Inland Empire

Riverside County coronavirus hospitalizations hit new high; 679 more cases seen

Hospitalizations from the novel coronavirus in Riverside County reached a new high as 679 more confirmed cases and two COVID-19 deaths were added in the latest update posted Thursday, July 2, on the county public health website. The county is up to 18,720 confirmed cases, a roughly 4% increase from the Wednesday, July 1, total. The county’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 465. The weekday public health updates usually reflect new diagnoses and deaths that occurred over the span of a few days. It takes time for that information to reach public health. COVID-19 hospitalizations are up to 429 — 12 higher than Wednesday — with 123 of those patients in intensive care, up six from the day before. Roughly speaking, about one in three ICU beds in use is occupied by a COVID-19 patient. Licensed ICU bed usage fell from 90.4% on Tuesday to 89.6% on Wednesday. On Tuesday, 68.6% of all licensed hospital beds were in use and COVID-19 patients accounted for 11.8% of all hospital patients, up from 11.3% on Monday. The three state prisons in Riverside County as of Thursday…

Riverside County coronavirus testing appointments now available online

You can now go online to get an appointment for a coronavirus test at a Riverside County-run testing site. Appointments are required for a test at facilities run by the county. To schedule one online or for information on testing, visit www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus/testing. For appointments by phone, call 800-945-6171 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. The wait is shorter between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Testing is available to anyone, whether or not they have symptoms. There are no out-of-pocket costs. Related Articles 5 things we know about coronavirus in the Inland Empire Assembly bill would shield school districts from coronavirus lawsuits Another Riverside County office floor closed after employee tests positive for coronavirus Galaxy grasps challenge of MLS is Back tournament in Orlando Are you able to pay your rent? More than 242,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Riverside County as of Thursday, July 2.

Palm Springs Strengthens Face Covering Order; Citations Can Be Issued

The city of Palm Springs has issued a stronger order when it comes to face coverings. People will now have to wear a face mask when outdoors near business establishments and now even when working out in a gym. As this new order came on Wednesday, many started to question, will it be enforced? And how? Across the state, fines are set to be issued, and here locally a plea for people to wear their masks correctly. Governor Newsom also debuted a new public service announcement saying it’s time for Californians to get serious about wearing masks. “We’re walking around and I would say more than 50 percent of people in palm springs is not wearing a mask,” said Janet, visiting from Los Angeles To combat that, Palm Springs issued a new order making it mandatory to wear masks outside even when hiking or doing other activities. “If you’re out on the streets next to a business, you’re going to have to wear it to because we have situations where people can congregate outside of business, for example waiting on a reservation to go into a…

Promising Jobs Report in June

The June jobs report was better some economists predicted. The unemployment rate fell 11.1 percent after adding 4.8 million jobs, that’s the second month in a row of growth after 20 million jobs were lost in April because of the pandemic. Dr. Christopher Thornberg one of the leading economists and expert in our region says he expected a good report, “The crazy, negative projections that a lot of economists have been issuing aren’t realistic, we’ve had too many people tossing around the word depression, when in no way shape or form is what going on right now.” He says the jobs losses in April were scary and higher than anything we’ve seen since World War 2 but too many people are throwing the word depression without knowing what a market like that looks like, “A depression labor market are when millions and millions of people lose their jobs, these people haven’t lost their jobs, they’re on temporary layoff until the virus subsides to the point where people are comfortable to go out and and do the things that people do in which case for the…

Restaurants experiment with outdoor seating to prevent layoffs

On Thursday customers enjoyed lunch on the lawn at Elmer’s in Palm Springs, a new option the owner hopes will help keep her 80 staff members employed after laying a majority off in March. “This was easier to handle, because we knew we could at least have some business. I’ll probably keep at least fifty percent of the staff and kind of rotate them,” said Jacky Donnel, owner of Elmer’s in Palm Springs. Over in Palm Desert, Sherman’s Deli is facing similar issues. The deli furloughed 40 employees after initial closures, but was able to bring many back on. Governor Newsom’s order to place a second hold on indoor dining in certain counties led the owner of the deli to furlough 15 more. ”That kinda hurt, especially after they had just gone through the testing. They gave me the call and the paper work, said I’m negative, and I said well that’s great, I’m glad, stay clean because I can’t bring you back. That really hurt,” said Gordon Poster, general manager of Sherman’s Deli. But staffing isn’t the only problem owners face, another challenge includes…

Assembly bill would shield school districts from coronavirus lawsuits

Long Beach A new education bill — which State Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach — introduced this week seeks to limit liability related to the coronavirus for school districts this fall. O’Donnell, who chairs the Education Committee in the California Assembly and is a high school history teacher, said his bill will help protect districts from COVID-19-related lawsuits as they try to reopen this fall. Many school districts, under the guidance from the state and their respective counties, will try to enact social distancing, sanitizing and other health polices to minimize the risk of the virus spreading. In the wake of restaurants and other businesses reopening in recent weeks, Southern California has seen an increase in cases and hospitalizations, particularly in Los Angeles County, showing that enacting safety procedures doesn’t necessarily mean the virus won’t spread. (LA County this week shut down indoor dining for at least another three weeks.) O’Donnell said he expected the legislature to pass the bill — which has as its coauthor state Sen. Susan Rubio, D-LA — before the summer session wraps up at the end of August. “We need…

