Special Report

COVID-19: Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area Among the Most Dangerous in America

The U.S. reported over 718,000 new cases of coronavirus on August 3, bringing the total count to more than 34.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 608,000 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 22.8 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — an increase from the week prior, when there were an average of 17.1 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.

The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA metro area consists of Riverside County and San Bernardino County. As of August 3, there were 13,492.4 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Riverside residents, the 33rd highest rate of all 383 metro areas with available data. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 10,780.8 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 August 3, there were 14,274.8 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 12,795.1 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 May 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 7.8%.

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 August 3 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of August 3 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of August 3 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of August 3 per 100,000 residents
20940 El Centro, CA 180,701 29,164 16,139.4 745 412.3
25260 Hanford-Corcoran, CA 150,691 23,765 15,770.7 251 166.6
40140 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 4,560,470 615,315 13,492.4 9,902 217.1
12540 Bakersfield, CA 887,641 113,216 12,754.7 1,425 160.5
32900 Merced, CA 271,382 33,321 12,278.3 485 178.7
33700 Modesto, CA 543,194 65,893 12,130.7 1,095 201.6
31080 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 13,249,614 1,585,769 11,968.4 29,835 225.2
31460 Madera, CA 155,433 17,058 10,974.5 249 160.2
47300 Visalia, CA 461,898 50,409 10,913.4 854 184.9
23420 Fresno, CA 984,521 104,639 10,628.4 1,746 177.3
44700 Stockton, CA 742,603 76,915 10,357.5 1,460 196.6
41500 Salinas, CA 433,410 44,523 10,272.7 528 121.8
49700 Yuba City, CA 172,469 17,207 9,976.9 177 102.6
37100 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 847,263 83,869 9,898.8 1,044 123.2
41740 San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA 3,316,073 298,002 8,986.6 3,798 114.5
46700 Vallejo, CA 441,829 36,004 8,148.9 263 59.5
42200 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 444,829 35,741 8,034.8 467 105.0
42020 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA 282,165 21,970 7,786.2 265 93.9
34900 Napa, CA 139,623 10,442 7,478.7 82 58.7
39820 Redding, CA 179,212 13,043 7,278.0 242 135.0
40900 Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA 2,315,980 166,866 7,205.0 2,423 104.6
42220 Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA 499,772 32,880 6,579.0 330 66.0
41940 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1,987,846 129,686 6,523.9 2,162 108.8
42100 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 273,962 16,616 6,065.1 207 75.6
17020 Chico, CA 225,817 13,235 5,860.9 205 90.8
41860 San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 4,701,332 274,953 5,848.4 3,510 74.7