Riverside County health officials reported 331 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, but no new virus-related deaths.

The number of infections recorded in the county since the pandemic began in March 2020 now stands at 311,573, according to the Riverside University Health System, which also reported 4,667 deaths in that time.

There were 344 hospital patients infected with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, up four from the day before. That figure includes 77 intensive care unit patients, up three from Tuesday.

The number of known active virus cases was 5,839 as of Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total, according to the county Executive Office.

Verified patient recoveries countywide totaled 301,067.

Riverside County is experiencing the highest number of COVID-positive hospitalizations since February, although it is well below the level seen during the winter surge, when more than 1,600 people where hospitalized with the virus.

The recent increase in new cases mirrors a nationwide surge, with federal health officials blaming the highly infectious Delta strain of the virus first detected in India.

When asked about a possible culprit for the sudden increase in cases in Riverside County, Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung theorized last week that the jump could be linked to the relaxation of state lockdown measures in June.

Officials say the Delta variant is highly contagious, spreading more easily from person to person. State health officials reiterated Monday that the variant is preying on the unvaccinated population, which has an infection rate nearly seven times higher than that of vaccinated residents.

According to RUHS, 58% of county residents 12 and older have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot, and 50.1% have been fully vaccinated.

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