There are now four people being treated for the novel coronavirus in Riverside County, public health officials said Monday.
Officials believe three new cases announced Monday involve people who either traveled into “areas where COVID-19 has been confirmed” or came into contact with another known patient, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health office, said in a news release.
On Sunday, Kaiser confirmed the county’s first known case of community spread, and said that person is being treated at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage. A countywide public health emergency was subsequently declared and is expected to be ratified Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.
Later on Sunday, the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament set to kick off Monday in Indian Wells was canceled by organizers.
The move has many speculating whether the massive Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — scheduled across two weekends in April — will be able to go ahead as scheduled. However, health officials on Monday told the Desert Sun they were still not pushing for that event or its counterpart, Stagecoach, to be canceled.
Another two Riverside County residents who were passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship are being treated for COVID-19 in Northern California, public health officials say. They have not returned to Southern California since leaving the ship.
Elderly Coachella Valley residents and those with underlying health conditions should limit travel and avoid large gatherings, Kaiser said.
All members of the public should avoid public spaces and transportation when possible, and stay home if they’re at all sick, officials said.
However, Kaiser said Sunday that risk to the community remains low and urged residents not to panic.
“We want people to do the sensible things to protect themselves,” Michael Connors, infection prevention expert at Eisenhower Health, said in a news conference Sunday.
Health officials are now working to retrace the steps of the patient who contracted the virus in the local community, trying to determine how they contracted it and who else could have been exposed.
Murrieta Valley High School, which has been closed this week as an employee underwent testing for the COVID-19 virus, was scheduled to reopen Wednesday after the employee’s test result came back negative, Murrieta Valley Unified School District officials said.
“Students and staff under self-quarantine will be notified by Riverside Public Health officially stating that they do not need to take this extra precaution at this time and may return to school on Wednesday with all other students,” the district said in a written statement.
According to the most recent statistics released Sunday by the state Department of Public Health, there are 114 patients in California, 14 of whom contracted the virus via community transmission. The statewide figure includes passengers from the Grand Princess.