A third drive-thru testing location will open Wednesday in Riverside County, where officials have announced 80 new confirmed coronavirus cases and four more deaths, bringing the countywide totals to 371 cases and 13 fatalities.
Three of the four latest fatalities involved men — one over 70 from Palm Springs, another over 60 from Cathedral City and one over 80 from Wildomar, Jose Arballo, a spokesman for Riverside University Health System, said Tuesday. Details about the fourth fatality were not immediately known, he said.
County public health officials also began releasing additional information, including recovery statistics and infection data separated into unincorporated communities, as well as by city as before.
According to that data, 30 county residents had recovered from COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon.
Public health officials last week released estimates indicating coronavirus cases in Riverside County will continue to grow in the coming days — possibly doubling every four to five days.
Dr. Geoffrey Leung of the Riverside University Health System said the surge — which could kill 1,000 people and infect 50,000 by early May — is expected to use up all the county’s hospital beds by April 12, and absorb the county’s supply of ventilators between April 22 and May 5. Leung said he based his estimates on local approximations and nationwide trends.
The local mortality rate is slightly over 1%. More than 3,000 residents had been tested for the virus as of Friday.
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing in the Coachella Valley began Tuesday at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio after being moved from Southwest Church in Indian Wells.
The testing site is on the same property as two existing buildings that members of the California National Guard quickly converted into a 125-bed facility to be staffed by 30 to 40 doctors, nurses, technicians and volunteers. Staff began arriving at the field hospital Monday, but it was unclear when they would begin accepting patients.
Officials want temporary hospitals set up and treating non-critically ill patients — including those being treated for illnesses other than coronavirus — before the anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases hits. Another 125-bed temporary hospital is slated to be set up in western Riverside County, but that location has not yet been released.
Testing at the fairgrounds will be available by appointment only Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., in parking lots 5 and 5A off of Arabia Street, between Highway 111 and Doctor Carreon Boulevard.
Starting Wednesday, a third drive-thru testing location will open at the Harvest Christian Fellowship church in Riverside, which will also be by appointment only and open Tuesday through Saturday.
A county public health official told City News Service that the booking calendar is already nearly full this week. Information and booking operators are available at 800-945-6171.
An additional COVID-19 screening location is situated at Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore, where appointment-only patients can get drive-thru service between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Sundays to Thursdays. Anyone who lives within a 50-mile radius of the Riverside metropolitan area can access the site.
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