COVID-19 cases on the rise in Coachella Valley

Kamari Esquerra

“We only saw 1,005 cases in June whereas in July we had over 6,000 cases of COVID-19 throughout the county,” said Alejandro Espinoza,
Program Officer and Outreach Director for Desert Health. 
“For us that’s very alarming to see these high numbers.” 

COVID-19 is on the ride yet again in Riverside County and experts said the cause for the increase is simple- we let our guards down.

“(We haven’t) really (been) following through with using masks, doing social distancing, and also the handwashing,” said Espinoza.

Riverside County Senior Public Information Specialist Jose Arballo Jr. said it’s not just COVID-19 cases that are increasing.

“Overall in the last month in the Coachella Valley and in the county, we have seen quite an increase in everything from cases to hospitalizations to ICU usage,” said Arballo.

The county said that while it’s disappointing to see this trend return, there are some promising numbers for the valley moving forward.

“The other thing that’s going up on the good side is our testing,” said Arballo. “We’ve had quite a bit more testing being done and also our vaccine rates.”

Espinoza said the valley is doing well when it comes to getting shots in the arms, with Coachella Valley having one of the highest vaccination rates in Riverside County. 

“Here in the Coachella Valley, we have 63% of our residents that have received at least one of the vaccines so that is very promising that here in the Coachella Valley,” said Espinoza. “We’re doing much better than Riverside County in general.” 

Choosing to get the vaccine is a personal decision, but health officials recommend seeking professional medical advice if you’re unsure.

“If you have questions about the vaccine, talk to your doctor or talk to your pediatrician,” said Arballo. “Listen to them and use whatever information they give and make a decision. But make it an informed decision.” 

At the end of the day, Arballo said the vaccine is our greatest defense against COVID-19.

“The vaccine provides the greatest protection for everyone,” said Arballo.

It doesn’t stop there though. Health officials said there are a number of things we can do to start seeing accelerated change. Many of them are things the valley is quite familiar with. 

“I think if we revert back to some of the precautionary measures of handwashing, social distancing, and wearing our masks in indoor public spaces, I think we’ll be able to turn the corner once again,” said Espinoza.

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