Riverside County

Coronavirus Case Count Grows, Hospitalizations Up in Riverside County

Riverside County is on the state's "watch list."

Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

The number of known active coronavirus cases throughout Riverside County has climbed by 527, and the number of deaths connected to the virus increased by two, officials with the Riverside University Health System said.

According to health officials, the confirmed active case count widened to 10,059 Thursday, compared to 9,532 on Wednesday. The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 complications stands at 465, compared to 463 reported by RUHS a day earlier.

The documentation period covers early March to the present. In that time, a total 18,720 infections have been recorded by the county. On Wednesday, the aggregate figure was 18,041.

The active case count is derived by subtracting deaths and patient recoveries from the current total -- 18,720 -- according to the county Executive Office, which noted that the number of verified patient recoveries countywide is now 8,196. The county defines a recovery as someone who has not exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days.

Health officials in San Bernardino County held their own news conference to discuss a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on June 26, 2020.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday implemented a ban on indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, family entertainment centers, cardrooms, theaters and museums in what he termed a precautionary move to address the "particularly concerning'' spike in infections in 19 counties on the state's "watch list.''

Riverside County is on that list and is among the places where multi- agency strike teams are being deployed to interface with proprietors to insist on compliance with health protocols, such as social distancing and mask usage. The new state mandate barring indoor activities at the venues is slated to last three weeks.

Bars countywide were ordered closed Monday by a new public health order. They had been allowed to reopen on June 12, after having previously been shut down as part of the governor's stay-at-home order issued March 19.

Health officials said there are higher COVID-19 exposure risks in bars. The also said recent demonstrations calling for law enforcement reform in Riverside County and elsewhere were likely additional hotbeds for viral contact.

According to Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari, the county's positivity rate for COVID-19 screening is running close to 12%, while the state's preferred benchmark is 8%.

Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the "doubling rate'' -- when the number of COVID-19 cases increases 100% over a given period - - is at 27 days. The metric is considered a key indicator of moderation or intensification of viral spread. It is in the severe category when the doubling rate is seven days.

Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton told the board that the hospital bed usage rate countywide has been between 61% and 68% in recent days, while the intensive care bed usage has been between 95% and 99%. But Barton said most hospitals have the ability to quickly add bed space well beyond their licensed capacities.

The EMD director said only about one quarter of the ICU beds countywide were currently needed for COVID-19 patients. The latest data indicate 123 coronavirus patients currently require intensive care, and another 429 patients are in sub-acute beds.

Riverside County was advancing into Stage 3 of the governor's four- stage public health de-regulation plan, but with COVID-19 cases spiking, and the renewed restrictions, that process is now on hold.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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