Local officials remind residents to get tested and wear masks to slow the spread
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that Riverside County will move back to the state’s purple tier, which is the most restrictive tier that requires several types of businesses and places of worship to move outside. These places will need to change operations to outside only within 72 hours.
The state’s decision to move Riverside County back to the purple tier ends the week-long adjudication process that Riverside County requested with the state last week. Riverside County will need to remain in the purple tier for at least three weeks and meet the red tier metrics for two of those weeks before returning to the red tier.
Riverside County’s metrics include a 5.2 positivity rate and 9.1 case rate. While the positivity rate is within the red tier range, the case rate – cases per 100,000 people – is within the purple tier. Riverside County’s case rate is also worsened by the state’s upwards adjustment for not reaching the statewide median of PCR swab tests.
More Riverside County residents are getting tested for the virus at approximately 195 people a day per 100,00 residents, up from 139 in early September. The statewide testing median is 239 people a day per 100,000 residents.
All residents are encouraged to take a PCR swab test to contain the disease and help reach the red tier metrics. Anyone, with or without symptoms or health insurance, can take a free PCR swab test from a county or state-run site. Visit GetTested.ruhealth.org or call (800) 945-6171 to make an appointment. Other testing options can be found online at: https://covid19.ca.gov/get-tested/.
The best ways for residents to protect themselves and loved ones is to continue to wear face coverings, avoid social gatherings and mixing of households, keep six feet of distance from others and frequent handwashing. Health officials note that when all these things are done, we protect ourselves up to 95 percent.
The return to the purple tier will adversely impact small businesses like restaurants and gyms which were able to provide indoor services in the red tier after having business operations restricted for several months throughout the course of the pandemic. The state also announced today that all personal care services were moved into the purple reopening tier and may continue inside operations.
Schools that have already opened for in-person instruction may continue to do so. Schools and school districts that have not already opened for in-person instruction will need to obtain a waiver, approved by the Riverside County Public Health Officer and CDPH. For a complete list of all schools that have applied for, or received approval for, a waiver, visit https://www.rivcoph.org/SchoolWaiver.
Other actions the County of Riverside is taking to address the rising number of cases in the community include a coordinated mobile testing strategy to bring pop up testing sites closer to the community to improve access within specific workplaces and areas. In addition, the county is increasing outreach efforts and partnerships with community-based and faith-based organizations that serve hard-to-reach communities.
Follow official sources for information, including Riverside University Health System-Public Health on Facebook and @RivCoDoc on Twitter. For more information on which businesses are affected, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/. For more information on safe business reopening guidance and other business resources, visit www.rivcobizhelp.org.