Confirmed coronavirus cases in Riverside County climbed by 456 Tuesday, and six more deaths attributed to complications stemming from the virus were reported, but a county official said the patient count in hospitals is the lowest it’s been since early June.

The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March was 51,200, compared to 50,744 on Monday.

According to the Riverside University Health System, the total number of deaths believed to be tied to COVID-19 stands at 978. Monday’s figure was 972.

RUHS officials said 222 people are hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19, down two from a day earlier, with 79 patients in intensive care units, down three in 24 hours.

“We are polling hospitals every single day,” county Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. “The data on hospitalizations is very solid. We are at the lowest point since early June for (COVID-19) hospitalizations.”

One week ago, the number of hospitalizations was reported to be 300, and a month ago, the figure was 523.

“Hospitals are now seeing an increase in non-COVID patients, as some of the hospitals are gaining back their capabilities to ratchet up elective surgeries,” the EMD director said.

Health officials also notified the board that with the county now below the California Department of Public Health threshold of 200 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, which requires ongoing restrictions, public and private schools can apply for waivers that permit in-class instruction. Two have been approved by the county Department of Public Health, and a dozen more are under review. All will require state sign-offs.

The number of known active virus cases countywide is 21,815, an increase of 450, figures showed. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 51,200 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 28,407.

According to Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari, nearly two-thirds of all deaths coded as COVID-19 have been 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 42 days. A doubling rate of seven days is reason for alarm, while expanding doubling times point to moderation, or gradual success in virus containment, according to health officials.

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