Coronavirus cases climb in Inland Empire as San Bernardino County death toll doubles

A San Bernardino County healthcare worker collects a sample at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Victorville.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Coronavirus cases have steadily risen this week in the Inland Empire, with an overall case count surpassing 1,000.

Riverside County continues to see an uptick in the number of people infected with the coronavirus even as it implements unprecedented rules to stop the spread. Officials reported 799 cases and 19 deaths Sunday; that number jumped to 946 confirmed cases and 25 deaths Monday. Sixty people have recovered from the illness.

A cluster of about 30 patients and some staff members tested positive for coronavirus Sunday at Extended Care Hospital of Riverside. The nursing facility has since closed its doors to new patients, and those who are sick are isolated and being monitored.


“We will be seeing more and more of these outbreaks in the community,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, said in a statement. “This is a vulnerable population, and we’ll take all the steps necessary to protect them. But these steps
can only work effectively if people stay home, stay apart and cover up their faces in public to reduce overall transmission.”

San Bernardino County officials reported 304 cases and eight coronavirus-related deaths last week. By Tuesday, the number of deaths had doubled to 16 while the case count jumped to 530.

To help prevent the virus from spreading within nursing facilities, the county collaborated with local, state and other emergency management and hospital stakeholders to create a nursing task force. Two outbreaks were linked to Cedar Mountain Post-Acute Rehabilitation in Yucaipa and Reche Canyon Rehabilitation & Health Care Center in Colton in the last few weeks.

Officials are alarmed at the coronavirus spread among residents and staff in California nursing homes and assisted-living centers.

April 5, 2020

“The task force will proactively identify, map and assess readiness for COVID-19 at nursing facilities throughout the county with the intent of identifying strategic sites that may act as COVID-19-positive sites to further mitigate spread among our most-vulnerable residents,” county Public Health Director Trudy Raymundo said in a statement.


Infections were also found at the California Institution for Men in Chino in the western part of San Bernardino County.

In Imperial County, 68 coronavirus cases and three deaths had been recorded as of Monday. Ten people have recovered, and 524 patients have been tested for the illness.

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May 6, 2020

The county’s first coronavirus-related death — an older adult with underlying health conditions — was reported Thursday. The patient was treated at a San Diego hospital. Officials think the person had minimal local community exposure and spent time in Imperial County and near Mexicali, Mexico.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to the individual’s family and friends during this difficult time,” county Health Officer Stephen Munday said in a statement. “Any loss of life is tragic, but this is particularly sobering. While most cases of COVID-19 exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, this tragic death underscores the urgent need for everyone to practice, without fail, the orders that have been outlined in the local and State Health Officer orders.”