06.29.20

Rep. Takano Urges Riverside County Board of Supervisors to Issue Strong Local Public Health Orders Amid COVID-19 Surge

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released this statement urging the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the Riverside County Public Health Officer to issue strong and enforceable local public health orders amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the county and following reports that hospital ICUs are at 98.7% capacity.  

“ICU beds in Riverside County are 98.7% full. This shocking statistic should alarm everyone in our community, and it should force us to assess what steps we need to take to prevent the spread of the virus and keep ourselves, our family, and our neighbors safe.

“In recent weeks, we have been seeing an increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our county. With more than 16,600 confirmed cases, Riverside County ranks second in California among counties with the highest infection rates. These numbers have spiked since the Riverside County Board of Supervisors rescinded the local public health orders issued by Dr. Cameron Kaiser and moved forward with phased re-opening as outlined by the governor.

“It is clear that more direct action needs to be taken by the county to address this sharp increase in cases, which has reached crisis levels. That’s why today, I am echoing the call from Rep. Raul Ruiz and urging Riverside County to re-issue strong local public health safety measures, to mandate enforcement of mask-wearing and strong social distancing guidelines, and to communicate their surge intervention plans.

“While I commend Dr. Kaiser’s order mandating the closure of bars, half-measures will not be enough to stop the rapid spread of the virus and prevent a surge in hospitalizations. This public health order, which simply abides by the governor’s recommendation to close bars, pales in comparison to the decisive action Dr. Kaiser took in the early stages of this pandemic. Closing bars is insufficient when our hospitals’ intensive care units are at capacity and when more people are becoming infected every day.

“The governor’s recommendations are simply a baseline for counties to follow. If the Supervisors are committed to protecting our community and saving lives, they will do more than the bare minimum and put in place strong public health orders that will slow the spread of COVID-19. The virus is spreading rapidly, and as we head into the 4th of July holiday, it is crucial for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the Riverside Public Health Officer to take action immediately.

“The CDC, medical experts, and public health experts agree that staying home, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands thoroughly and often can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are still living through a deadly respiratory pandemic. I urge everyone to take these health precautions to protect each other and save lives.” 

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