Riverside County health officials have reported three new COVID-19 deaths and 237 newly confirmed infections, marking the lowest one-day case increase in a week and a half and following by two days the largest one-day uptick since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Total known infections stand at 15,142, with the death toll at 435, the Riverside University Health System said Thursday.
The RUHS data showed 311 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in county hospitals, three fewer than Wednesday, but the number being treated in intensive care units was up by three to 95.
The 237 cases reported Thursday represent the lowest daily increase since June 15, when 177 cases were reported. On Tuesday, officials reported 631 new cases, the largest one-day increase since the pandemic began in March.
The number of documented patient recoveries is 7,272.
Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that 10 to 15 patients a day are being transferred from Imperial County, which is battling a major outbreak, to Riverside County and surrounding jurisdictions. However, fewer than a dozen of those patients are currently in medical facilities within Riverside County.
Barton added that part of the surge in hospitalizations, which were below 250 a week ago, is attributable to COVID-19 outbreaks in state prisons in the region, which contract with the Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley for care of inmates.
Sheriff Chad Bianco told the board Tuesday that the number of infections in the county correctional system was down to two, and those patients are asymptomatic. At one point, the caseload was over 200.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that Riverside is one of 11 counties the state is watching due to coronavirus surges, along with. San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Imperial, Santa Barbara, Kern, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties.
According to the California Department of Public Health, in addition to outbreaks in state prisons, a higher number of COVID-19 cases in skilled nursing facilities and recent public protests involving large numbers of people were pushing infection rates up.
According to RUHS, 3,500 randomly selected residents will be asked to take part in antibody studies to determine whether they’ve been exposed and have already recovered from the virus. Residents cannot volunteer for the antibody research, and those who agree to participate after random sampling will have their blood drawn at one of nine sites countywide.
More information is available at www.rivcoph.org/antibodystudy.
Newsom last week ordered all California residents to wear face coverings in most settings outside their homes to help slow the spread of the virus. The statewide mandate requires residents to wear masks in “high-risk situations,” which cover virtually all scenarios.
Riverside County had previously rescinded its mask mandate, and it was unclear how closely the statewide directive would be enforced locally, if at all.
More county businesses opened their doors last Friday as the coronavirus regulatory bar was lowered further, and the county continued its transition through stage 3 of the governor’s four-stage de-regulation framework tied to the health emergency.
Nail salons, facial and esthetician providers, shaving, waxing and threading businesses, massage therapy outlets and tattoo and piercing parlors countywide were deemed eligible to resume operation under guidelines specified by the state.
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