As Covid-19 Cases Increase, Riverside County Public Health Officer Explains Next Steps

Nico Payne

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As Covid-19 case numbers continue to climb across the country and in Coachella Valley, neighboring counties have reinforced mask mandates, so what is next for Riverside County. NBC Palm Springs spoke to Public Health Information Officer Dr. Leung and brings us an update of what we can expect in the coming weeks.

“It’s in our unvaccinated individuals and communities that continue to be at risk for outbreaks or even continued mutation,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Riverside County Public Health Officer.

“We have the tool to do this, this is an unnecessary predicament we are putting ourselves in,” explained Dr. Anthon Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci speaking on Sunday morning talking about Covid-19 case numbers, saying based on what we’ve seen in the past we could be headed for another surge.

“If you look historically at the modeling that has been done over the last 18 months, for the most part, it’s been pretty accurate. So I’m not so sure it would be the worst-case scenario, but it’s not going to be good. we’re going in the wrong direction,” added Dr. Fauci.

Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung explains that numbers locally are better than what we faced a year ago.

“Compared to our lows the case rates in covid hospitalizations have quadrupled, so that is significant, however, we were expecting an increase with the reopening,” explained Dr. Leung.

And as restrictions continue to be relaxed, health experts are keeping a close eye on the progressing variants.

“The Delta Variant now makes up over 80% of all the variants that we are having tested or sequenced. It looks like when people are fully vaccinated they do have very good protection against variants including the delta variant, especially when it comes to serious complications or death,” added Dr. Leung.

With the state no longer following a color-tier system, county officials say they will continue to align with state guidelines in hopes of preventing less confusion.

“The state moved into a new paradigm called Beyond the Blueprint, so that’s where we are now and that’s why we are not using different thresholds for different colors, however, that being said the state and our county are watching very closely any potential impacts on hospital capacity, emergency room capacity or other numbers that may be really important for the functioning of our community,” explained Dr. Leung.

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