Coronavirus: Physical distancing lags in Inland Empire, data shows

INLAND EMPIRE (KABC) -- Take one look at Southern California freeways and it's easy to see that people are staying home during the coronavirus pandemic.

But in the Inland Empire, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the decline in driving and increase in physical distancing might not be as significant as in other counties.

Los Angeles County has seen mobility drop by more than 90% over the past two weeks, followed by Orange and Ventura counties.

But those in the Inland Empire don't seem to be staying home as much.

San Bernardino County only saw a 77% decrease, according to an ABC7 Eyewitness news analysis of data provided by Descartes Labs.

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On March 9, the average person traveled more than four and a half miles from their home in San Bernardino, and by March 23, it was down to one mile.

But in Los Angeles County, the average person traveled less than four miles from their home on March 9, and by March 23 that was down to just a third of a mile, or about three blocks.

Want to view physical distancing data in a larger screen? Click here

One reason for this difference might be the number of essential jobs in the area.

For example, while the number of passenger planes flying into Ontario has plummeted, activity at the airport on the delivery side of the equation is through the roof.

"San Bernardino County is one of the logistics hubs for all of Southern California, if not the west coast," said San Bernardino County Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman.

He said you can even look beyond the airport, to all the warehouses around the area.

"We're heavily logistics in San Bernardino County, so a lot that's being required essential is logistics," said Hagman. "We're the ones putting food in the grocery stores, we're the ones putting medicines in the pharmaceuticals, distributing the medical supplies. You're going to see a lot of the same trucks on the road that you normally see."

Across the state, counties that depend on tourism have seen the opposite.

Napa County, better known as "Wine Country" is empty. Orange County's beaches are bare. Disneyland is deserted.

Some of the traffic on the roads could be attributed to people not following the "Stay at Home" order. But as more and more cities in the Inland Empire see positive tests for COVID-19, the thought is that more and more people will be staying home.

"It's across every city, so there's safe havens to go, we have to assume it's around us, so we have to take those precautions," said Hagman.
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