolkit in development by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health in consultation with County school districts. The toolkit, which is being modified in consideration of the State’s announcement today, will offer specific guidance for how schools should respond to the emergence of positive cases of COVID-19 among students, teachers, staff and school visitors. It will list actions school officials should take to isolate and protect individuals who have tested positive or have possibly been exposed to the virus, as well as guidance for implementing contact tracing to curtail further infections.
“We will continue to work closely with school districts in the County to help them prepare for resumption of in-person instructions when conditions permit,” Porter said. “The Toolkit will be an invaluable tool once we gain permission to reopen in-person instruction.”
***Update As of 07/13/20***
More businesses required to move activities outdoors or close
Effective today, more businesses in Riverside County are now required to move their activities outdoors as part of statewide actions to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The governor’s announcement today impacts 30 counties, including Riverside County, that are on the state’s monitoring list. Newsom said the order to move activities outdoors was necessary to reduce the spread of coronavirus and curb the recent increase in hospitalizations. Riverside County has experienced a steady rise in confirmed cases, hospitalizations and patients requiring intensive care dating back to Memorial Day.
Those businesses that cannot move activities outside must close.
The new restrictions include:
— Fitness centers and gyms
— Worship services
— Offices for non-critical sectors
— Personal care services
— Hair salons and barbershops
These businesses may still do curb-side retail, so long as there are no indoor operations.
“As we struggle with national laboratory issues artificially depressing new case counts, people need to realize we’re far from being out of the woods,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “Summer heat isn’t stopping COVID-19, but for some of these sectors, the heat means there may be no good way to do them outdoors. We need to reduce the impact on our hospitals by reducing transmission, and as long as the numbers keep rising, the state’s need to reimpose restrictions will keep rising too.”
Riverside County health officials remind all residents that in addition to these new restrictions, there is still a statewide stay at home order in effect and residents should not gather with family and friends who live in different households, attend parties or join social gatherings. These are known places where the disease is spread.
Riverside County officials also remind residents to get screened at one of the many coronavirus testing sites located throughout the region. More than 270,000 tests have been conducted in Riverside County so far. For more information on testing, click www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus/testing.
***Update As of 07/08/20***
National Testing Supply Shortage Impacting County Testing Capabilities
For the immediate short term, San Bernardino County will be limiting COVID-19 testing in response to severe supply chain disruptions. The County hopes to resume its expanded testing regime by next week, once it obtains adequate testing supplies.
“There have been concerns about testing supply shortages throughout the state and within our county,” said Interim County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. “We are continuously trying to obtain the necessary resources to ensure that we can provide testing in our county at peak capacity.”
The supply shortage is not limited to San Bernardino County, but rather is affecting communities around the state and the nation. According to a recent survey by the Association for Molecular Pathology, more than 70% of U.S. clinical laboratories have suffered significant delays to COVID-19 testing programs as a result of ongoing supply chain disruptions. The organization said that the expansion of COVD-19 testing capacity at laboratories around the country has put pressure on supply chains that handle reagents and other materials used to learn whether a patient is infected.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly acknowledged the state is facing a testing supply shortage.
“As more states begin to scale their testing capabilities, new constraints are materializing within the supply chain,” Ghaly said. “Simultaneously, laboratories are becoming overwhelmed with high numbers of specimens, slowing down processing timelines.” He urged laboratories to “prioritize testing turnaround for individuals who are most at risk of spreading the virus to others.”
Those with existing appointments should check their email to learn if their appointment has been cancelled.
“Our hope is that we can obtain the necessary supplies very soon so that we can maintain our testing capacity,” Porter said. “Without a sufficient supply of tests, this will bring challenges in identifying cases and treating those who are diagnosed positive for COVID-19. Tests are necessary to identify and isolate positive cases quickly so that we can keep the virus from spreading throughout our county.”
The County will share news and updates immediately when we confirm testing supplies are adequate to meet demand.
Outdoor Dining Guidelines Released
With temporary restrictions now in place on certain indoor business operations, including indoor dining, we have announced the following guidelines for businesses in unincorporated areas that wish to temporarily relocate indoor seating from a permitted facility for outdoor COVID-compliant dining:
-These guidelines apply to businesses in the unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County. Businesses within a specific city need to understand that city’s specific requirements.
-Due to the temporary nature of the restrictions, relocating indoor seating to outdoors will be considered in substantial conformance with existing County permits. Only a courtesy COVID compliance/safety inspection is required.
-A maximum of 50% on-site parking spaces may be converted to dining space.
-Outdoor seating must maintain six feet of separation between tables.
-Outdoor dining must not encroach into drive aisles, or conflict with any vehicle traffic or pedestrian access to the facility.
-Encroachment permits are required for any obstruction in public right-of-way.
-Other permit requirements, including hours of operation, remain in effect.
-Outdoor dining must not impede disabled access.
-CAL/OSHA and Department of Public Health requirements remain in effect.
-Temporary authorization from ABC is required for outdoor alcohol service.
-Contact County Code Enforcement at (909) 884-4056 for a courtesy inspection.
If you have any questions about these requirements before calling for an inspection, please go online or contact the Planning Division at (909) 387-8311.
***Update As of 07/03/20***
Public service announcement: Stay at home this Fourth of July
Riverside County created a public service announcement calling on all residents and visitors to avoid social gatherings this Fourth of July due to the danger of spreading COVID-19. Social gatherings are a known source of spreading the disease.
U.S. Army veteran Ralph Duarte and employee of the Riverside County Department of Veterans Services provided the voiceover for the video in both English and Spanish. Duarte is a Coachella Valley resident who served as an army ranger with the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Bennington, GA.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has continued to sharply rise recently, along with hospitalizations and ICU usage throughout all of Southern California. This week, the county has reported new records throughout the week for the number of cases reported in a single day.
Health officials are concerned the Independence Day weekend could cause a spike if residents do not adhere to safety guidelines. Everyone has a part to play in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of the disease.
The simple actions of wearing required face coverings, maintaining social distancing and frequent handwashing can reduce the spread by up to 95 percent. “If there was a medicine we could take that would protect us up to 95 percent, we would all take it,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, ambulatory director at Riverside University Health System – Medical Center.
Watch the public service announcement here: https://vimeo.com/434961119.
