COVID-19 Cases On The Rise Again in Riverside County

Kamari Esquerra

After a steady October, COVID-19 cases are starting to rise again in California. But the Inland Empire, and especially Riverside County, have some of the highest increases in all of Southern California.

“We’ve seen about a 20% increase in COVID cases during the past couple weeks,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Public Health Officer Riverside County. “Really it’s happened during the past 2 weeks where we’ve seen a gentle increase in the number of new cases, hospitalizations each day.”

This slight increase doesn’t come as a surprise to health officials.

“With the coming winter months and people spending more time indoors as it gets colder and with the holidays upon us, we were expecting a potential increase in the cases,” said Dr. Leung. “It’s not alarming, but it’s a reminder that we need to continue with our precautions such as masking and social distancing.”

As for the Coachella Valley, local health officials say our numbers remain constant, thanks to high vaccination rates among most locals. 

“We haven’t seen a sudden uptick, we’ve been at the steady state level,” said Dr. Euthym Kontaxis, Medical Director of Eisenhower Health’s Tennity Emergency Department. “Our valley has been very aggressive at vaccination.”

Despite COVID numbers being consistent in the valley, they say it’s important not to let our guards down, especially as we enter the holiday season.

“We are still seeing nearly 2,000 to 3,000 new cases each week in Riverside County,” said Dr. Leung.  “Although things are much better than they were in January, given the slight increase that we’ve seen, I think this is a reminder to all that we’re still living in a pandemic.”

Public officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated for the first time, and get their boosters if they qualify.

“The best prevention is vaccination,” said Dr. Leung. 

“Make sure that you’re vaccinated. I can’t emphasize that enough because the proof is in the pudding,” said Dr. Kontaxis.

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