Riverside County approaching 14,000 coronavirus cases

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA - MAY 2, 2020: The majority of golfers are wearing masks while hitting balls on the driving range at Van Buren Executive Golf Course during the coronavirus pandemic on May 2, 2020 in Riverside, California. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Ange

Riverside County health officials Tuesday reported 1,022 new coronavirus infections since Friday and 14 additional deaths, bringing the case total to 13,800 and the death toll to 424.

Officials said Monday the ascending numbers stem from a combination of factors, including additional cases being reported in long-term care facilities and state prisons, and the possibility that some of the protests against police brutality in recent weeks produced infections.

There have been significant increases across the county over the past week. Three cities in the Coachella Valley had triple digit increases. While Palm Springs had 49 new cases and 2 COVID deaths, according to Palm Springs' Facebook page, there have been 255 new cases and 12 deaths in Indio, 194 new cases and two deaths in Coachella, and 115 new cases but no deaths in Cathedral City.

RELATED: Riverside County sees biggest one-day spike in COVID-19 cases

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday Riverside is one of 11 counties the state is watching due to coronavirus increases. San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Imperial, Santa Barbara, Kern, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties were also listed.

The California Department of Public Health says Riverside County is experiencing elevated disease transmission because of outbreaks at state prisons and skilled nursing facilities, transmission at public protests with large numbers of people without face coverings, patient transfers from Imperial County and Northern Baja California and general increases in local gatherings.

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

Currently, 298 people are hospitalized countywide and receiving treatment for COVID-19, with 87 of those patients in intensive care units. Some of the patients are from Mexico and Imperial County, where large outbreaks have occurred, according to the Emergency Management Department.

The Riverside University Health System's infection data covers the period going back to early March and includes those patients who have since recovered. The number of documented patient recoveries stands at 6,895.

RUHS officials said Monday that 3,500 randomly selected residents will be asked to take part in antibody studies to determine whether they've been exposed and have already recovered from the virus.

"It's important to know the extent of the spread of the virus (and those who) have developed antibodies," county Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said. "That information is vital as we move forward."

Residents cannot volunteer for the antibody research, and those who agree to participate after random sampling will have their blood drawn at one of nine sites countywide.

Gov. Gavin Newsom last week ordered all California residents to wear face coverings in most settings outside their homes to help slow the spread of the virus. The statewide mandate requires residents to wear masks in "high- risk situations," which cover virtually all scenarios.

Riverside County had previously rescinded its mask mandate, and it was unclear how closely the statewide directive would be enforced locally, if at all.

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More county businesses opened their doors Friday as the coronavirus regulatory bar was lowered further, and the county continued its transition through stage 3 of the governor's four-stage de-regulation framework tied to the health emergency.

Nail salons, facial and esthetician providers, shaving, waxing and threading businesses, massage therapy outlets and tattoo and piercing parlors countywide are now eligible to resume operation under guidelines specified by the California Department of Public Health.

In stage 4 of the governor's de-regulation framework, nightclubs, concert venues and sports venues will be eligible to reopen.

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