The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Riverside County has increased by 215, with 11 more deaths attributed to the virus, but known active cases fell further, according to local health officials.
The total number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 56,201, along with 1,136 deaths in that time, according to the Riverside University Health System.
Coronavirus cases countywide are now generally increasing at a level that’s barely ahead of patient recoveries, according to health officials. On Wednesday, the number of new recoveries — 340 — came in higher than the 215 newly confirmed cases, although officials have warned that there is a lag time for lab results to be returned, so day-to-day increases are fluctuating.
The number of verified patient recoveries countywide now stands at 51,372.
The number of known active virus cases is 3,693, a drop of 206 since Tuesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 56,201 — according to the county Executive Office.
The county’s 17 acute care facilities are seeing their lowest number of admissions in five months.
“I do have a bit of good news: Over 90% of those who have been diagnosed with a case have recovered,” Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the board Tuesday that the county “continues to see a precipitous drop in hospitalizations” connected to the virus.
“We’re continuing to see the trends move in a positive direction,” he said. “We’re watching and monitoring.”
The number of patients hospitalized countywide for coronavirus treatment was 155, which was unchanged since Tuesday. That figure includes 47 people in intensive care units. Data indicated that the last time figures were at the same or lower levels occurred in mid-April.
Barton acknowledged there may be lingering cases that fully materialize this week following Labor Day weekend gatherings, but he did not anticipate a significant jump. Flu season combined with a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections this fall remains a concern, the EMD director said. He emphasized, however, that the county’s medical facilities are prepared.
The California Department of Public Health updated the county’s current tier standing on Tuesday, and though the county remains in the most restrictive purple tier under the governor’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” guidelines, the numbers have shifted, and if case rates hold at or below current thresholds, the county will qualify for the red tier. That would mean a reduction in public health regulations keeping many businesses closed and penalizing those that open without authorization.
According to the latest data, the county has averaged 5.8 cases a day per 100,000 population in the last week, but because COVID-19 testing volumes are below the state median required for a large county, Riverside County has been given an “adjusted rate” of 6.7. That still puts the county below the 7- per-100,000 level needed for tier re-assignment. What’s more, the testing positivity rate is now 6.4%, below the 8% threshold for re-assignment.
“We must meet the metrics for the red tier for two weeks before the state will move us into the red tier,” Executive Office spokeswoman Brooke Federico told City News Service.
Additional information about the formula can be found at www.covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.
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