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Riverside County could end coronavirus orders next week, health experts warn it’s too soon

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Chairman of the Riverside County board of supervisors Manuel Perez said Thursday he will propose to rescind all county health orders currently in place as local health experts warn it could be too soon to pull back.

The four orders that would be eliminated include the closure of schools, limitations on short term lodging, restrictions on golf courses, and the requirement of face masks and social distancing.

This comes just a day after county public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said, "Covid-19 has not been eliminated and it’s arguable whether we could even say it's been suppressed. We expect there to be sporadic outbreaks throughout the summer."

Perez said he is not overriding Kaiser's orders, but rather said he discussed it with him and the public health staff before deciding to move in this direction.

Wednesday the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Supervisor Perez, signed by a number of valley mayors and municipal groups, urging him to move the economy forward.

Perez said eliminating the orders will help. "Not forgetting the fact that we still have a pandemic – balancing that with economic recovery."

He also said it would clear up confusion, deferring the county to Governor Newsom's less stringent stay-at-home order. The county would continue to recommend face coverings and social distancing, though they would no longer be required.

County data shows despite an upward trend in cases and deaths, the doubling rate has slowed to more than 14 days, showing the virus' spread has successfully been slowed.

But Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz said it's still too soon to pull back, and that a surge in new cases would be bad for business and back to square one.

"We're going to have to shut down the economy over and over again, which is only going to prolong and worsen businesses and the economy for individuals," Ruiz said.

Dr. Kaiser was not available for comment on this story. A county spokeswoman could not say if he supports Supervisor Pere'z motion to pull back his orders.

The Riverside County board of supervisors will vote on Tuesday.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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