California reported more than 8600 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. In LA County, bars are closed again. Beaches are closed this weekend. Fireworks are banned to keep people from gathering in groups. In Riverside County, intensive care units are nearly at capacity.
KCRW looks at what’s going on in Riverside with Dr. Geoffrey Leung, a family physician and advisor to Riverside County’s public health department.
How concerned is he about a possible staff shortage and having to search for alternate places to put patients? On a scale of one to 10, Dr. Leung says he’s at an eight to 10. He says although COVID-19 cases have risen gradually over the past few weeks, if the trend continues, all hospitals in the region will have to ask for help and hire temporary staff.
For non-coronavirus patients, Dr. Leung says there’s hospital space for them.
Now four months into the pandemic, California is starting to see trends similar to New York and New Jersey. “It tells us that some of us have become more complacent. We do believe the majority of people are trying to do everything they can to protect themselves and others from infection. … But we also feel that with the reopening and with some people maybe not being touched personally in their own families, they may feel less concerned. So we do believe that people are gathering much more often. … And a lot of our cases seem to cluster around that.
He adds, “Our concern is around the collective level of diligence that we’re all taking as citizens, really to be able to turn this pandemic around.”