Riverside County declares coronavirus emergency amid Coachella questions

La Grande Wheel during weekend two of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 23, 2016.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
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Amid questions over the fate of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Riverside County declared a public health emergency after confirming its first case of the coronavirus.

Riverside County public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said no decisions have been made yet about the fate of Coachella and other public events. He said officials are still trying to assess the movements of the patient and whether others were exposed to the virus.

Kaiser said he will assess the safety of public events on a case-by-case basis.


Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage reported early Sunday it was treating a patient for a presumptive case of coronavirus.

The patient was tested by the Riverside County Public Health Department, according to the hospital. No further details were provided.

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The hospital said the patient was in isolation and that hospital staff was taking appropriate precautions.

Riverside joins many other counties including Los Angeles and Orange counties in declaring a health emergency.

Murrieta school officials said 71 students have been placed in self-quarantine after a school employee was tested for the coronavirus.

The employee had recently been to a country where the coronavirus was spreading, according to the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, which said Murrieta Valley High School would be closed Monday and cleaned.


There have been questions about the massive Coachella music festival, set for April 10-19, and its country cousin, Stagecoach, set for April 24-26, in Indio.

Residents and businesses expressed mixed emotions about canceling the events.

The move comes as health officials warned that the country has entered a new stage in dealing with the deadly coronavirus — one in which containment is no longer possible.

“We’re past the point of containment,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration during the first two years of President Trump’s administration, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“We have to implement broad mitigation strategies. The next two weeks are really going to change the complexion in this country. We’ll get through this, but it’s going to be a hard period. We’re looking at two months, probably, of difficulty,” Gottlieb said.