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County COVID hospitalizations and cases creep up; business owners take note of uptick

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Riverside County have been increasing steadily. They are still well below the January COVID surge, but up significantly in the month of May.

Near the start of the month, on May 6, there were 34 hospitalizations in the county. As of Monday, hospitalizations have more than doubled with 80 confirmed hospitalizations.

Also, the daily total cases are higher than they were at the start of the month. On May 3, there were 1,038 daily cases while Monday saw 1,511 daily cases.

Some local businesses are noticing the uptick, and are hoping it doesn't get worse.

"Just staying on top of [cleaning]. I think that matters every day. Things have to always be clean. You're a restaurant, you're serving food," said Katherine Gonzalez who owns Chúla Artisan Eatery in La Quinta.

In regards to the recent increase in COVID cases, she said she's optimistic and not worried.

"We've been through the thick of it absolutely. And I think the biggest part of that is being prepared for those types of situations in our lives," said Gonzalez.

Her staff is fully vaccinated and is no longer required to wear masks. 

"We've gotten a little relaxed just like others but we're still constantly making sure that staff is healthy when they are here and before they leave," said Gonzalez.

Riverside County's public health officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung recognizes COVID cases have been steadily rising these past several weeks. 

"We don't think it's anything to be alarmed about, but we do encourage people to continue to practice safe precautions," said Leung. "This is expected. We've seen a general relaxing, you know, of measures across, you know, the state."

The county encourages those who are unvaccinated to be careful since they're more at risk. 

Tim Acheson is the general manager at Don & Sweet Sue's Cafe in Cathedral City. The cafe shut down for more than a year when the pandemic first hit.

"We are doing everything in our power to keep our restaurant as safe and clean for our staff and for our guests," said Acheson.

Now, the cafe has all staff vaccinated and sanitizing the restaurant regularly.

"I'm hoping that this is just a short-term thing and we are going to get better soon," said Atcheson.

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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