The nine Coachella Valley cities saw a slight increase in COVID-19 cases in the week ending Tuesday, as thousands of festival-goers from around the world gathered for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The nine cities reported 193 new cases in the week ending Tuesday. This is an increase of 77% compared to the week before, when 109 cases were reported between 5 and 12 April.
The latest report from Palm Springs Sewage Treatment Plant shows that the omicron subvariant, BA.2, is spreading in the city. There was a detection rate of 75.1% and 87.3% of BA.2 in samples from 11 and 12 April, respectively. The average number of COVID-19 concentrations per liters of wastewater registered at the city’s sewage treatment plant also continues to rise slightly each week.
Thousands of people came down to Coachella Valley this past weekend for Coachella Weekend 1, and thousands more are expected for Weekend 2, as well as next week for the Stagecoach Country Music Festival.
County spokesman Jose Arballo Jr. told The Desert Sun that there is “always a concern” about potential COVID-19 spread when there is a large gathering, but the hope is that festival goers are largely vaccinated and will choose to wear face clothing.
A majority of the participants observed, however, were not wearing masks on the ground at the weekend 1.
Here is a complete list of confirmed total cases, deaths and cures by city since the start of the pandemic (with weekly changes shown in parentheses):
- Cathedral City: 12,285 confirmed cases (+13), 150 deaths (+0), 12,094 cures (+19)
- Coachella: 12,823 confirmed cases (+15), 121 deaths (+0), 12,687 cures (+15)
- Desert Hot Springs: 7,743 confirmed cases (+7), 99 deaths (+0), 7,630 cures (+11)
- Indian Wells: 594 confirmed cases (+11), 8 deaths (+0), 568 cures (+9)
- Indio: 22,265 confirmed cases (+34), 279 deaths (+1), 21,910 cures (+33)
- La Quinta: 7,799 confirmed cases (+26), 82 deaths (+0), 7,662 cures (+22)
- Palm Desert: 9,134 confirmed cases (+36), 147 deaths (+0), 8,922 cures (+32)
- Palm Springs: 7,761 confirmed cases (+31), 156 deaths (+0), 7,539 cures (+24)
- Rancho Mirage: 2,549 confirmed cases (+20), 56 deaths (+0), 2,464 cures (+25)
14 COVID-19 cases were also reported in unincorporated communities in the week ending Tuesday.
COVID-19 cases have also increased generally across Riverside County over the past week.
Riverside County added 526 cases between Friday and Tuesday. This is an increase of almost 17% from last week, when 450 were reported between 8 and 12 April.
The county’s case and positivity figures have also increased. On Tuesday, the case percentage was 4.1 per. 100,000, and the positivity rate was 2.4%. On April 12, these rates were 3.1 per. 100,000 and 1.7%.
These increases come as airlines and other public transport companies announce that they are easing their masking requirements.
United, American, Southwest, Delta, Alaska and other airlines said late Monday that they dropped their face mask claims with effect immediately, given a federal judge’s decision in Florida and the White House’s response.
The mask mandate, announced in January 2021, was set to expire on Monday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that they would keep it in place until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of coronavirus, which is responsible for the majority of cases in the country. It was the fifth extension of the mask mandate, despite repeated requests from airlines and other travel industry officials to ease the restrictions.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer enforce the masking ordinance, “they continue to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation environments at this time,” he said. statement on the CDC website.
Coachella Valley’s SunLine Transit Agency also announced on Tuesday that it will make masks optional for customers on the fixed route network (SunBus), paratransit (SunDial), microtransit (SunRide) and 10 Commuter Link services, with immediate effect.
“Our mask mandate has been based on federal guidance,” CEO / General Manager Lauren Skiver said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor this situation as it unfolds, but masks will be optional for customers for the time being.”
Riverside County reported 43 hospital patients Tuesday, 11 falls from Friday. Tuesday’s numbers include seven people on intensive care.
Seven deaths were also reported between Friday and Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,504 since the start of the pandemic.
In Riverside County, 62.1% of residents age 5 and older are fully vaccinated, and a further 6.7% are partially vaccinated. About 32.5% of the population aged 12 years and older have received an extra / booster shot.
Ema Sasic covers health in the Coachella Valley. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @ema_sasic.