***Update As of 07/01/20***
Gov. Newsom Mandates Closing of Bars and Certain Indoor Operations
Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced immediate mandated restrictions on certain indoor business operations in 19 California counties, including the County of San Bernardino, which have been on a watch list for COVID-19 outbreaks.
In addition to mandating the closure of all bars in the 19 counties, the state has ordered the closing of indoor operations for restaurants; movie theaters; family entertainment centers; wineries, breweries and tasting rooms; card rooms; and zoos and museums. Newsom noted that the state is in discussions with tribal sovereign nations such as the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians regarding casino operations.
The governor imposed the restrictions on indoor activities in advance of the July 4 holiday weekend – a time when officials fear the worst if some Californians continue to ignore safety guidelines and businesses that encourage gatherings remain open. The new restrictions will be in place for at least three weeks, after which the state will reevaluate the situation.
“Your Board of Supervisors discussed the possibility of new restrictions, and while we’re disappointed in the mandate, it’s not entirely surprising based on our County’s spike in cases and hospitalizations,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We simply have to do better in the fight against this virus. It is still not the time to get together with friends and extended families. And wearing masks while in public really has to become second nature.”
Newsom and other public health officials have largely attributed the recent spike in cases to people ignoring social distancing and mask-wearing protocols. The governor also expressed concerns about gatherings of friends and extended families during the Independence Day weekend, urging people to limit such gatherings to those who share a household.
“Each of us has the power to limit the spread of this virus. Wear a face covering and keep physically distant outside the home. Don’t gather in groups, and if you are older or have a condition that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19, protect yourself by staying home,” said the governor.
Newsom said that the state, which is now averaging almost 90,000 tests a day, had 5,898 new cases yesterday, along with 110 deaths. Over the past 14 days the state has seen a 51 percent increase in hospitalizations and a 47 percent increase in ICU admissions.
“We don’t like the trendline, and that’s why we’re initiating this ‘dimmer switch’ effort to start pulling back,” Newsom said.
***Update As of 06/29/20***
Bars ordered closed in Riverside County in response to upswing in coronavirus cases
Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser has ordered all bars in Riverside County closed to help slow the spread of coronavirus, which has seen a recent upswing in confirmed cases.
The order, which is effective Tuesday (June 30), comes on the heels of a recommendation from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who suggested Sunday that Riverside and seven other counties on a watch list close their drinking establishments. Newsom also ordered on Sunday that seven counties, including Los Angeles County, close their bars.
“People don’t social distance well after a couple drinks, and it’s one of the hardest environments to trace contacts in,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “My hope is that this will be only temporary and further closures won’t be needed, but it all depends on what every one of us as a county do to slow more spread.”
Bars had been allowed to operate in Riverside County since June 12 as the region and state reopened the economy under accelerated stage two. But local and state health officials became concerned as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases started to grow, along with an increase in hospitalizations and ICU beds in use.
“Since mid-June, there has been a growing health crisis with rising coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and ICU bed usage throughout our nation, the State of California and here in Riverside County,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “A local Riverside County order on bar closures has unfortunately become necessary to slow the spread of this virus. I want to remind everyone that facial coverings are a requirement, and encourage continuously keeping physical distance and washing our hands.”
Restaurants, pubs and breweries that offer dine-in services may still offer alcoholic drinks, but only in the same transaction as a meal. If a bar offers meals, they are required to comply with the same industry guidance as restaurants.
In Riverside County, officials with the Department of Environmental Health will enforce the closure order, starting with reaching out to all impacted bars, pubs, breweries and restaurants to explain the order and impacts to their operations. Officials said they believe most bars will comply with the order, but those who do not may face additional action.
***Update As of 06/18/20***
Statewide face covering requirement responds to increased cases, supports local reopening efforts
Riverside County officials urge everyone to follow the state’s face covering requirement to curb the recent increase in coronavirus cases, as well as support local reopening efforts.
Cases of coronavirus have increased, which is an expected outcome resulting from people visiting more places in the community. Riverside County officials continue to urge all residents, employees and business operators to take necessary safety steps to slow the spread of the disease.
“This pandemic has hit hard all of our communities. But in particular, people of color and vulnerable communities such as seniors, farm workers and those with compromised immune systems. We see a rise in positive cases and hospital bed usage in the county but more so in the Coachella Valley,” said Chair V. Manuel Perez, Fourth District Supervisor. “Social distancing, washing our hands and wearing facial coverings are all simple measures that we can all abide by to protect ourselves and our fellow neighbors. I am happy that our Governor has made this decision.”
Coronavirus spreads through droplets expelled while sneezing, coughing or talking. People who carry the disease and do not show symptoms can still spread the disease to others. Covering the nose and mouth with a cloth face covering, bandana or neck gaiter, keeps these droplets in.
Face coverings should be washed regularly to keep clean. Public health officials also remind residents to keep six feet of distance between others while in public and to frequently wash their hands.
***Update As of 06/12/20***
Nail salons, tattoo studios and other personal services OK to open June 19
The State Department of Public Health this afternoon, June 12, issued guidance that will allow nail salons, tattoo studios, and other personal care services to open back up beginning June 19.
The guidance, https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/expanded-personal-services.pdf, covers “expanded personal care services,” which includes personal care that requires touching a client’s face, such as facials, electrolysis, and waxing. The guidance applies to esthetician, skin care, and cosmetology services; electrology; nail salons; body art professionals, tattoo parlors, and piercing shops; and massage therapy in non-healthcare settings. This guidance is intended to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.
The State is not yet allowing youth sports outside of day camp settings, indoor playgrounds, live theater, saunas and steam rooms, nightclubs, concert venues, festivals, theme parks, and higher education to reopen.
***Update As of 05/25/20***
New guidelines allow places of worship to resume services
The County today announced the reopening of places of worship with new State-specified guidelines. Under the new State guidance, issued this morning, places of worship can hold religious services, including funerals, if attendance is limited to 25 percent of a building’s capacity, but no more than 100 attendees.
“This is a great first step for our residents of faith who have refrained from gathering for more than two months,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “The COVID-19 virus is still very present throughout our county. With places of worship, dine-in restaurants, stores, and malls now suddenly open, it is more important than ever that we practice physical distancing, wear face coverings in public, and frequently wash our hands to protect ourselves and those around us.”
