More than 12,000 newly confirmed coronavirus patient recoveries were reported in Riverside County Wednesday as a result of a switch-up in how the county reports the statistic.
The number of people in the county who were at one point infected with the virus but have since recovered now totals 40,769, compared to 28,407 reported on Tuesday, according to the Riverside University Health System.
“We needed to change the way recoveries are calculated to include all cases that RUHS-Public Health has been unable to reach after 45 days of attempted follow-up,” said Jose Arballo, an RUHS spokesman. “Sometimes this happens as a result of missing or changed contact information, or when the patient doesn’t answer or call back.”
The county defines a recovery as not manifesting symptoms for 14 days.
Health officials also reported 338 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and six additional deaths, bringing the totals recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March to 51,538 cases and 984 deaths.
The new recovery numbers drastically lowered the amount of active coronavirus cases thought to be lingering in Riverside County, which now stands at 9,785, a decrease of 12,030 compared to Tuesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 51,538 — according to the county Executive Office.
RUHS officials said 225 people were hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, up three from a day earlier, with 79 of those patients in intensive care units, down one from the previous day.
“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.
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 43 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.