The number of coronavirus cases in Riverside County jumped by 209 and the death toll increased by 10, bringing the total to 2,847 cases and 85 deaths, according to figures reported Monday.
The new data come just a day after the county reported 36 new cases on Sunday, which is the lowest number of cases in a single day since April 4, when 27 were reported. There are 116 confirmed cases in Riverside County jails, according to records.
The city of Riverside has the most deaths in the county with 16. Moreno Valley is next with 11 deaths.
During a news briefing Friday, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, said that the county has been seeing fewer cases than initially projected. The county has “bent the curve a little bit,” but the goal is to flatten it, he said.
As of Monday, Riverside County has the second-largest number of cases in the state, following Los Angeles County. Last week, the county ranked third, behind San Diego.
Though residents of other Southern California counties held protests over the weekend and Ventura County officials announced that they would ease restrictions, Kaiser said that he doesn’t plan on lifting restrictions in Riverside County anytime soon.
Fifteen employees at SunDate, a date packinghouse in Coachella, tested positive for COVID-19 in early April, said Brooke Federico, the county’s public information officer. Of these cases, one person died on April 15. Because of privacy concerns, no further details about the employee were provided.
On April 2, the county was informed that two employees at SunDate had tested positive for the novel virus. Those employees were sent home to self-isolate. By April 13, a total of 15 employees had contracted the virus, Federico said.
Federico said the facility, which packages dates that are sold at stores nationwide, won’t be closed because there doesn’t appear to be a risk of “sustained transmission” of the virus. The disease control team is still investigating the facility’s COVID-19 cases.
No representatives from SunDate were available for comment Monday.
Officials said Friday that Riverside County residents who do not display COVID-19 symptoms can now be tested for the novel virus at all of the county’s drive-up testing sites. Previously because of a lack of testing kits, only people who showed symptoms such as high fever or respiratory issues were able to receive a coronavirus test.
The county’s fifth drive-up testing is scheduled to open Wednesday at the Blythe Fairgrounds in the eastern part of the county, officials said.
Kim Saruwatari, the county’s public health director, said that the Blythe facility has the capacity to test about 400 residents a day at this time. Those interested in being tested must call (800) 945-6171 to schedule an appointment. There is no cost for the tests and health insurance is not required, Federico said.
Testing individuals who do not have COVID-19 symptoms gives health experts a better idea of the extent of the outbreak in Riverside County.
As of Sunday evening, nearly 31,000 tests had been administered in the county, records show.
“We’re testing people already when they’re sick, but we need to understand how COVID-19 is affecting people who may generally feel well, including kids,” Kaiser said. “That’s going to be a key indicator for understanding how it spreads and knowing where our areas of concern are when we think about if and how much to open things again.”
The county also reported Monday that 236 people are hospitalized due to complications of COVID-19. Of those, 76 people are in intensive care units. A total of 700 people have recovered from the virus.