The State this morning issued new guidance for religious services and cultural ceremonies, https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-places-of-worship.pdf, that encourage organizations to continue online services and activities, especially for the protection of those who are most at risk from COVID-19, including older adults and people with specific medical conditions.
To reopen for religious services and funerals, places of worship must:
- Establish and implement a COVID-19 prevention plan for every location, train staff on the plan, and regularly evaluate workplaces for compliance.
- Train employees and volunteers on COVID-19, including how to prevent it from spreading and which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting the virus.
- Implement cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
- Set physical distancing guidelines.
- Recommend that staff and guests wear cloth face coverings, and screen staff for temperature and symptoms at the beginning of their shifts.
- Set parameters around or consider eliminating singing and group recitations. These activities dramatically increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For this reason, congregants engaging in singing, particularly in the choir, and group recitation should wear face coverings at all times and when possible, these activities should be conducted outside with greater than 6-foot distancing.
Not adhering to all of the guidelines in their entirely could result in the spread of illness and the re-closing of places of worship. In 21 days, the State Department of Public Health, in consultation with the County Department of Public Health, will review and assess the impact of the religious services guidelines and provide further direction as part of a phased-in restoration of activities. This 21-day interval accounts for seven days for religious communities to prepare and reopen in addition to a 14-day incubation period of COVID-19.
Local information about COVID-19 can be found on the County’s COVID-19 website, http://sbcovid19.com.
***Update As of 05/24/20***
County opens five walk-up COVID-19 testing sites starting Tuesday
The County has added five walk-up COVID-19 testing sites throughout the county.
Rancho Cucamonga – Rancho Sports Center, 8303 Rochester Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, May 28 – 29, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Ontario – Ontario Convention Center North, 1947 Convention Center Way, Ontario, May 28 – 29, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Rialto – Department of Behavioral Health Auditorium, 850 E. Foothill Blvd., Rialto, May 26, 12 – 3:30 p.m., May 27 – 29, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Hesperia – Oaks Hills Fire Station (Old Fire Station 40), 6584 Caliente Rd., Hesperia, May 26, 12 – 3:30 p.m.
May 27 – 29, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Joshua Tree – Copper Mountain College, 6162 Rotary Way, Joshua Tree, May 26, 12 – 2 p.m., May 27 – 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
All county testing sites are free of charge and do not require health insurance. Testing is available for individuals with or without symptoms of COVID-19 by appointment only. Residents can register for an appointment at sbcovid19.com. Residents who cannot register online can call the COVID-19 hotline at (909) 387-3911, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note that the COVID-19 hotline will be closed on Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day.
County residents are encouraged to get tested even if they are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. Testing helps health officials track the virus in the county and helps with efforts to reopen businesses.
Additional testing sites are still being held in the Victor Valley Area, hosted by OptumServe in partnership with the California Department of Public Health. State testing is conducted at the following locations in the Victor Valley area:
Victor Valley College
71 Mojave Fish Hatchery Rd., Victorville
May 26 – 30, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Victorville Activities Center
15075 Hesperia Rd., Victorville
May 26 – 29, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
12000 Stadium Way, Adelanto
May 26 – 29, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
State testing is available for any individuals with or without symptoms of COVID-19 by appointment only. Appointments can be made by visiting https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 1-888-634-1123. Please note that phone registration will only be used for people without internet access. Testing is free for all individuals, including those who are uninsured, underinsured, undocumented, or homeless. Individual testing results are confidential.
To date, more than 51,000 San Bernardino County residents have been tested at various community testing sites, as well as hospitals, health clinics, and private labs. As of today, there have been 4,365 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 176 deaths.
For information about the coronavirus crisis, visit the County’s coronavirus website at sbcovid19.com. New information and resources are updated daily. The public can also contact the COVID-19 hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (909) 387-3911, or email the County at email@example.com.
*** Update As of 05/23/20***
County cleared to reopen restaurants, stores and malls
Because San Bernardino County has flattened the COVID-19 curve and secured the resources needed to continue keeping the novel coronavirus under control, dine-in restaurants, stores and malls can now reopen with safety measures throughout the county after a state-ordered shutdown that lasted more than two months.
“San Bernardino County businesses and residents worked very hard and made tremendous sacrifices to make this moment possible,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Your efforts to keep our community safe and healthy have paid off. We can now proceed significantly further toward resuming our normal lives.”
“This virus is still very present throughout our county, state and nation, so we must remain vigilant by physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing our hands often. But our goal of minimizing illness and building the capacity to protect the vulnerable, serve the sick, and track the virus in our communities has been achieved,” Hagman said.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to our public health and healthcare professionals, who are putting in long hours on the front lines of this battle, and to our County Government team for working around the clock in support of those efforts,” he said.
The California Department of Public Health on Saturday, May 23, approved the county’s request to reopen more businesses as part of the governor’s accelerated phase two. The county submitted a revised request to move into the next phase on Friday, May 22 based on the new criteria announced by the state on Monday, May 18.
As part of the accelerated Stage 2 phase of the state recovery plan, destination retail stores, including shopping malls and swap meets, and dine-in restaurants can now reopen in San Bernardino County. Businesses that plan to reopen are required to follow state guidance detailed at https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/. Gyms, hair and nail salons, barber shops, movie theaters, sports and entertainment venues, libraries, bars and wineries, hotels and motels, and public swimming facilities won’t be authorized to reopen until stages 3 and 4.
Drive-in and virtual worship services and faith-based counseling services are authorized to proceed, and the governor said additional guidance for religious services will be announced on Monday, May 25.
The governor on Monday announced new benchmarks counties had to achieve to accelerate business reopening. The announcement came shortly after San Bernardino County sent the governor two letters seeking flexibility in charting a course for recovery. One letter was signed by the Board of Supervisors and the mayors of the county’s 24 cities and towns, the other was a joint letter from the counties of San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego, which combined account for about a third of the state’s population.
“Our efforts clearly made a difference,” Hagman said. “Our goal now, besides achieving additional openings, is to keep our businesses open by continuing to keep our curve flat by taking precautions and avoiding unnecessary risk.”
The county is helping small businesses operate safely and stay open through the COVID-Compliant Business Partnership Program. By agreeing to enforce physical distancing, require customers and employees to wear face coverings, and practicing prudent hygiene, small businesses can receive up to $2,500 to implement those measures. Businesses can apply through the county’s COVID-19 website, http://sbcovid19.com.
