Riverside County experienced its first COVID-19 victims just under a year ago. There were two deaths announced on March 16, 2020. Both people had lived in the Coachella Valley.

“Unfortunately, the number of cases are going to keep going up for a while,” county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said at the time.

On Wednesday, California surpassed 50,000 known COVID deaths.

Nothing else was revealed about those first two victims, but their families were surely filled with grief and possibly fearful of the new disease we’d all been learning about from the news.

Since then, more than 3,600 people in Riverside County have died. We know that number includes many loved ones of people close to Alianza.

This week the national death toll surpassed half a million. Worldwide, an estimated 2.5 million people have died. All of these numbers are surely an undercount.

The loss is hard to comprehend. What kind of hole is left when 100,000 people die? What about five times that? Of course, it’s massive if just one is from your family.

Disease graphs are starting to slope downward and many of us are feeling more optimistic now that larger numbers are getting vaccinated. Something close to normal may return again, but it seems impossible that the world and our community close to home will feel the same as it was anytime soon.

Alianza wishes to pass along sincere condolences to those in our community who have lost loved ones because of COVID. We also want to thank everyone who has stepped up to help others meet the challenges of the past year.

For anyone trying to cope with stress during the pandemic, a list of local resources is listed below. Thank you.

Call 2-1-1 to get referrals for health and social services
Behavioral Health CARES Line: (800) 706-7500
Substance Use CARES Line: (800) 499-3008
24/7 Mental Health Urgent Care:
Riverside (951) 509-2499
Palm Springs (442) 268-7000
Perris (951) 349-4195
Information provided by Riverside University Health System – Public Health

Alianza Coachella Valley