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Riverside County Health Officials Confirm 2 New Coronavirus Cases In Coachella Valley

COACHELLA VALLEY (CBSLA) -- Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 in the Coachella Valley Saturday, bringing the county's total cases to 14.

The confirmed cases now include eight people in the Coachella Valley and two passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship who have not returned to the region since getting diagnosed.

No further information has been provided about the two new cases, but at least one of the previously confirmed Coachella Valley patients acquired the disease through community-spread, meaning they did not contract it through a known source. It indicates that the virus was not contracted through relevant travel history or contact to a known case of COVID-19. At last report, the patient was being treated at the Eisenhower Medical Center.

Back on Jan. 29, nearly 200 American evacuees were flown in to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County from the Chinese province where the coronavirus is believed to have been started. That quarantine expired Feb. 11 and those people were released. None of them tested positive for coronavirus.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — is spread from person-to-person through close contact, usually within 6 feet, and mainly via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. People are likely most contagious when they are most symptomatic. Coronavirus can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose and eyes.

On Friday, Kaiser ordered the closure of all Riverside County schools in response to the coronavirus.

"To further prevent the spread throughout the county, effective Monday, March 16, I am ordering a school closure, not a dismissal, of all Riverside County public schools. This order also applies to preschools, charter schools, private schools and all colleges and universities in Riverside County," Kaiser said in a statement.

CORONAVIRUS SCHOOL CLOSURES: LAUSD Closes All Schools; UCLA, USC Cancel In-Person Classes

According to the release, individual school districts would have the discretion to determine essential personnel to support critical functions within their districts.

The order was expected to be lifted on Friday, April 3 with classes expected to resume Monday, April 6 — barring the necessity for an extension — Kaiser said.

For the latest information on COVID-19 throughout Southern California, click here.

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