RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Riverside County is calling on residents to celebrate the Fourth of July at home this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a public service announcement, released late Thursday night, U.S. Army veteran Ralph Duarte talks about the sacrifices he has made in the name of that service — missing birthdays, holidays, graduations and weddings.

“This Fourth of July weekend, we need you to safely celebrate Independence Day at home with just the family in your household,” Duarte says in the video. “I protected you, now you can protect the ones that you love.”

Duarte, who is also an employee of the Riverside County Department of Veterans Services, is a Coachella Valley resident who served as an Army Ranger with the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Bennington, Georgia.

The PSA was released as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, including in intensive care units, continues to rise throughout Southern California and new daily record highs have been seen in Riverside County throughout the week.

Health officials have urged residents to avoid social gatherings — a known source of spread — wear face coverings, maintain physical distance and wash their hands frequently.

“Everyone has a part to play in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of the disease,” a county release said.

As of Thursday evening, Riverside County had reported 18,720 coronavirus cases and 465 virus-related deaths.

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