Riverside County health officials Monday reported 1,288 more confirmed coronavirus cases since Friday, along with one new death stemming from COVID-19, while also announcing a drop of more than two dozen hospitalizations.
The total coronavirus case count countywide since the start of the pandemic is now 29,983, and the death toll is 588, according to the Riverside University Health System. The documentation period for the data stretches back to early March.
As of Monday, there were 507 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in medical facilities countywide, down 28 since Friday. The hospitalization number includes 131 patients in intensive care units, up one from Friday, according to RUHS data.
Out of all the patients being treated in Riverside County, only two are from neighboring Imperial County, the site of a coronavirus outbreak that overwhelmed the county’s two hospitals, forcing some patients to be transferred to Riverside County.
Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, said Monday the county is in the midst of a surge, and that surge should not be blamed on Imperial County.
“We are experiencing a real local community spread surge that requires real local community awareness and responsibility to stop the surge,” Ruiz, who is also an emergency room doctor, posted on Facebook.
“Blaming the surge on Imperial County patients is not based on evidence and the misinformation diminishes the urgency and need to take local public health precautions that will help our local community stop the surge.”
Some venues in Riverside County have continued hosting concerts and other live entertainment events in defiance of California health orders, according to the county’s Office of the County Counsel, which issued a public advisory Monday warning against the practice.
“The County of Riverside has been advised that some restaurants, wineries, parks and other local establishments may be hosting live music or entertainment events,” a letter signed by Gregory P. Priamos, the county counsel, reads.
“Please allow this letter to serve as an advisory that offering or holding live entertainment, including live music, is not permitted under the current Orders of Governor (Gavin) Newsom and the California State Public Health Officer.”
Live music events fall under stage 4 of the governor’s four-stage Pandemic Resilience Roadmap, and state officials have yet to indicate when that activity would be permitted.
The known active COVID-19 case count Monday was 18,600, up 908 from Friday’s figures. According to the county Executive Office, the active case count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current cumulative total, 29,983.
An additional 379 patients were reported to have recovered from the disease caused by the virus over the weekend, bringing the total to 10,795. 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 last 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 24.3 days as of Friday. A doubling rate of seven days is considered severe.
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 10,998 total infections. Most of the county’s fatalities, or 286, have been people between the ages of 65 and 84.
Newsom on Friday ordered all school campuses to remain closed when the new school year begins in 32 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.