Nursing home patient among 4 new Coachella Valley coronavirus cases; schools ordered closed countywide

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This scanning electron microscope image shows coronavirus emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. (Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

This scanning electron microscope image shows coronavirus emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. (Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

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The number of people being treated for coronavirus in the Coachella Valley rose to 10 Friday as public health officials ordered the closure schools and cancellation of large events.

Four new cases announced Friday include a someone who’d been staying at a skilled nursing home in Rancho Mirage, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, said in a news release.

Health officials say they’ll test every patient and staff member at the 99-bed Rancho Mirage Health and Rehabilitation Center as soon as possible. Anyone who tests positive will be isolated and, if they’re severely ill, hospitalized.

“Quick action is required when we are dealing with a vulnerable population like this,” Kaiser said in a statement.

Officials say the patient spent several days in the skilled nursing community before being hospitalized.

The source of the nursing home infection is under investigation. One of the county’s other cases is believed to be the result of community spread.

Also on Friday, Kaiser ordered all schools countywide to close starting Monday, March 16 — including preschools, charter schools and private schools, as well as colleges and universities.

Classes will resume April 6, unless authorities determine an extension is necessary.

On Thursday, Kaiser banned public gatherings of 250 people in the county, following a recommendation from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In addition to the 10 patients being treated locally, another two Riverside County residents who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked in Oakland have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Neither of them have been in Southern California since leaving the ship, and they’re being treated at a hospital up north.

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