Another Riverside County office floor closed after employee tests positive for coronavirus

Another Riverside County employee who works in the County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside has tested positive for the coronavirus, a county spokeswoman said Thursday, July 2. The employee works for the county Transportation & Land Management Agency, county spokeswoman Brooke Federico said. Upon learning of the confirmed case Wednesday, July 1, the 9th floor of county headquarters at 4080 Lemon St., where agency offices are housed was closed for the day, Federico said. Employees were sent home and directed to telecommute and the floor was cleaned with guidance from the public health department, Federico said, adding while the agency has a public counter, the employee who tested positive does not work directly with the public. Related Articles Galaxy grasps challenge of MLS is Back tournament in Orlando Are you able to pay your rent? 7 deaths, 406 new coronavirus cases reported in San Bernardino County Riverside County coronavirus hospitalizations hit new high; 679 more cases seen Riverside County coronavirus testing appointments now available online Contract tracers will reach out to the employee’s close contacts, including co-workers, Federico said. Co-workers who didn’t have close contact…

Should Riverside County have a police review commission?

Riverside County’s Democratic Party is calling for a police review commission “with real community oversight” as it criticized Sheriff Chad Bianco’s plan to form a community review panel following recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The party proposed the commission in a June 11 statement responding to the Board of Supervisors’ passage of a resolution condemning George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis, Minnesota, police. The death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man, sparked nationwide protests and fueled calls to end systemic racism and reform policing. To the dismay of Black Lives Matter activists, the board failed to vote on a proposal from Supervisor V. Manuel Perez to review Riverside County Sheriff’s Department procedures and bolster community outreach. During that meeting, Bianco, an elected official with independent authority to run his department, resisted calls to review department policies, saying they’ve already been overhauled and are publicly available. He suggested forming a community review panel of citizens and said he’d take the board’s suggestions for members as long as they are not lawyers or politicians. That doesn’t satisfy county Democrats. “(Bianco) is granting…

Riverside County to get first Black treasurer/tax collector

The retirement of Riverside County’s treasurer/tax collector will pave the way for the first African American in county history to hold that job. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, June 30, appointed Matthew Jennings, assistant treasurer/tax collector, to take over for Jon Christensen when he retires Sept. 23. In a phone interview, Christensen cited health issues as his reason for stepping down. Treasurer/tax collector is an elected office responsible for collecting $4 billion annually in property taxes and overseeing the county’s investment fund. Christensen, a 20-year department employee, took over the role in 2017 when Don Kent left to become county finance officer and was elected to the post in 2018. Jon Christensen, Riverside County’s treasurer/tax collector, plans to retire Sept. 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Riverside County) Matthew Jennings, Riverside County’s assistant treasurer/tax collector, will take over the top job after Jon Christensen retires. (Photo courtesy of Riverside County) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsShow Caption of Expand “This moment is absolutely humbling, and I cherish the opportunity to continue serving,” Jennings said in a news release. “I look forward to being a strong steward…

7 deaths, 406 new coronavirus cases reported in San Bernardino County

San Bernardino County reported seven coronavirus-related deaths and 406 new cases Thursday, July 2. The county heads into the long July 4 weekend with 265 deaths and 13,152 confirmed cases so far, according to an online dashboard tracking the virus. Deaths were up by 2.7% Thursday, while cases were up 3.2% from Wednesday, July 1. A projected 7,461 people have recovered, according to the county. Testing was up 1.6% Thursday from the day before, with an additional 2,398 people getting tested. There have been 148,704 people tested so far in the county of 2.1 million residents, of which 8.8% tested positive for the virus, the county’s data show. A screenshot of San Bernardino County’s COVID-19 dashboard taken on Thursday, July 2, 2020. (Courtesy of San Bernardino County) A screenshot of San Bernardino County’s COVID-19 dashboard taken on Thursday, July 2, 2020. (Courtesy of San Bernardino County) A screenshot of San Bernardino County’s COVID-19 dashboard taken on Thursday, July 2, 2020. (Courtesy of San Bernardino County) On Wednesday, there were 428 coronavirus-positive patients in county hospitals, the highest number reported so far, which was up from…

Sunny skies, warm breeze to make for a great Independence Day weekend

While this won’t be the most traditional Independence Day celebration — because of restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus — Southern Californians can plan for warm weather and clear, sunny skies for most of the holiday weekend, with temperatures climbing into the 80s as early as Friday, July 3. Cloud coverage and patchy fog in the early mornings along Los Angeles and Orange counties’ coastal areas, because of the marine layer, should burn off before noon throughout the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Along the Los Angeles coastline, the National Weather Service issued a warning for dangerous rip currents and large waves near theshore beginning as early as Friday. But because of a health order closing LA County beaches for the holiday weekend, that shouldn’t be much of much concern in that county. High temperatures along the coast will be in the mid-to-high 70s, while more inland neighborhoods could see temperatures in the mid-80s by Saturday afternoon. The San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys could see temperatures in the low 90s on the Fourth of July, and even…

