The official statewide end Tuesday to the governor’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” tier system stemming from the coronavirus pandemic coincided with drops in COVID positivity and case rates throughout Riverside County.
According to the Riverside University Health System, the positivity rate dropped to 1.1%, compared to 1.2% last week, and the state-adjusted case rate fell to 1.5 per 100,000 residents, based on a rolling seven-day average, compared to 1.6 per 100,000 last week.
The figures were announced by the Riverside University Health System via its online coronavirus portal, not during the Board of Supervisors’ meeting, as has been customary every Tuesday going back to May 2020.
Chair Karen Spiegel officially ended the in-person COVID updates Tuesday, saying that from now on, the time will be allotted to different county departments to share information regarding what they’re doing.
“It’s a good use of the time,” Spiegel said. “It’s something new and different.”
She encouraged residents, business owners and county employees to “savor life and focus on recovery.”
The tier system was put in place last August, replacing a phased reopening approach that the governor announced in April 2020.
The lifting of restrictions Tuesday means mask mandates are no longer universal but continue to apply in some settings, including on public buses, in schools and in hospitals, according to RUHS.
Most distancing and capacity limitations have also been rescinded, with a few restrictions continuing for “mega events,” defined as indoor concerts with 5,000 or more people, and outdoor gatherings with 10,000 or more attendees, officials said.
The number of COVID-positive patients hospitalized in Riverside County edged up to 41 on Tuesday, compared to 33 on Monday, but the number of intensive care unit patients with COVID-19 was unchanged at nine.
The aggregate number of COVID cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in March 2020 is 301,420, up 91 from Monday, according to RUHS.
The agency logged two additional virus-related deaths, bringing the number of COVID-19 fatalities recorded since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,622.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 802, up 94 from a day ago. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 301,420 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are 295,996.
According to RUHS, about 52% of all county residents have either been fully or partially vaccinated.
Homebound people with infirmities can make an appointment for vaccination via the web portal myturn.ca.gov/, or by calling 833-422-4255. Residents who are not homebound must continue to use the county website to make an appointment: www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Or they may call the county’s 211 help line.