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Officials confirm 3 new local coronavirus cases

CORONAVIRUS

Riverside County Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser has confirmed there are three additional coronavirus cases in the Coachella Valley, bringing the total number to 4.

Kaiser said investigators believe the three infections were either the result of travel into areas where COVID-19 has been confirmed or contact with a known case.

Two patients are being treated at home, the third is at a local hospital, Kaiser confirmed.

On Saturday, county health officials confirmed the first coronavirus case in Riverside County. The patient is being cared for at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage. Officials say the hospital location was released to the public because the Eisenhower Health "self-identified."

Eisenhower Health officials later confirmed the second patient is also being treated at the hospital.

Public health investigators have not been able to determine how the individual was infected, Kaiser said, so it is now considered a case of “community spread," meaning the virus was not contracted through relevant travel history or contact to a known case and suggests that the virus is present in the community.

Kaiser recommends that those in the Coachella Valley who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, including individuals who are HIV positive, limit non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings.

This brings the total number of cases in the county is 6 if you include two county residents who were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Both cruise ship passengers are receiving treatment in Northern California and haven't been in the county since leaving the ship.

“We are very concerned for the individuals who have contracted the virus in Riverside County,” said Dr. Kaiser. “We wish these folks, and the two residents in Northern California, a full recovery. Our thoughts are with them and their families at this time.”

Kaiser declared a public health emergency on Sunday in order to support the county's planning and response efforts.

Watch: Local public health emergency proclamation issued due to coronavirus case in Riverside County

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County Public Health Officer, said he believes that patient's exposure to the community is low.

The proclamation led to the cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, an annual tennis tournament that attracted hundreds of thousands from all over the world. There have been no updates on if any other major events coming up will follow suit.

Watch: The 2020 BNP Paribas Open cancelled over coronavirus concerns

Health officials said anyone who thinks they might be experiencing symptoms of the virus should call the hospital hotline at 760-837-8988. 

Residents with further questions can call 2-1-1 and 800–CDC –INFO (800 – 232 – 4636) with any questions.

Public health recommendations for all Riverside County residents during community spread:

  • Practice social distancing, which is remaining out of places where people meet or gather and avoid using public transportation, if possible.
  • Do not attend work, school or events when sick. Stay home.
  • Cough into your elbow or tissue.
  • Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer often.
  • Stay away from anyone who is sick.
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Jesus Reyes

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