Businesses should also heed county and state guidance for a safe and sustainable reopening:
San Bernardino County Readiness and Reopening Plan:
State guidance for dine-in restaurants:
State guidance for shopping centers:
State guidance for retail:
*** Update As of 05/22/20***
State approves Riverside County’s readiness to move to accelerated stage 2
The California Department of Public Health approved the county’s request to reopen more businesses, as part of the governor’s accelerated phase two. The county submitted a revised request to move into the next phase on Thursday, May 21 based on the new criteria announced by the state earlier this week.
As part of the state’s accelerated stage two, the following locations can now reopen in Riverside County: destination retail stores, including shopping malls and swap meets; dine-in restaurants; and schools with modifications. Pease note, the local health order prohibiting primary schools for grades K-12 is still in effect until June 19.
“This is a huge success for the county and our local businesses that Riverside County was approved for regional variance by the California Department of Public Health,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “That means that Riverside County is now in the accelerated stage 2.5 in the state’s reopening plan, and we can safely reopen shopping centers and restaurants for dining in, all with modifications. While we are excited to move into stage 2.5, and we look forward to the state allowing more sectors of the economy to open in the coming days and weeks, I emphasize that we can’t let our guard down when it comes to protecting ourselves and our communities from the coronavirus.”
The governor on Monday announced the expansion of the avenues of eligibility for counties to accelerate business reopening in a phased approach. The governor’s announcement follows a letter sent by Riverside County along with other Southern California counties that comprise over a quarter of the state’s population seeking consideration of criteria to make urban counties eligible for regional variances.
“Because of the hard work and sacrifices of the community, we have been able to take positive steps and reduce the impact of the epidemic,” said Vice Chair Karen Spiegel, Riverside County supervisor. “The data demonstrates that we are moving in a positive direction and we want to continue that trend. We look forward to reopening our regional economy in a safe and methodical manner.”
Businesses are encouraged to implement guidelines available on the county’s website at www.RivCoBiz.org for modifications and other measures to keep employees, customers and clients safe. Specific statewide guidance for dine-in restaurants and shopping centers is also available on this site.
*** Update As of 05/18/20***
Two new walk-up coronavirus testing sites opened in Riverside County
Riverside County health officials are adding two walk-in testing sites – one in Moreno Valley and the other in Cathedral City — for those interested in being screened for coronavirus.
Testing at Crossword Christian Church in Moreno Valley and the Cathedral City Public Library started Monday and will continue Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The church is located at 21401 Box Springs Road, while the library is located at 33520 Date Palm Drive.
These are the first walk-in sites operated by the county; the four others are drive up sites located in Indio, Lake Elsinore, Perris and Riverside.
“As we continue our response to this epidemic, we have refocused our efforts to test as many Riverside County residents as possible,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of Riverside County public health. “These two sites and others that are in the planning process will help reach that goal.”
So far, more than 80,000 Riverside County residents have been tested at the county’s four sites, along with screenings at clinics, hospitals, private labs and other locations. There are also eight state-run, walk-in testing sites located throughout Riverside County.
Testing at the county-run sites is open to anyone, whether they have symptoms or not, and there are no out-of-pocket costs to individuals. Participants will be asked to provide information about their health insurance, but they will not be charged any share of costs or copay, and will be allowed to get tested even if they do not provide the insurance information. You must have an appointment to get tested.
To make an appointment at a county-operated site, call 800-945-6171. To make an online appointment at the state-run testing site, click https://lhi.care/covidtesting or those without internet access can call 888-634-1123.
*** Update As of 05/08/20***
Riverside County reverts to state orders
Most local health orders to be rescinded in alignment with governor’s orders
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 tonight at a special board meeting to direct the rescission of most local health orders to align with the governor’s statewide stay at home order.
Starting tomorrow, face coverings and six feet of social distancing will be strongly recommended whenever practical and within reason. Limitations on short term rentals and golf course operations will be rescinded and in alignment with state orders.
The board also voted to keep local orders in place for primary schools (i.e., grades K-12), and remove local restrictions on higher education and vocational schools.
Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser and Director of Emergency Services George Johnson plan to sign the amended school order and the rescission of the remaining three orders tomorrow, May 9.
Tonight’s board action also included adopting a best practices framework to guide the development for reopening Riverside County businesses, a plan that is expected to go before the board on Tuesday, May 12.
The county will continue to provide support to Riverside County cities with questions on how the governor’s orders apply locally.
*** Update As of 05/08/20***
Face coverings now optional, but still encouraged
Face coverings are no longer required – but still strongly recommended – in San Bernardino County as the result of new health order requested by the Board of Supervisors.
The new order repeals the April 23 omnibus health order that required face coverings as well as social distancing at essential businesses, and banned gatherings and short-term rentals.
Although no longer regulated by a county health order, gatherings and short-term rentals are still prohibited and social distancing at essential businesses are still required under the state’s “stay-at-home” order.
“The County strongly urges everyone to continue wearing face coverings in public to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and businesses may still require face coverings for customers and employees,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “But repealing the local health orders and deferring to the less-restrictive state orders will allow the County to reopen businesses more quickly as the governor continues to relax standards.”
Many types of businesses were allowed to reopen today under certain conditions. The Board of Supervisors on Thursday adopted a Readiness and Reopening Plan and made plans to seek the governor’s consent to open many other types of businesses next week. The board plans to discuss additional details on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. That meeting can be viewed on the CountyDirect Broadcast Network at http://www.sbcounty.gov/Main/Pages/ViewMeetings.aspx.
*** Update As of 05/05/20***
State testing sites to open in Riverside County
Eight new locations will test additional 1,000 people per day
Riverside County residents who want to be tested for coronavirus will be able to choose among eight new testing sites being offered by state health officials starting Wednesday.
The locations, which are spread throughout the county, are in addition to the four drive-up testing sites – Perris, Indio, Riverside and Lake Elsinore – that are operated by Riverside County health officials.
The new sites are being operated by OptumServe, a firm hired by the state to conduct testing, and each location can process up to 132 people daily. The service is free and those wanting to be tested can be asymptomatic, but must have an appointment.
