COACHELLA VALLEY (CBSLA) – Riverside County health officials announced three new cases of COVID-19 in the Coachella Valley Monday.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer, said health investigators believe the three infections were either the result of travel into areas where COVID-19 has been confirmed, or contact with a known case.

Two of the individuals have been isolated at home, Kaiser said, while the third is being cared for at a Coachella Valley hospital.

The announcement comes shortly after Riverside County’s first locally-acquired case of coronavirus. The patient is being cared for at Eisenhower Health.

Public health investigators have not been able to determine how the individual was infected, Kaiser said. So, it is now considered a case of “community spread.”

Community spread involves transmission of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It indicates that the virus was not contracted through relevant travel history or contact to a known case of COVID-19, and suggests that the virus is present in the community.

Those in the Coachella Valley who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, including individuals who are HIV positive, are advised limit non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings, Kaiser said.

In addition, Riverside County now has a second confirmed case arising from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. This former passenger is also receiving treatment at a Northern California hospital, and like the other former passenger from the Diamond Princess, has not been to Riverside County since leaving the ship.

This brings the total number of Riverside County COVID-19 cases to six.

“We are very concerned for the individuals who have contracted the virus in Riverside County,” said Dr. Kaiser. “We wish these folks, and the two residents in Northern California, a full recovery. Our thoughts are with them and their families at this time.”

Also Monday, Eisenhower Health announced a COVID-19 hotline for the Coachella Valley. The service is staffed by registered nurses 24 hours a day, so locals can call to report possible exposure or symptoms of coronavirus.

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