RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Riverside County health officials reported 733 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and three additional fatalities Tuesday, bringing countywide totals to 26,481 cases and 553 deaths.
The county also reported 536 people were hospitalized with the illness, 136 of whom were being treated in intensive care units — continuing a weeks-long spike in local hospitalizations.
In an effort to help local medical professionals, a federal medical team was being deployed to Eisenhower Health hospital in Rancho Mirage to support the facility as it continues to cop with the influx of coronavirus patients.
“The hospital is nearing capacity in our ICU and on our COVID-19 units,” Dr. Alan Williamson, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said. “Currently, we only have three more ‘staffed’ beds available in the ICU. Additionally, we are approaching 80 percent of bed capacity within the hospital, but are at virtually 100 percent of our staffing capacity.”
The team of doctors, physician assistants, critical care nurses and respiratory technicians assigned to the hospital is part of a statewide request for federal support.
“The federal support will provide much-needed assistance to Eisenhower at a time when the entire medical system deals with the rise in coronavirus cases,” Bruce Barton, director of the county’s emergency management department, said. “That assistance will make a difference for those who are being impacted by this virus that has taken so many lives.”
The news comes just one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order for a number of indoor business sectors to close once again in Riverside County due to the recent spike, though a number of companies in Riverside were openly defying the mandate on Tuesday.
“If you think it’s unsafe, stay home,” Mike Ends, owner of Fitness Mania, said. “Governor says jump, they say how high. We’re just over it.”
Ends posted a notice on his front door that stated the gym was “not in violation of any license to do business,” and that it was not breaking any laws. And while workers sanitize machines after every use, those inside are not made to wear face coverings.
“We’ll take the fine, and we’ll take the lights shutoff and do what we have to do,” he said.
But it’s not just small businesses remaining open.
Ontario Mills mall was still open and store managers said the mall owner was still deciding what to do in terms of complying with the state’s mandate that indoor malls close their doors.
“It’s inconvenient for everybody,” Lanny Mason, a shopper, said. “That’s why I’m trying to buy last minute stuff before it closes down.”
Riverside County health officials reported that 9,893 people had recovered from the illness.