Riverside County COVID-19: Patients warned after doctor at Moreno Valley area clinic tests positive; 25-year-old pharmacy worker found dead in La Quinta

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A rendering of the 2019-nCoV strain of coronavirus is seen in an image released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A rendering of the 2019-nCoV strain of coronavirus is seen in an image released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials are trying to track down patients at a Moreno Valley area clinic after a doctor there tested positive for the coronavirus.

Officials are still unsure how many patients the doctor saw at Riverside Medical Clinic’s Day Street office while he was infectious, but the office’s staff have been notified. The physician, who authorities are not identifying, is expected to make a full recover, according to Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer.

“This is an unfortunate situation and we are taking all steps necessary to protect the patients and staff,” Kaiser said in a statement.

The clinic, located at 6405 Day St. in Riverside, has scheduled testing for any possibly exposed patients for Saturday, health officials said.

The clinic is still open and taking appointments, according to its president, Judy Carpenter.  

“Our patient safety remains our highest priority and we assure you that we have taken every measure to protect you and your family’s health,” Carpenter said.

Earlier Friday, health officials issued a warning that the coronavirus can be deadly for even healthy, young people after a 25-year-old pharmacy technician died of COVID-19.

The man was found dead Wednesday at a residence in La Quinta, where he’d been under self-quarantine since being exposed, according to Kaiser.

“This is a deeply saddening reminder that COVID-19 kills the young and healthy too,” Kaiser said in a statement. “Stay safe. Keep travel and errands to essentials, and observe social distance no matter how young or well you are.”

The man lived in San Diego County and was exposed to the virus outside Riverside County, health officials said, without providing specifics. No identifying information on the patient was released.

His death was the ninth related to coronavirus in Riverside County. The other fatalities were all people older than 70, most of whom had underlying health conditions, Kaiser said.

Because the 25-year-old was not a local resident, his death is not being included in Riverside County’s official tally.

There are now 185 confirmed cases across the county, after another 80 were announced Friday.

With 77 cases, people between 40 and 64 years old make up the largest patient age group, followed by those 18 to 39, with 56 cases.

Another 54 are at least 65 years old, while there are only two patients younger than 18.

A city-by-city breakdown of the cases is available on the county’s website.

Also on Friday, Kaiser ordered all short-term lodging in the county’s unincorporated areas to be dedicated to COVID-19 response — meaning no more home rentals, hotels or motels for tourists. The directive is meant to allow the facilities to house the homeless, essential workers and people who must self-isolate away from a loved one.

“Now isn’t the time to visit Riverside County,” Kaiser said. “Slowing the spread of COVID-19
means folks need to stay put in their own neighborhoods. Unless you’ve got nowhere else safe
to be, please visit later.”

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