“One of our key initiatives is to test as many people as possible and these new sites, combined with the testing we have already been able to complete through our county-run locations, will provide a good measure of what is happening with the spread of coronavirus,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of Riverside University Health System – Public Health.
Appointments can be made online by going to https://lhi.care/covidtesting or those without internet access can call 888-634-1123. Testing is available for everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status, and is no cost to the resident.
“Testing is a top priority of Riverside County and the State of California, and I am pleased with this incredible partnership with the state to expand testing,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “I am particularly glad we will have testing sites in Desert Hot Springs and Mecca, two communities with high need and essential workers on the front lines. Testing is for everyone, regardless of immigration status, and it is free. I encourage everyone to make an appointment, get tested and help our county and state continue to make progress on this crucial aspect of our coronavirus efforts.”
Riverside County leads the state in testing among other more populous counties, having tested more than two percent of the population. The number of confirmed cases in Riverside County is partly connected to the larger percentage of testing.
The following locations will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. by appointment only:
Mead Valley Senior Center Nellie Weaver Hall
21091 Rider St., Suite 102 3737 Crestview
Perris, CA 92570 Norco, CA 92860
Moses Schaffer Community Center Mecca Boys and Girls Club
21565 Steele Peak 91391 66th Ave.
Perris, CA 92570 Mecca, CA 92254
Jurupa Valley Fleet Center
5293 Mission Boulevard
Riverside, CA 92509
The following locations will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
Lozano Community Center Noble Creek Community Center
12-800 West Arroyo 390 W. Oak Valley Parkway
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240 Beaumont, CA 92223
Valle Vista Community Center
43935 E. Acacia Ave.
Hemet, CA 92544
*** Update As of 04/13/20***
San Bernardino County residents who display symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough and shortness of breath can get tested at five upcoming specimen-collection events through the end of April.
“We understand the high demand for COVID-19 testing in our county and we are making every effort to organize drive-through events throughout the county,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We are working closely with state and federal partners and exploring all avenues to increase testing capacity, despite a nationwide challenge with shortage of supplies.”
The following drive-through testing events are currently scheduled, weather permitting:
Crafton Hills College – 11711 Sand Canyon Rd., Yucaipa
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
(Event organized by the City of Yucaipa with support from the county. Information: http://yucaipa.org/)
Montclair Place – 5060 E. Montclair Plaza Lane, Montclair
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Fox Farm Lot – 41850 Garstin Dr., Big Bear Lake
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
(Because of hazardous conditions, it is strongly recommended that only mountain residents attend the Big Bear Lake event).
Copper Mountain College – 6162 Rotary Way, Joshua Tree
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
LoanMart Field (“Quakes stadium”) – 8408 Rochester Ave., Rancho Cucamonga
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
San Bernardino County residents who have had COVID-19 symptoms over the last two weeks can make an appointment on the COVID-19 website sbcovid19.com when the appointment window for each event opens. Details specific to each event and information on how to make an appointment will be publicized in advance on CountyWire at http://wp.sbcounty.gov/cao/countywire/.
Appointments are not required at the Yucaipa event, which is being organized by the City of Yucaipa, and testing will be conducted until supplies last. Please visit www.yucaipa.org for more information.
Testing is free and does not require health insurance. Future testing events are being planned in Twentynine Palms, San Bernardino and Victorville. Details will be announced soon.
COVID-19 testing events for San Bernardino County residents have already been held at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville, and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. More than 6,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in San Bernardino County. As of today, there are 729 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county and 24 deaths have been attributed to the disease.
The County is actively pursuing testing resources for COVID-19 both domestically and internationally in order to increase capacity for community testing. The process has required research and evaluation that has resulted in several pending orders for thousands of serology (antibody) and extraction test kits for use throughout the county. Meanwhile the County continues to receive testing supplies from commercial laboratories to support drive thru test sites. New test kit products are evaluated on a daily basis and the County is confident that even more testing solutions will be available in the near future.
For information about the coronavirus crisis, visit the County’s coronavirus website at sbcovid19.com. New information and resources are updated daily. The public can also contact the coronavirus public information line from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (909) 387-3911, or email the County at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** Update As of 04/13/20***
Fourth drive-up COVID-19 testing site scheduled to open in Perris
A fourth Riverside County community testing site has been established at the Perris Fairgrounds for residents who want to be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The site, located at 18700 Lake Perris Drive, will open Tuesday (April 14). Those who want to be tested can call 800-945-6171 for an appointment. Those who want to get tested must have symptoms and have an appointment before showing up at the fairgrounds. Drive-ups without appointments cannot be accommodated.
Some of the symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose or congestion. Those who have risk of exposure may also be tested, which means exposure to a confirmed case.
“As this pandemic progresses, knowledge is power. The more testing and data we have, the quicker we can get control of this virus and get back to business,” said Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, Fifth District Supervisor. “This gives us a crucial mid county location, and I am very happy to see it open up.”
The Perris site is the fourth location for community testing in Riverside County. Testing sites are also located at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio (Tuesdays through Saturdays), at The Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore (Sundays through Thursdays), and in the parking lot at Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside (Tuesdays through Saturdays). These locations have been in operation for several weeks.
More than 18,000 patients have been tested at the three county locations. This figure does not include the many other tests coordinated by private physicians and labs.
As of April 11, Riverside County had 1,431 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 41 deaths. The county also recorded 156 recoveries.
Those who want to be tested can call 800-945-6171 and specify which location is preferable.
Appointments for the Lake Elsinore site can also be made online by going to www.projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19.
*** Update As of 04/08/20***
Clarification of religious services and face-coverings order
The need has arisen for clarification of a Public Health Order and subsequent guidance issued Tuesday regarding religious services and face coverings.
The County acknowledges the manner in which the order and guidance were created and disseminated created unintended consequences and hardships. The County has taken steps to ensure appropriate notice and coordination will occur in the future as we address the complicated and fast-moving crisis faced by our community and the entire world.
“We recognize the need to act quickly to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “But we also recognize that we must take into consideration the myriad of impacts that can be felt in a large and diverse county, and be willing to provide clarification and make adjustments while keeping our communities safe and healthy.”
The specific references to drive-in religious services so close to major religious observances taking place during the next four days, for which organizations had already conducted considerable planning and incurred expenses, are clarified as follows: Organizations that have planned such services for the coming weekend should proceed with those services if they choose to do so and make every effort to prevent contact between congregants.
