Riverside County reported its highest one-day increase of COVID-19 cases on Monday on the heels of a major easing of public health orders this weekend that allowed in-person dining and shopping.
Health officials reported three days worth of data, showing 88 new cases on Saturday, 180 on Sunday and 272 Monday, the highest single-day figure since the county began keeping track.
The countywide total stands at 7,004 cases.
Two new deaths also were reported Monday, increasing the total to 292.
Hospitalizations remained unchanged at 194.
Brooke Federico, a spokeswoman for the Riverside University Health System, said Mondays typically see larger bumps in cases because labs are reporting a backlog of positive tests.
She also said it was important to pay attention to the hospitalization rate, which remained stable.
“It means there's still available capacity in our hospital system,” she said.
Also Monday, The Gardens on El Paseo, an outdoor shopping center in Palm Desert, announced it would reopen on Tuesday, though only a handful of shops will open their doors.
The Westfield Mall, also in Palm Desert, is set to reopen on Friday.
Officials at both shopping centers readying to welcome customers said they will have limited hours and will implement robust cleaning protocols, with a focus on high-touch areas.
Last Friday, the county was given approval by the California Department of Public Health, with the governor's blessing, for an “accelerated” move into reopening economic sectors impacted by the coronavirus emergency closures.
The move paved the way for restrictions on in-person dining and shopping to be lifted in time for the Memorial Day Weekend.
The California Department of Public Health rescinded its ban on in-person shopping at retail stores for all counties on Monday.
According to Riverside University Health System researcher Dr. Geoffrey Leung, the countywide hospitalization rate for COVID-19 cases has been flat for the past few weeks, remaining below 200, while the “positivity rate” from coronavirus screenings generally has been 2% to 4%, figures that did not raise red flags.