I-Team: An in-depth review of the increase in coronavirus cases in Riverside County


Riverside County health officials still expect the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus to increase in the coming weeks.

As of Friday, June 12, the county has experienced 10,490 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 383 deaths related to the virus. More than half of those infected have already recovered.

Visit KESQ.com/Coronavirus for daily case updates and local coverage

The Coachella Valley accounted for about 25 percent of the county’s cases, and about 22 percent of its deaths. This means that the valley has been hit harder than the county as a whole.

While the doubling rate in the county has slowed to about 33 days, health officials are still concerned about the number of new cases is increasing.

In fact, for three consecutive days this week, the county has had more than 300 new cases of coronavirus. This week’s new cases have led to a sharp increase from what we were a few weeks ago.

We spoke with county spokesman Jose Arballo Jr. about why county cases are on the rise.

“Well, you know we were expecting an increase because of the opening economy, the recent Memorial Day weekend, public places being more open, so we expected an increase in the number of cases,” Arballo said.

Looking at the hospitalizations. As of Friday, 238 people were hospitalized for coronavirus across the county with 71 in the ICU.

Hospitalization rate at Eisenhower Health

This includes patients from Imperial County who were transferred to Riverside County hospitals after their hospitals reached capacity.

Eisenhower health officials say not all cases have been care facilities as they have seen in previous weeks. Instead, they include members of the community.

Read: Eisenhower Health Reports Recent Increase in Positive Coronavirus Test Results

The number of hospitalizations in the Coachella Valley has increased dramatically since May 23, when California moved to the opening of the second accelerated stage.

Arballo says they will continue to look at whether these figures show a trend.

“The concern figures would be if it’s a trend, let’s say lasts two weeks to three weeks, that would be something that would be very worrying, and at this point we’ve seen the bump that’s been going on for most of the week now,” Arballo said.

Looking at the highest rate of cases per 1,000 people in the valley, it is clear that communities in the Eastern Valley have been hardest hit. Thermal, Oasis, Coachella and Mecca have more cases per capita than the other 15 valley communities combined.

Arballo says the county is trying to figure out why the pandemic hit the Eastern Valley the most.

“These are things we try to discover as well, we do our contact search of course and it will help a lot. Tell them about their story, maybe have a better idea of what they did, where they went, if there is a pattern that develops. Whether it’s a particular place or event that’s a problem,” Arballo said.

It is important to remember, the number of confirmed cases could also skip as the tests become more available to everyone, including those who are asymptomatic.

At this stage, more than 148,000 tests have been administered. Meanwhile, current projections show that the county expects there to be 10,874 cases and 489 deaths by Monday.

So, while businesses and facilities are starting to reopen, health officials are urging you to remain vigilant. Continue at a social distance, wash your hands and wear face coverings in public.

Full interview with Jose Arballo Jr.


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