Regarding the use of face-coverings while driving, there is no need for drivers traveling alone or with members of their households to wear face coverings unless they must lower their windows to interact with first responders, food service workers, or others who are not members of their households.
Other clarifying guidance will be forthcoming.
On the subject of enforcement, the public is advised that although violation of a health order is a violation of the California Health and Safety Code, the County does not expect law enforcement to broadly impose citations on violators. The expectation is that law enforcement will rely upon community members to use good judgment, common sense, and act in the best interests of their own health and the health of their loved ones and the community at large. The imposition of penalties on members of the public who willfully and grossly disregard public health orders by putting others at risk of exposure to this infectious disease is meant as a tool for law enforcement to use as a deterrent.
San Bernardino County has 547 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of 17 county residents have been associated with the disease.
Various appropriate County departments and agencies have been working together since Jan. 25 to protect the community from the COVID-19 pandemic.
For information about the coronavirus crisis, visit the County’s coronavirus website at sbcovid19.com. New information and resources are updated daily. The public can also contact the COVID-19 hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (909) 387-3911, or email the County at email@example.com.
*** Update As of 04/07/20***
Public Health officer orders face covering, electronic-only religious services
In an effort to protect the public from further spread of COVID-19, the County’s Acting Health Officer has formally ordered everyone in San Bernardino County to wear a face covering when leaving home.
Face coverings may include coverings that secure to the ears or back of the head and encompass the mouth and nose. Homemade cloth ear loop covers, bandannas and handkerchiefs, and neck gaiters may be used to reduce the spread of COVID-19 particularly among asymptomatic people. Surgical masks and N95 masks must be preserved for healthcare workers and emergency responders.
“Staying home, practicing social distancing and frequent handwashing are far more effective ways to combat the spread of COVID-19, and face coverings are not a substitute for those practices,” said Dr. Erin Gustafson, the County’s Acting Public Health Officer.
Tuesday’s order also says faith-based services must be electronic only through streaming or online technology. People may not leave their homes for driving parades or drive-up services or to pick up non-essential items such as pre-packaged Easter eggs or bags filled with candy and toys at a drive-thru location.
“We understand that this is an important time for Christians around the world and it is natural to want to worship and celebrate with our families. Right now, however, is a critical time for our country and our community – we can still celebrate this time from the safety of our individual homes while we help flatten the curve and save lives,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “When we stay home we help our healthcare workers and our emergency responders and vulnerable populations beat COVID-19.”
Many churches and houses of worship are hosting “virtual” services, streamed online. The County encourages single-family, home-based worshipping and activities, including Easter egg hunts among household members inside the house or in residential back yards.
As of today, San Bernardino County has 530 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of 16 county residents have been associated with the disease.
The Acting Health Officer’s order may be viewed here. Violation of the order is a crime punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or imprisonment up to 90 days, or both.
For information about the coronavirus crisis, visit the County’s coronavirus website at sbcovid19.com. New information and resources are updated daily. The public can also contact the COVID-19 hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (909) 387-3911, or email the County at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** Update As of 03/31/20***
Hemet Global Medical Center will begin limited Drive-thru test for novel Coronavirus Tuesday, March 31. The Center, 1117 E. Devonshire Ave., in Hemet, will be by appointment only. To make an appointment call 951-765-4757 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Only patients with a valid doctor’s order or symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing should make an appointment.
Third drive-up COVID-19 testing site opens in Riverside
A third Riverside County community testing site has been established at Harvest Christian Fellowship church in Riverside for residents who want to be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Arlington Avenue site will open Wednesday (April 1), but those who want to be tested can call 800-945-6171 for an appointment. Those who want to get tested must have symptoms and have an appointment before showing up at the church parking lot. Drive-ups without appointments cannot be accommodated.
Some of the symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose or congestion. Those who have risk of exposure may also be tested, which means exposure to a confirmed case.
The Riverside site is the third location for community testing in Riverside County. Testing begins tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio and a site at The Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore has been operating for several weeks.
“Riverside County continues to offer more options for residents to get tested,” said Vice Chair Karen Spiegel, Second District Supervisor. “This third drive-up location will help ensure that those who have symptoms, have options to get tested.”
Those who want to be tested can call 800-945-6171 and specify which location is preferable. Appointments for the Lake Elsinore site can also be made online by going to www.projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19
*** Update As of 3/30/20***
County COVID-19 dashboard now includes confirmed cases by city
The County COVID-19 dashboard now includes confirmed cases of COVID-19 by city. The dashboard can be viewed on wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus.
“The number of cases by city provides a picture of community spread within our county,” stated County Acting Health Officer Dr. Erin Gustafson. “However, residents of cities not listed or with low case numbers should assume and behave as if there are cases within their communities and comply with the statewide stay-at-home order. Residents of cities that are listed should not panic and feel the need to go somewhere else. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of staying at home and practicing good hygiene to reduce further community spread.”
The city data added today is intended to represent the places of residence for each confirmed case within the county, regardless of where they were tested or where they might be hospitalized. Cities and communities not listed have zero confirmed cases.
Those who view the data should also keep in mind that residence data is based on information contained on lab slips that accompany test results. In some cases, that information might pertain the hospital where a patient is being treated, a detention facility where a patient is being held, or something else. Sometimes that information is corrected, which would account for fluctuations in the numbers.
The dashboard was launched on March 26 to provide a visual representation the COVID-19 pandemic within San Bernardino County, including the number of confirmed cases and deaths, patients tested, patients that tested negative, and confirmed cases by gender and by age groups.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the State Public Health Officer on March 19 issued a statewide stay-at-home order with exceptions for essential tasks and services. See details here: covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs.
The Acting County Health Officer and the Board of Supervisors have declared a local health emergency to help ensure county government and the public are prepared and allow flexibility in response. Various county departments and agencies are working together and in partnership with cities, schools, and the business and nonprofit communities to ensure an effective response.
As with any virus, especially during the cold and flu season, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your health and those around you:
- People experiencing symptoms of contagious illness should seek medical guidance.
- Persons aged 65 years and older and persons of any age with certain underlying health conditions are at increased risk should they contract COVID-19 and are encouraged to self-quarantine.
- Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- N95 masks are not recommended outside a healthcare setting. Surgical masks can be worn by sick individuals to reduce the likelihood of spreading germs to others.
