The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Riverside County edged up Tuesday by 241, with 10 more deaths attributed to the virus, even as hospitalizations continue to fall.

The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 59,173, compared to 58,932 on Monday, according to the Riverside University Health System.

RUHS officials said the number of deaths tied to COVID-19 stands at 1,216, up from 1,206 on Monday.

According to the Emergency Management Department, 125 people are hospitalized countywide with virus symptoms, down three from a day ago. The hospitalization figure includes 33 intensive care unit patients, also three fewer than Monday. All COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are now at or below levels reported in April.

County Supervisor Karen Spiegel questioned Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari about the anticipated jump in coronavirus infections that RUHS representatives had suggested might follow Labor Day holiday weekend gatherings.

“We have not seen a significant increase,” Saruwatari told the board.

The number of known active cases countywide is 3,807, up 11 since Monday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 59,173 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is now up to 54,150.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week the county’s shift to the “red tier” from the most restrictive “purple tier” as part of his Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The county qualified for the move under testing and positivity thresholds established by the California Department of Public Health.

The red tier permits shopping malls, swap meets, barbershops, hair salons, fitness centers and restaurants to operate — with limitations on indoor capacities and enforcement of social distancing.

The board last week debated replacing the state’s tiered system with a county-designed accelerated reopening plan that would wrap up by Nov. 3, permitting all businesses, houses of worship, offices, wineries and other entities to fully open with health safeguards in place.

Spiegel and Supervisor Kevin Jeffries were supportive of the concept, introduced by Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, but they voiced concerns about the need to verify how much money the state might withhold if the county takes an autonomous path. The matter will be debated again next Tuesday.

According to the CDPH, the county has averaged six 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. At the current level, the county would not be eligible for reassignment to the even less restrictive “orange tier.”

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