Local doctors discuss COVID-19 data and opening the valley

Local doctors discuss COVID-19 data and opening the valley

Olivia Sandusky

Doctors throughout the Coachella Valley shared the latest COVID-19 information.

“Our numbers are still growing, so we haven’t reached our peak, nor have we plateaued. We need to consider if this is the right time or not to remove the precautions,” said Congressman Raul Ruiz of the 36th district.

Eisenhower Health, JFK Memorial and Desert Regional presented their current data and projections Thursday through a zoom conference call.

“We were above our worst case scenario prior to April 14th, in other words, we had more cases of COVID-19 than our projections. Also important to note here is that we are still off from our best case scenario, we can do better with more testing, contact tracing and quarantining,” said Dr. Cummings, an epidemiologist with Eisenhower Health.

The hospitals collectively found that protective measures have slowed the spread, but say April still had a 250% increase in positive cases.

“We still need to be very very cautious, this disease is not gone,” said Dr. Williamson, Chief Medical Officer of Eisenhower Health. “So we’ve been very very successful in flattening the curve, and avoided an overwhelming surge. If we release all these restrictions too early and too widely, then we’ll see a surge in the number of cases.”

Only 1.5% of the Coachella Valley has been tested, and Congressman Ruiz says the data will dictate when changes to restrictions can be made.

“Most medical professionals and the White House task force recommend that you are on the down-slope consistently for at least fourteen days before you start to remove precautions. We can not say with confidence that we are in the down-slope,” said Congressman Ruiz.

Each group’s representatives said the main goal of the precautionary efforts is to reopen the valley safely.

“I’m very much hoping that we can go back to school and go back to work and do it in a way that doesn’t risk us having to shut down schools and shut down hospitals even further,” said Congressman Ruiz.