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As cases and hospitalizations spike, businesses worry of another shutdown

For another week in a row, cases and hospitalizations are both trending higher in Riverside County – and as a result, the state is now carefully monitoring county coronavirus metrics.

The number of coronavirus cases per week hit a record high in the last seven days, with 882 total.

It makes sense, given a weekly increase in testing too. But also steadily increasing is the number of people hospitalized.

Riverside County is currently failing to meet four critical state criteria:

  • Number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days
  • Testing positivity rate
  • Percent change in hospitalizations
  • Number of tests per day per 100,000 people

"Our metrics for our cases are going in the wrong direction, they're going up and we want to see them going down," said Brooke Federico, Riverside County public information specialist.

If the metrics don't improve in a couple of weeks, the county could face more restrictions, or even another shutdown of some sort.

"The state is working with the county and they do want to see progress," Federico said. "The county may make additional recommendations to the public or additional recommendations to businesses."

Concern is growing among the business community too.

Joy Meredith, owner of Crystal Fantasy in downtown Palm Springs, said she's worried if another shutdown were to occur, some businesses wouldn't be able to recover. She said at least a dozen businesses downtown have already shuttered permanently due to the pandemic.

"It is disheartening that so many people just didn't take it seriously and I think that's why our numbers are where they are," Meredith said. "If we had to shut down again, I think for a lot of people it would be the end of their business."

Like all other businesses in the city, Meredith has to require masks in her store and take social distancing measures. But she said not everyone is following the safety precautions.

"I know we definitely see some businesses that are not following the rules and just people in general, so it's a kind of scary place to be right now," Meredith said.

She said that more frightening to her than the prospect of shutting down once again is the fact that a growing number of people are contracting coronavirus.

"Whether it's employees or visitors or locals or whoever, that to me is really where the problem is: people might get sick and die," Meredith said.

The county has not said exactly what could happen if the trends don't start improving, but officials said the conversations with the state are ongoing.

You can reach Jake on TwitterFacebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com.

Coronavirus / News Headlines / Top Stories

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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