Special Report

COVID-19: How Cases in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

The U.S. reported over 620,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending May 17, bringing the total count to more than 81.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 992,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a faster rate. In the past week, there were an average of 24.6 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — an increase from the week prior, when there were an average of 19.2 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

In the 50 largest metro areas, the incidence of COVID-19 grew at an average rate of 27.6 new cases a day per 100,000 residents in the past week — 19.2% greater than the case growth in all counties outside of metro areas.

The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA metro area consists of Riverside County and San Bernardino County. As of May 17, there were 26,840.9 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Riverside residents, roughly in line with the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 25,296.3 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The incidence of coronavirus cases depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area, San Bernardino County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of May 17, there were 27,797.5 cases per 100,000 residents in San Bernardino County, the most of any county in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, yet not too far from the county with the lowest incidence. In Riverside County, there were 25,988.4 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area, unemployment peaked at 15.5% in May 2020. As of November 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 6.1%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in California where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 17 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of May 17 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of May 17 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of May 17 per 100,000 residents
41860 San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 4,701,332 813,870 17,311.5 5,026 106.9
17020 Chico, CA 225,817 40,181 17,793.6 424 187.8
41940 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1,987,846 355,651 17,891.3 2,395 120.5
42220 Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA 499,772 90,191 18,046.4 488 97.6
42100 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 273,962 52,532 19,174.9 263 96.0
40900 Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA 2,315,980 457,504 19,754.2 4,176 180.3
34900 Napa, CA 139,623 27,764 19,885.0 143 102.4
46700 Vallejo, CA 441,829 89,414 20,237.2 451 102.1
42020 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA 282,165 57,556 20,398.0 478 169.4
39820 Redding, CA 179,212 36,988 20,639.2 557 310.8
42200 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 444,829 92,683 20,835.6 693 155.8
41500 Salinas, CA 433,410 95,140 21,951.5 735 169.6
37100 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 847,263 186,062 21,960.4 1,497 176.7
49700 Yuba City, CA 172,469 40,153 23,281.3 348 201.8
44700 Stockton, CA 742,603 178,501 24,037.2 2,236 301.1
41740 San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA 3,316,073 824,523 24,864.4 5,271 159.0
33700 Modesto, CA 543,194 136,244 25,082.0 1,645 302.8
23420 Fresno, CA 984,521 257,611 26,166.1 2,757 280.0
32900 Merced, CA 271,382 71,497 26,345.5 818 301.4
31080 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 13,249,614 3,498,717 26,406.2 38,785 292.7
40140 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 4,560,470 1,224,072 26,840.9 13,894 304.7
12540 Bakersfield, CA 887,641 239,804 27,015.9 2,314 260.7
31460 Madera, CA 155,433 43,685 28,105.4 365 234.8
47300 Visalia, CA 461,898 136,125 29,470.8 1,469 318.0
25260 Hanford-Corcoran, CA 150,691 55,429 36,783.2 447 296.6
20940 El Centro, CA 180,701 66,715 36,920.1 917 507.5

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