The overall number of coronavirus cases in Riverside County climbed over the weekend, increasing by 791, and three additional deaths were announced a day ahead of Tuesday’s report on the county’s status in the state’s tiered grading system.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 64,075, compared to 63,284 on Friday, according to the Riverside University Health System. The number of deaths tied to COVID-19 stands at 1,272.
RUHS officials reported that 153 people are hospitalized for virus-related treatment, an increase of five since the end of last week. That number includes 43 intensive care unit patients — one less than Friday.
The number of known active cases countywide is 4,845, an increase of 224 since Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 64,075 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 57,958.
Last Tuesday, state officials announced the county is at risk of being moved back into the purple tier, the most restrictive classification, under the state’s public health regulation framework, because testing levels are below the threshold established for large counties and case rates are higher based on adjusted metrics.
At the county’s request, the California Department of Public Health left the county’s status unchanged until a review of data was completed. The findings by the CDPH are expected to be announced Tuesday morning, when the Board of Supervisors will also get an update from RUHS staff.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s color-coded tier system relies on testing thresholds, case positivity rates and so-called “equity” measures, which focus on specific communities, to determine how a county should be classified. Riverside County moved out of the purple tier and into the red tier last month, allowing for some indoor businesses to resume operations with limited capacities.
According to the CDPH, the county now has a COVID-19 per-day case count of 8.1 per 100,000 people, but that has been adjusted to 9.2 per 100,000 because testing thresholds are below what the state prefers. Generally, a jurisdiction must fall below a daily count of 7 per 100,000 to qualify for the red tier. However, the county’s testing positivity rate is 5.9%, which is well within red tier criteria.
The Board of Supervisors on Oct. 6 voted for a self-directed plan to deregulate the local economy, but it largely follows state guidelines.
The plan seeks a modified approach to reopening economic sectors, adhering to CDPH parameters, but giving county CEO George Johnson authority to relax public health regulations impacting businesses and other entities on a schedule that falls outside the state’s mandates, if he chooses.
Johnson expressed a desire to follow state directives because the county stands to lose more than $100 million in relief grants otherwise.
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