Riverside County health officials Thursday reported 1,615 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and 55 additional virus-related deaths as the number of hospitalizations connected to COVID-19 continued to trend downward.

The aggregate number of coronavirus cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 270,105, compared to 268,490 on Wednesday, according to the Riverside University Health System.

Total virus-related fatalities stood at 3,058. Deaths are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates, and typically cover three- to four-week periods.

The number of known active virus cases countywide stands at 71,761, down 3,108 from Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 270,105 — according to the county Executive Office.

Verified patient recoveries countywide were at 195,286, according to RUHS.

The number of coronavirus hospitalizations countywide was at 1,191, down 47 from the day before. That includes 317 patients being treated in intensive-care unit beds, up two from Wednesday.

At this point, if numbers continue to trend down, the county’s peak in coronavirus hospitalizations will have been Jan. 10, when 1,675 people suffering virus-related complications were undergoing treatment.

Despite the recent trend of decreased coronavirus patients in area hospitals, the county’s available ICU space remains at 0%, along with the 11-county Southern California region.

“Our (hospital) numbers are going down. We’re cautiously optimistic about that,” Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom this week lifted his Dec. 6 stay-at-home order, which was based on areas sliding below a threshold of 15% available ICU space. He justified cancellation of the order Monday by citing projections from the CDPH showing ICU availability recovering in the next month.

County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the board that conditions are generally improving in county hospitals, with patients taking up about 83% of licensed available beds, compared to just over 90% during the holidays.

Yet the county remains in the most restrictive purple tier of the governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.

The county’s overall COVID-19 positive rate is 20%, down from 23.5% last week, based on state-adjusted figures.

The purple tier impacts bars, theaters, museums, indoor recreational facilities, amusement parks and wineries — all of which are supposed to remain closed. However, wineries, like restaurants, can provide outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.

Retail outlets are limited to 25% capacity, while hair salons, nail salons and barbershops can operate with safeguards in place.

Meanwhile, Riverside County has received 180,275 Pfizer and Moderna SARS-Cov-2 vaccine doses to date, according to public health officials. However, because each dispensation regimen requires two shots within a 30-day period, the immunization program has been limited.

Just over 101,000 doses have been given to people throughout the county. Those who are 65 years and older, along with hospital workers, first responders and teachers, are in the current qualifying tiers under the California Department of Public Health’s vaccination guidance.

According to health officials, about 800,000 residents are eligible to receive shots based on current criteria.

The reservation portal to make an appointment for vaccination can be accessed via www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine.

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