With 210 additional coronavirus cases, Riverside County health officials on Tuesday reported their largest single-day increase in cases since the pandemic began.
That bring the county’s tally to 1,961. A total of 376 people, which are included in the total number of cases, have recovered from the novel virus, records show.
This comes just one day after the county reported nine COVID-19 deaths, the most it had seen in a single day. As of Tuesday evening, the death toll remained at 50 with no new fatalities.
On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out the road map to reopen California amid the statewide restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The number of new cases in the state has begun slowing down more than officials expected. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were nearly 26,000 confirmed cases in California — about 1,400 more than Tuesday, according to The Times’ coronavirus tracker.
Despite Newsom’s hopeful message, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s public health officer, said that the county — which has already implemented some of the state’s strictest virus containment orders — has a long way to go.
“It may be several more weeks and even when we are [there], it will be gradual,” he said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “It will be step by step and there will be longstanding changes in the way we live and do business.”
“I want to make things perfectly clear to people: Don’t expect a lot of change,” Kaiser added. “Don’t forget, even if I tear up every single health order that I have written to date — and I certainly have no intention of doing so today — the governor’s orders still [apply] and its restrictions on nonessential activities are still enforced.”
Echoing Newsom, Kaiser said that more testing needs to be done in order for Riverside County to potentially loosen restrictions. In the county, approximately 29,000 residents have been tested for COVID-19 between public and private sources. This means that more than 1% of the county population has been tested, Kaiser said.
Riverside County medical personnel help each other with their protective gear at a drive-though coronavirus testing facility for Coachella Valley residents in Indian Wells on March 24. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Medical staff carry patients’ belongings during evacuation at the Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, where 39 people tested positive for the coronavirus, on April 7. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Gurpreet Singh, left, and Balwinder Sidhu deliver meal boxes at a food distribution organized by United Sikh Mission and the Sikh Community of Riverside at Sikh Gurdwara. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)
Patients are removed from the Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Riverside on April 7 after five employees and 34 patients tested positive for the coronavirus and staff failed to show up to work. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Erick Borjas uses an electrostatic disinfectant to clean the surgical ward of a medical facility in Riverside County on April 15. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Protesters who want the public health orders rescinded, rally at the County Administrative Center where the Riverside County Board of Supervisors were meeting in Riverside. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Residents who want public health orders rescinded attend an emergency meeting of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors at the County Administrative Center in Riverside. Type written notes are placed on chairs to keep people from sitting near each other. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Traveling nurse Gail Cunningham waves thanks as residents pay tribute to her and her medical personnel during a drive-by rally honoring frontline heroes at the Emergency Room entrance to Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Jesus Duenas practices his slack lining while his brother Alfred Duenas, left, does strength exercises at Fairmount Park in Riverside. They live together and said the trees help keep them 6-feet apart from anyone walking by. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Javon Jones of the Antioch Church sings gospel hymns during a livestreamed Easter worship on Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside. For only the third time in 111 years, Easter service atop Mt. Rubidoux was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 27, 2020: Norm and Tracy Kahn enjoy eating dinner outside on a small cafe table sitting in blue chairs on their side yard during the coronavirus pandemic on April 27, 2020 in Riverside, California. ‘During this pandemic, eating outside offers us an opportunity to change surrounding and appreciate the calmness of being outdoors among trees, scents from nature and the sounds of birds, “ she said. Also adding, “Mixing up where we eat puts variety into our days and takes away the sameness of feeling trapped at home.” (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times) (Gina Ferazzi/Gina Ferazzi/Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Small business owner Ana Lee of Riverside created “Community Over Covid” posters for neighbors to place of their front lawns during the coronavirus pandemic. “I thought it would be uplifting,” she said on April 10. “With so many people home and taking walks in their own neighborhoods but not being able to be physically proximate to other families, the signs are a visual reminder, that neighborly wave, that we are a strong community.” (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Neighbors gather to sing “Amazing Grace” on Easter Sunday on Emerson Street, a quiet cul-de-sac in Riverside, whose mayor, Rusty Bailey, had asked residents to come out of their homes to sing at noon. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
The Stowe family in Riverside held a role-reversal prom after a nephew’s prom was canceled because of the coronavirus. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
After celebrating their nephew’s canceled prom via a video feed, the Stowe family greets neighbors in Riverside while practicing social distancing. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
At least 30 patients and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Extended Care Hospital of Riverside, a skilled nursing facility. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
A Palm Springs resident finds the serenity of a closed golf course the perfect place for afternoon reading during the coronavirus pandemic at Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm Springs. All the golf courses are closed in the desert communities. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Shopping carts block off the parking area in front of a Best Buy store in Rancho Mirage that was open for curbside pickup only during the coronavirus pandemic on April 2. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Restaurant owner Lisa Weaver takes a to-go order from a resident at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit during the coronavirus pandemic on April 3 in Rancho Mirage. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Adeline Hernandez, 2, of Riverside seems perplexed by the yellow caution tape as she approaches the closed-off swing sets at Ryan Bonaminio Park in Riverside on April 3. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Wearing a cat mask, Chani Beeman of Riverside shows off a roll of toilet paper she got as a bonus with her takeout order from Mario’s Place in downtown Riverside on April 3. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Freddy Torres of Buena Park gets some target practice in at Riverside Indoor Shooting Range on March 31. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Customers wait in line to buy guns at Warrior One Guns and Ammo during the coronavirus pandemic in Riverside on March 31. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
However, the county is still backlogged for testing by about three days, he said.
The county has the capacity to conduct about 2,200 tests a day at its four testing sites, Kaiser said. But to keep up with health experts’ estimates of how many tests should be conducted nationwide, the county needs to be doing about 4,000 to 8,000 tests a day, Kaiser said.
To accomplish this, Kaiser said the county needs to eliminate the backlog of testing, have the capacity to test asymptomatic individuals and continue responding quickly when COVID-19 cases are found, such as in skilled nursing facilities where patients are among the most vulnerable. On Monday, the county sent four specialized teams to licensed care facilities, including nursing homes, to train staffers and distribute personal protective equipment.
As of Tuesday evening, 247 people were hospitalized for COVID-19. Of those, 66 were in intensive care, health officials said.
Though there were concerns about running out of equipment, Bruce Barton, the county’s director of emergency management, said the county has a “good amount of capacity” in all of its 17 acute care hospitals. As of Monday evening, hospital beds were 60% occupied, he said. Of approximately 500 ventilators, 270 were available for use, and of about 360 ICU beds, more than 100 were available.
Of the 50 county residents who have died — nine women and 41 men — 28 were between the ages of 65 and 84, with some having underlying health conditions; nine were 85 or older; eight were between 45 and 64; four were between 25 and 44; and one was 20, records show. No further details were available.