For information about the coronavirus crisis, visit the County’s coronavirus website at wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus. New information and resources are updated daily. The public can also contact the coronavirus public information line from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (909) 387-3911, or email the County at email@example.com.
*** Update As of 3/30/20***
Coachella Valley drive-up testing site relocated to county fairgrounds
A COVID-19 testing site in Indian Wells will be relocated to the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio. The first day of testing at the fairgrounds is Tuesday (March 31), in parking lots 5 and 5A off of Arabia Street (between Highway 111 and Dr. Carreon Boulevard).
The Indian Wells site at the Southwest Church has been in operation since March 17. The testing schedule will remain the same: Tuesdays through Saturdays until supplies are exhausted – or the community’s needs have been met.
“The Riverside County Fairgrounds is a great location for testing,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “The fairgrounds have been a safe haven for families. Many visit this location for the Date Festival and for health care services, and it makes perfect sense with the federal medical station also located there.”
The drive-up site runs between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Appointment times are discussed when residents call the toll-free number at 800-945-6171. Residents must have symptoms to make an appointment, which include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or congestion.
All told, health care workers handled more than 420 tests through Friday (March 27) at Southwest Church. Roughly 160 more tests were expected today, based on the scheduled appointments.
A second testing location at Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore has operated since March 19. That location is continuing its schedule (Sundays through Thursdays). Those seeking tests at the Lake Elsinore location are encouraged to use the website https://www.projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19/ for appointments. Residents can also call for 800-945-6171 appointments at Lake Elsinore.
Health care professionals have handled more than 900 tests at the Lake Elsinore drive-up location. More than 3,000 people have been tested at the drive-up locations and Riverside University Health System clinics.
Riverside University Health System officials are working on setting up a third site in the Riverside area that will serve as a second drive-up location for residents in the western region of Riverside County. More information about that third site will be released soon.
Riverside University Health System-Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said she wanted to thank Southwest Church for the use of its large parking lot to help community members during this trying period.
“Southwest Church was very gracious to step up so early when we were able to get the drive-up testing started,” Saruwatari said. “We appreciate church leaders for their graciousness.”
*** Update As of 3/27/20 ***
|An update from Pete Aguilar, Member of Congress:
As you know, there are now thousands of confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout California and across the country. The situation is still developing, but by staying home, following social-distancing guidelines, washing our hands regularly, disinfecting surfaces and avoiding contact with people with underlying health conditions and the elderly, we can help slow the spread of this virus.
There is lots of new information and updates on the federal, state, and local government response to the coronavirus, so I am keeping my website updated daily with the latest information, including how you can apply for new benefits. Please visit https://aguilar.house.gov/resources/coronavirus-guidance-and-resources or visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/reppeteaguilar to learn more.
Throughout this crisis, Congress has worked in a bipartisan way to provide resources to the American people. The House and Senate have now passed three bills that have been signed into law to respond to this national emergency.
Today, I returned to Washington and joined both Democrats and Republicans to vote for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This bill is focused on helping families and workers by providing direct payments to individuals and families to help stimulate the economy and expanding unemployment benefits to ensure that everyone affected by this crisis receives the help they need. The bill also provides critical funds for hospitals and health systems so they can continue to focus on responding to this health crisis. For small businesses, the bill includes billions of dollars of emergency financial relief, including emergency grants of up to $10,000 to help with payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utility costs. For people with federal student loans, the bill pauses payments through September 30, 2020 and stops interest from accruing for six months.
As the policies in the CARES Act are rolled out to people in the Inland Empire, I will continue to fight to make sure we get our fair share. Please continue to check my website at www.Aguilar.house.gov for more information and if you need any help accessing the benefits provided by the bill.
In addition to the CARES Act, two other bills have already been signed into law. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020. This bill provides paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing to the public, expands food assistance and unemployment benefits to those affected, especially the elderly, and requires employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was also signed into law on March 6, 2020. This bill provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The funds will be used for the development and manufacturing of vaccines and medical supplies, providing states and local governments with public health funding, providing loans for small businesses affected by COVID-19, and for humanitarian assistance to help curb the outbreak across the globe.
These measures are just the start of the response to this emergency at the federal level. We will continue to work to respond to the health and economic challenges posed by the coronavirus. While we cannot be certain when things will return to normal, please know that my office will continue to be a resource for Inland Empire families. If you have questions about the federal response to this crisis, or need information on resources available in our region, I encourage you to contact my team at (909) 890-4445 or by email at RepPeteAguilar@mail.house.gov. Please be sure to leave your contact information, including phone number, email address and home address for us to best assist you. Stay healthy, and please stay home.
*** Update As of 3/25/20 ***
Resources for Employees and Business Owners
As Inland Empire residents continue to feel the economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis, I wanted to share some helpful resources for employees and business owners.
Information For Workers
There are options to help working people who have lost their jobs or seen reduced wages or hours as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. These options include Disability Benefits, Paid Family Leave Benefits, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits. Information on California’s options for filing for any coronavirus-related unemployment, leave, or disability benefits can be found here.
Unemployment Insurance Information
Recently, Congress passed legislation to enhance states’ unemployment insurance programs and to alter requirements to help workers affected by closures or lay-offs as a result of the coronavirus crisis.If you are temporarily out of work and plan to return to the same employer, you do not need to meet the usual requirement of looking for work while you are collecting UI benefits.
If you are self-employed or an independent contractor and are unable to work as a result of the spread of coronavirus, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance.
You may also be eligible to file a claim if your employer has reduced your hours or suspended operations due to coronavirus. To estimate your weekly benefit amount, use California’s Unemployment Insurance Benefit Calculator. To learn more about Unemployment Insurance or file a claim, click here.
Disability Insurance Information
If you are sick with COVID-19 or are in a medically-advised quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, and you have the necessary supporting medical documentation, you are eligible to file a claim for Disability Insurance. This benefit will help provide temporary income assistance to those who are eligible. Learn more here.
Paid Family Leave Information
If you have to care for a family member who is sick or quarantined as a result of COVID-19 and are unable to work, you may be eligible for paid family leave benefits. You may also qualify if your normal means of childcare have been disrupted due to COVID-19. Benefits amounts are approximately 60-70% of wages depending on income. Learn more about paid family leave benefits here.
