A day after Riverside County was moved to a less restrictive level under the state’s four-tier roadmap for business reopenings, active COVID-19 cases fell slightly, while hospitalizations edged up, figures released Wednesday showed.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday the county’s shift from the most restrictive “purple tier” to the “red tier,” permitting shopping malls, swap meets, barbershops, hair salons, fitness centers and restaurants to open — with limitations on indoor capacities and enforcement of social distancing.

The county qualified for the move under testing and positivity thresholds established by the California Department of Public Health.

The Riverside University Health System said the aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 57,695, up 213 since Tuesday. However, the number of known active cases countywide is 3,518, a drop of 16 since Tuesday.

The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 57,695 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is now up to 53,004.

RUHS said the number of deaths tied to COVID-19 stands at 1,173, one more than the day before, and there are 150 patients hospitalized countywide for treatment of the virus, four more than Tuesday. That figure includes 42 people in intensive care units, unchanged since Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday debated replacing the state’s tiered system with an accelerated reopening plan that would have wrapped up by Nov. 3, permitting all businesses, houses of worship, offices, wineries and other entities countywide to fully open with health safeguards in place.

However, after several supervisors aired concerns about the need to modify the proposal and verify how much money the state might withhold because the county chose to go its own way, the vote was postponed to Oct. 6.

Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the board that the county’s virus-related hospitalizations have plummeted over the last two months, with no concern now over capacity to treat the ill for any malady. He said the Emergency Operations Center in downtown Riverside had been de-activated but remains in standby mode.

According to the CDPH, the county has averaged 5.8 cases a day per 100,000 population over the last two weeks, 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 reassignment.

Additional information about the formula can be found at www.covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.

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