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Riverside County encouraging more residents get tested for coronavirus to move into next phase of reopening

Riverside County is encouraging residents to get tested for coronavirus to help stop the spread and reopen businesses.

“First and foremost, containing the disease continues to be our first priority with this pandemic. When we’re able to show and demonstrate that we are slowing the spread of the disease in Riverside County then we can safely reopen more of these businesses as outlined in the state’s current metrics,” said Brooke Federico, Riverside County Public Information Officer.

Riverside County reached the positivity rate that will allow it to move to the red tier, which is the next phase of reopening the economy.

But another part of the equation is the case rate. In Riverside County, we aren't reaching the state's daily average testing volume. Due to this, our case rate is now being adjusted and we currently exceed the level needed to progress to the next tier.

"Riverside County reached the positivity rate that will allow it to move to the red tier (7.8 percent), but the case rate remains higher than the state’s requirement. This week, the state began adjusting the case rate higher for counties that are not meeting the state’s daily average testing volume, which brought Riverside County’s case rate from 7.4 to 8.6," the county said in a press release.

“A few months ago, we were testing 4,000 people a day at our county and state run PCR testing locations and now we’re doing about half of that. What we also know is that recently antigen tests, which are the rapid result tests, have become more widely available at private providers,” said Federico.

The antigen tests might be more comfortable and provide you with quicker results, but those tests do not count toward the county’s metrics.

“So our case rate is then adversely impacted if we’re not doing enough PCR testing,” Federico said.

Federico says people are now getting test results back within two to three days. She says based on the state’s NEW criteria, increased PCR testing could result in a lower case rate and help get our economy back on track.

“We need to pick up our testing again – for both the purpose of isolating the sick and to help us safely reopen more parts of our community,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of the Riverside University Health System - Public Health.

Riverside County hopes that increased testing will allow it to move to the red tier, which will allow more businesses to open for indoor operations. Earlier this week, Orange County was upgraded to the red tier of reopening.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in slowing the spread of the disease and we want residents to know that more testing will help us continue to disrupt the spread of the virus,” said Saruwatari.

There are 13 testing sites spread throughout Riverside County, both walk-in and drive-up services. To find a location near you and make an appointment, visit gettested.ruhealth.org.

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Taylor Begley

Taylor Begley is a Sports Anchor and Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. You can also catch her anchoring weather on the weekends. Learn more about Taylor here.

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