Riverside County health officials Thursday reported another 696 confirmed coronavirus infections and 26 additional COVID-19 deaths.
The total number of cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March stands at 44,679 cases, with the death toll at 879, according to the Riverside University Health System.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 20,513, an increase of 236 from Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 44,679 — according to the county Executive Office.
The number of confirmed patient recoveries is 23,287. The county defines a recovery as someone who has not manifested symptoms for 14 days.
According to RUHS data, 307 people are hospitalized for COVID-19, 28 fewer than Tuesday. Hospitalizations include 94 patients in intensive care units. In comparison, officials reported last Thursday that 415 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 128 being treated in ICU beds.
Last week, Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors that the county had “seen a downward trend in hospitalizations” beginning the last week of July, with both general COVID-positive hospitalizations and ICU referrals trending lower.
According to Barton, the greatest number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations are in District 4, which encompasses the Coachella Valley. Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage has seen the heaviest demand for COVID-19 treatment, requiring a 19-person federal medical team to assist on-site staff, the EMD director said.
Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the board that District 4 also has had the highest proportion of coronavirus-related deaths. She said that nearly two-thirds — 63% — of all deaths coded as COVID-19 were correlated to underlying conditions, principally chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease.
The doubling time — or the number of days in which documented virus cases increase 100% — is 35 days. A doubling rate of seven days is considered severe.
Several school districts began their fall semesters Monday and others will follow in the coming weeks countywide. All districts are set up for distance — or online — instruction for now. Once the county’s COVID-19 infection rate recedes, many schools will be eligible to apply for waivers from the California Department of Public Health, enabling them to proceed with limited in-person class activities.
Last week, in-person sports activities were permitted to resume with physical distancing and safety protocols in place.
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