2 new coronavirus testing sites open as Riverside County pushes to reopen more businesses

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Riverside County medical personnel screen a carload of people at a coronavirus drive-though testing facility on March 24, 2020. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Riverside County medical personnel screen a carload of people at a coronavirus drive-though testing facility on March 24, 2020. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Riverside County is continuing to expand coronavirus testing access for all residents as officials push toward broader reopening of the local economy.

Two new walk-up sites opened Monday in Moreno Valley and Cathedral City, bringing the total number of testing locations to 14 countywide. Screenings are free and available by appointment for anyone who wants to find out if they currently have the virus, including people without symptoms.

The new sites — at CrossWord Christian Church, 21401 Box Springs Road in Moreno Valley, and the Cathedral City Public Library at 33520 Date Palm Drive — will operate Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other testing locations include four drive-thru sites run by the county, and eight state-operated locations offering both drive-thru and walk-up service.

To make an appointment at a county-run site, call 800-945-6171. Appointments for state-operated locations can be made at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling 888-634-1123.

The county has additional testing locations in the works, according to its public health director, Kim Saruwatari.

“As we continue our response to this epidemic, we have refocused our efforts to test as many Riverside County residents as possible,” she said in a statement. “These two sites and others that are in the planning process will help reach that goal.”

More than 85,000 Riverside County residents have been tested across the county, with about 7% of them — nearly 6,000 people — testing positive so far. Of those sickened, 261 people have died, and about 1,857 are currently ill, according to county public health figures.

Riverside County has the second-highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the state, behind Los Angeles County.

The more widespread testing is part of an effort to keep the county in line with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s requirements for reopening. The governor eased his parameters Monday, paving the way for 53 of the state’s 58 counties to move further ahead in his reopening plan — but it doesn’t appear Riverside County is among those being given the green light.

The five county supervisors last week sent Newsom a letter requesting accelerated reopening, saying Riverside had successfully flattened its infection curve while unemployment pushes toward new heights.

“Just as we acted proactively to protect our residents during the public health crisis, we must act now to help our residents through the economic crisis,” the supervisors wrote.

Several local businesses have reopened in defiance of state orders, including a Norco pancake house, a hair salon in Corona and a bar in Riverside. The Sheriff’s Department says it’s not enforcing the closures, and anyone with concerns should contact the county health department.

Riverside County is currently in stage two of the governor’s four-phased reopening plan, with some businesses allowed to open for delivery or curbside pickup orders. But officials are pushing to move ahead into accelerated stage two, which would open more retail stores and some restaurants to offer dine-in service.

Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors removed local coronavirus orders that were more strict than the state’s, including removing a mandate on face coverings outside the home.

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