Riverside County probation officer, a 34-year-old husband and father, dies of COVID

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A 34-year-old Riverside County Probation Department officer has died of complications from COVID-19, officials announced Tuesday.

Deputy Probation Officer Julio Beltran, a seven-year veteran of the department, passed away on Saturday, according to a news release.

"It is presumed that he contracted the virus during his daily job duties of helping probation clients change their lives and protecting the community," the agency said in the statement.

Beltran is survived by his wife, a son and his parents.

"We are devastated and heartbroken," said Chief Probation Officer Ron Miller II. "We ask that you join us in remembering his commitment and contribution to his community and to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers."

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"We always had one or two, sometimes we even had no COVID patients, but now it's kind of exploded," described a patient at one local facility.

Colleagues remembered Beltran as a "vibrant, funny and endearing person who was dedicated to helping clients in his care." Others recalled the extra time he took assisting co-workers and mentoring young probation officers.

Riverside County health officials say area hospitals are prepared for what appears to be a second-wave surge in cases of coronavirus.

"We are surpassing our previous statewide surge'' in July, county Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said Tuesday. "It's consistent with what's happening in the nation.''

She said the county now has a state-adjusted new case rate of 22.4 per 100,000 residents and an overall state-calculated positivity rate of 8.9%, up from 6.7%.

The county's testing level is at 282.1 per 100,000. The revised state threshold for large counties is 272 per 100,000, according to Saruwatari.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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