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California

Riverside County deaths top 200 as coronavirus cases climb to 5,000

Residents watch a Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting via video monitors.
Some observers wear masks and sit far apart on Friday as they watch a Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting on video monitors.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Riverside County health officials reported an additional 47 coronavirus cases and one new death Sunday, bringing the toll to 205 residents who have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The county’s number of confirmed cases rose to 5,039. It has the second-highest number of cases in the state, after Los Angeles County, where nearly 32,000 residents have been infected.

Riverside County health officials reported that 189 people — including 73 in intensive care — are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms. A total of 2,619 people have recovered from the virus, records show.

During a news conference last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom stated that for counties to move further into the second phase of reopening, they couldn’t have more than one case per 10,000 people, or any deaths in the most recent 14-day period.

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V. Manuel Perez, the county’s 4th District supervisor and board chairman, called the governor’s guidelines “unattainable” and “impossible” during an emergency board meeting Friday that was called to determine whether to rescind the county’s more stringent regulations.

After a marathon meeting Tuesday resulted in Friday’s emergency meeting, the county’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to revoke all of the county’s public health orders that go beyond the governor’s restrictions.

Among the decisions were to lift the closure of vocational and higher education schools, end a restriction on golf courses, eliminate limitations on short-term lodging, and remove requirements to wear face coverings and engage in social distancing. Riverside County was one of the first parts of California to mandate that residents wear masks and stay six feet apart. At the state level, those health directives are recommended but not required.

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Under the loosened orders, Riverside County health experts are suggesting people wear face coverings and practice social distancing “whenever practical and within reason.”

With four drive-up testing sites and eight additional vendors from the state, officials said Riverside County was a leader in testing in the state. Health officials are able to test more than 3,000 residents — regardless of symptoms — each day. More than 71,000 people have been tested in the county. Expanded testing is one of Newsom’s criteria for reopening.


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