Information for Employers and Business Owners
What if I have to cut wages or hours for my employees?
The Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program can help business owners avoid potential layoffs. The program allows employers to retain employees and offset wage reduction with unemployment insurance benefits. To qualify, hours and wages must be reduced by no more than 60%. More information on the program is available here.
What happens to employees who are temporarily laid off?
Employees can file for unemployment benefits as long as they are unemployed and otherwise eligible. Workers who expect to return to their jobs are not required to actively seek work during the time they’re unemployed. Contact the Employment Development Department to learn more.
Is tax relief available for my business?
The Governor’s office recently issued guidance stating California business owners may request an extension of up to 60 days to file payroll taxes. To learn more about requesting this extension, click here.
The IRS has also delayed the federal tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, 2020.
How do I protect my employees and customers?
On March 21, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order stating that all non-essential businesses should be closed at this time. You can find a list of businesses considered essential here.
If your business is staying open, the State of California has updated guidance on keeping employees and customers safe here.
*** Update As of 3/20/20 ***
Helpful Resources/Links for Employers in California Regarding COVID-19
As an employer in California there are specific items to be aware of. Almost everyone including Employers, HR departments and Employees have questions regarding COVID-19. It is important that we continue to communicate often as we respond to this challenge together.
California Payroll wants to ensure you that you can continue to look to us for the support to assist your organization as the situation evolves. Below are links to key resources with helpful information:
HR Resources for California Employers EDD: Work Sharing Program (in CA):
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – FAQs on laws enforced by the California
Labor Commissioner’s Office: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.htm
The California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA): Guidance for Employers and Workers (in CA):
Benefits for Workers Impacted by COVID-19 (in CA):
EDD: Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19):
EDD: Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) FAQs (for employee):
California Labor Commissioner’s Office Frequently Asked Questions:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California:
Small Business Disaster Assistance SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus:
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19):
Drive-up COVID-19 testing in western Riverside County to open on Saturday by appointment only
Riverside County health officials are encouraging western Riverside County residents who have symptoms and are concerned they could have coronavirus (COVID-19) to get tested at a drive-up facility set up at the Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore. Testing will begin Saturday (March 21) and run through Sunday (March 22) by appointment only.
Those who want to get tested must have symptoms and must call 800-945-6171 to schedule an appointment before showing up at Diamond Stadium. Call wait times may vary. Drive-ups without appointments cannot be accommodated. Some of the symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose or congestion. Those who have a risk of exposure may also be tested, which means exposure to a confirmed case or have
traveled to an affected area. “Just as we demonstrated during the Holy Fire, the Holy Floods and the Super Bloom now is the time to take this situation seriously and to unite and support one another to overcome this
latest crisis,” Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale said. “This is going to take extreme measures, and it is our turn to step in and offer our support to ensure a coordinated and collaborative approach to best serve and protect all of Riverside County.” Testing starts at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. by appointment only. The address is 500 Diamond Drive in Lake Elsinore. Testing will be set up in parking lot C.
Lake Elsinore City Manager declared a public emergency on Tuesday (March 17) and the proclamation will be ratified by the city council at its next meeting (March 24).
Read more about the city’s efforts to address COVID-19 at www.lake-elsinore.org/coronavirus.
*** Update As of 3/18/2020 ***
As you’ve likely heard, there are now multiple cases of COVID-19 confirmed in San Bernardino County. While we must continue to be cautious and use social-distancing to prevent the spread of the virus, there is still no need to panic. In this message, you’ll find helpful guidance and a list of resources available to those in our community who have been affected by this crisis.
Keeping Your Family Safe
Right now, the best thing we can do to contain the spread of this virus is practice social-distancing. This means avoiding any large crowds, minimizing contact with others and staying away from public spaces. By doing this, we can limit the number of new cases, allowing our health care system to treat those who need care most urgently.
If you have non-medical questions about COVID-19, its effects in our community or resources available, I encourage you to call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health’s coronavirus hotline at (909) 387-3911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further guidance on how to best care for yourself and your loved ones, including what to do if you feel sick, can be found here:
- San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Coronavirus Information
- Updates from the California Department of Public Health
- Latest Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control
Meal Services for Students
While schools in our region remain closed, many school districts are still offering meal services for the students. Information on each district’s meal services is available at the following links:
- San Bernardino Unified School District
- Colton Joint Unified School District
- Fontana Unified School District
- Redlands Unified School District
- Rialto Unified School District
- Cucamonga School District
- Alta Loma School District
- Chaffey Joint Union High School District
- Central School District
- Upland Unified School District
- Riverside County Office of Education
Resources for Small Businesses
I understand that the restrictions on public gatherings and dining out are hurting small business owners and families throughout San Bernardino County. If you or someone you know owns a small business that’s been affected by closures as a result of coronavirus, resources are available. The Small Business Administration is now offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans to businesses in need of assistance. Click here to learn more.
Resources for Veterans
To help limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout our veterans’ health system, veterans feeling symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, or fever should call the Loma Linda VA at (909) 825-7084 ext. 5085 prior to visiting a medical center. More information for veterans can be found here.
Continued Federal Efforts
As you may know, the House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act late last week. The bill establishes two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months of paid family and medical leave, and enhances unemployment insurance for American workers. It also increases funds for food security programs such as SNAP, and makes all coronavirus tests free to patients. The bill is currently pending before the Senate. Please know that I will continue to do all I can to ensure our community has the resources we need to face this crisis head on.
As this situation continues to evolve, I urge you to take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family healthy. Remember, we’re all in this together, and will come out the other side stronger than ever.
Efforts to contain the spread of this virus are ongoing, but each of us can do our part to help educate our community and prevent the spread of infectious diseases like Coronavirus. Below are some steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California Department of Public Health to help keep you and your family safe.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after spending time in public spaces or interacting with others.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- You do not need a mask unless you are symptomatic.
- Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
So far, there have not been any confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the Inland Empire. While it is important to take precautions to keep yourself healthy, there is no need to panic. The majority of Coronavirus cases are mild with symptoms similar to the common cold. Should you begin to feel unwell, call your primary care provider right away.
One of the most important steps you can take to help combat the spread of this virus is to help combat the spread of misinformation. Be aware of false or misleading information on social media, and rely on trusted sources such as the CDC.