Riverside County COVID-19 Cases Rise After Festivals End

Carmela Karcher

Festival season is officially over.

Along with the empty fields at the polo grounds, something else remains: more coronavirus cases.

“Not a huge spike like we had during some of our variant surges, but they are going up steadily and it has been over probably the last three to four weeks,” Senior Public Information Specialist with Riverside County Department of Public Health, Jose Arballo, said.

Here is a case breakdown from the past 10 days in Riverside County:

The 7-day case count from 10 days ago on April 26 was 743, but according to current numbers, it increased by 646 cases, reaching 1,389.

The case and positivity rates also grew, from 4.3 per 100,000 with a positivity rate of 2.6%, to now 8.0 per 100,000 and 4.1%.

Both nearly doubled.

Hospitalizations thankfully fell by four people from 38 to 34, but ICU patients increased slightly from 5 to 8.

But Arballo says it’s too early to tell if this is connected to Coachella and Stagecoach Music Festivals.

“It may be an issue of a super spreader or whatever the phrase might be, but we don’t know that yet,” Arballo explained. “In part because many of the festival goers were from out of the county. So, let’s say they test positive, their positive count would go towards their county of residence.”

But Arballo says something else is going up: traces of the virus in wastewater.

“In the past, that data has been a good barometer of what’s to come,” he said. “One of the things we always say and we still say it now is that the best protection against getting the virus is to get vaccinated. Even though it’s not required, wear your mask in public settings and we are hoping that people continue to do that.”

Arballo said eventually there will be a data comparison to see if these positive cases in the region went to the festival.

Although there is this increase, public health says there’s nothing to be alarmed about just yet.

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