Businesses and houses of worship around the Coachella Valley are preparing to shut down again or take measures to move their operations outside due to the latest state shutdown order taking effect Friday at 12 noon.
Riverside County health officials announced Tuesday that the California Department of Public Health downgraded Riverside County back to the purple, or most restrictive tier, under the governor's color-coded coronavirus regulatory system.
That means some businesses that had reopened in recent weeks will have to close again by Friday at 12 noon. The state action was met with condemnation by county leaders Tuesday who said the closure orders will devastate already struggling businesses and will lead to more layoffs and permanent business closures.
The governor's order requires gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship to close or move their operations outside.
According to local health officials, state administrators decided that the county should be reduced from the red tier to the purple tier for at least three weeks based largely on the county not conducting enough testing to satisfy state mandates.
Riverside County health officials have reported 330 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and four additional virus-related deaths as the number of ospitalizations tied to the virus continues to creep upward.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 65,386 compared to 65,056 on Wednesday.
The number of deaths tied to COVID-19 stands at 1,279. The number of known active cases countywide is 5,505 which is up 182 from Wednesday.
There are now 176 people hospitalized for virus-related treatment countywide, which is an increase of 9 from Wednesday and 19 more than Tuesday's total. The figure includes 41 intensive care unit patients-- four more than the previous day.