Flu-Like Symptoms Force Closure, Sanitization Of DHS DPSS Office

Toni McAllister

This article originally appeared on the Palm Desert Patch

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA — After several staff members at the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services' Desert Hot Springs location reported flu-like systems, the office has temporarily closed while crews conduct deep cleaning and sanitization, officials reported Thursday morning.

"Temporary closure and onsite staffing reductions at 65753 Pierson Blvd. office in Desert Hot Springs align with the department’s overarching efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to rapidly transition more than half of its 4,300-member workforce to teleworking from home. The office will reopen with limited staff and restricted public access on Monday, March 30," a county news release read.

There was no word whether any of the staffers with the flu-like symptoms have tested positive for COVID-19.

Employees will continue working remotely to serve Self-Sufficiency customers by telephone and online, according to county officials.

While most DPSS offices are closed, a handful of centralized locations remain open to serve only homeless people and those who require immediate expedited service. Customers who must be seen face to face while the Desert Hot Springs office is closed can visit other nearby DPSS locations in Cathedral City or Banning, official said.

"Staff and customers visiting any location are required to adhere to social distancing as DPSS officials remain focused on serving Riverside County’s most vulnerable populations and those hit hard by job losses brought on by the worldwide COVID-19 health crisis," the news release continued.

“The health of our employees and customers is our top priority,” said Allison Gonzalez, assistant director with DPSS’ Self Sufficiency Division. “We’re working to keep everybody safe while delivering vital benefits and services to individuals and households with great needs during this very challenging time.”

Customers can apply and access vital services and benefits online, including on the DPSS website at http://dpss.co.riverside.ca.us/ and over the phone by calling 877-410-8827.