Rough ride for Norco with curfew, protests, social media backlash

Horse-loving Norco has really stepped in it. A white councilman issued a long, questionable statement on race relations. In response, an online petition demanding an apology was posted, drawing more than 2,600 names in support. On Monday, 50 Black Lives Matters protesters marched, most of them college students, but they were outnumbered by 100 Trump supporters who followed them with catcalls. Tuesday, City Hall imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Wednesday, City Hall shut down early and the City Council meeting was canceled because, well, you can’t show up to a 7 p.m. meeting without violating a 6 p.m. curfew. The curfew was lifted Thursday. Anyone who thinks of the equestrian community as a safe haven must be scratching their head. As a reader put it on The Press-Enterprise’s Facebook page: “What happened to Horsetown USA!” Wrote a second reader, “Awwww, all the white supremacists have to go to bed early.” Based on videos of the counter-protesters, their faces contorted in rage as they shout at young people, a little beauty sleep wouldn’t hurt them. I was looking forward to Norco’s City Council meeting Wednesday night as…

Roaches, no hot water, moldy meat: Restaurant inspections in the Inland Empire, June 25-July 1

Restaurant inspections during coronavirus Routine inspections have resumed in Riverside and San Bernardino counties after a pause when stay-home orders began. This week’s state order for restaurants in both counties to close for indoor dining will not affect inspections, officials said. “We will be using the routine inspections as opportunities to talk with the facilities about the COVID-19 guidelines, discuss their compliance actions and plans, and educate as much as possible where it’s needed,” Brent Casey, spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health, said in an email. San Bernardino County inspectors are also checking on compliance during routine inspections and responding to complaints about facilities that aren’t following rules. Closures Here are the food facilities temporarily closed by Riverside and San Bernardino counties because of health hazards between June 25 and July 1. My Buddies Pizza, 2503 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Elsinore Closure date: June 26 Grade: 86/B, failing Reason for closure: Cockroach infestation. The inspector — who was visiting in response to a foodborne illness complaint — found live roaches on top of the ice machine, under a sink, in an exposed wall panel,…

San Bernardino County libraries welcoming readers this summer

San Bernardino County libraries are open and ready to serve readers this summer. The county has reopened seven libraries it closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, county libraries on school campuses remain closed for now, said Michael Jimenez, county librarian. About nine patrons keep their distance at Fontana Lewis Library and Technology Center in Fontana which has reopened Wednesday, July 1, 2020. San Bernardino County has reopened all its libraries this week with exception of those on school campuses. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Currently no magazines or computers are available to patrons at Fontana Lewis Library and Technology Center in Fontana after it’s reopened Wednesday, July 1, 2020. San Bernardino County has reopened all its libraries this week with the exception of ones on school campuses. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Fontana Lewis Library and Technology Center in Fontana has reopened after the coronavirus-related shut downs Wednesday, July 1, 2020. San Bernardino County has reopened all its libraries his week with the exception of those on school campuses. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG) Coronavirus-related precautions are seen at…

Virtual PAWS 4 Pets Dog Walk raises $35,000 for Inland Valley Humane Society

Carol Lynn Avila, a volunteer with the Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA, shows how to make pancakes for humans and dogs during the Humane Society’s virtual Paws 4 Pets Dog Walk, streamed live May 16 on Facebook. With her, outside the Humane Society’s building in Pomona, is Homer, the Humane Society’s mascot. (Photo by Mansha Kaur, Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA) The Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA recently hosted its first-ever virtual dog walk. The Virtual PAWS 4 Pets Dog Walk, live streamed May 16 on the Inland Valley Humane Society’s Facebook page, raised $35,000 with a total of almost 1,000 live views by the end of the event, according to a news release. The event, taking the place of the annual in-person Paws 4 Pets Dog Walk, featured a live pancake breakfast tutorial outside the Humane Society building in Pomona, including a how-to on making pancakes for dogs; a meet-and-greet with some of the animals available at the shelter; a discussion of new shelter programs; a live yoga class; and a message from Nikole Bresciani, president and chief executive officer of…

How Idyllwild got Riverside County’s first park 100 years ago

Dating back as long as people have lived in the area now known as Riverside County, they have sought relief from the summer heat in our local mountains. Rising very quickly from the floor of the semi-desert and desert lands that surround it, the San Jacinto Mountain Range offers a respite from high temperatures due to the cooler temperatures its elevations afford. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a series of privately owned and operated camps sprang up in the mountains to cater to people who wanted to escape the heat. These ranged from primitive camp sites to resorts so that guests had a wide range of options from which to choose. By the 1910s, though, crowds and the advent of “auto camping,” in which people camped in a field by the side of a road with items they brought in their automobiles, began to take hold and become very popular. This popularity led to a rise in roadside trash, fires, and of course human waste and other debris becoming an eyesore to motorists. It is at this point that the County of Riverside…

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