Riverside County health officials Friday reported 518 more confirmed coronavirus cases as the county continues to grapple with increased wait times for the return of test results due to an influx in tests being administered.
Three more deaths attributed to COVID-19 were reported Friday — a woman in her 90s from Cathedral City, a man in his 60s from Murrieta and a man in his 50s from Cathedral City — although the cumulative total of deaths only increased by two due to a duplicate fatality that had been reported Thursday, according to Riverside University Health System spokesman Jose Arballo.
The aggregate coronavirus count countywide is now 28,695, and the death toll is 587, according to Friday’s figures. The documentation period for the data stretches back to early March.
As of Friday, people who get tested for the coronavirus at county-run facilities should expect to wait between seven to 10 days to get their results back, Arballo said.
In recent weeks, it took between five and seven days on average for the county’s commercial testing partners to return results, but a recent uptick in test submissions has extended wait times, keeping with similar trends nationwide.
“The backlog is at the lab level,” Arballo said. “They are having trouble keeping up with the number of tests being submitted for analysis.”
Meanwhile, the known active COVID-19 case count Friday was 17,692, up 371 from Thursday. According to the county Executive Office, the active case count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current cumulative total, 28,695.
The number of confirmed patient recoveries is 10,416, officials said. The county defines a recovery as someone who has not exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days.
Riverside County continues to have the second-most cumulative cases and deaths in California, behind only Los Angeles County.
County Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the average positivity rate for those screened for the virus countywide is at 20%, two and a half times the preferred state threshold of 8%.
“The high positivity rate is something we continue to watch,” Saruwatari said.
The doubling time — or the number of days in which documented virus cases increase 100% — is now at 24 days as of Thursday. A doubling rate of seven days is considered severe.
There are now 535 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in medical facilities countywide, up four from Thursday, including 130 patients in intensive care units, down four from Thursday’s figures, according to RUHS data. This includes non-Riverside County residents being treated in area hospitals.
As of Friday, the age bracket with the largest amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Riverside County includes those between the ages of 25 and 44, comprising 10,797 total infections. Most of the county’s fatalities, or 286, have been people between the ages of 65 and 84.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday ordered all school campuses to remain closed when the new school year begins in counties on the state’s monitoring list due to spiking coronavirus cases — which includes Riverside County — signaling that local districts will be required to begin the new school year with distance-learning programs.
The governor announced an executive order Monday directing that indoor activity in gyms, hair salons, houses of worship, malls and non-critical offices be closed. The order affects all 30 counties on the state’s pandemic monitoring list.
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