Figures to date show the aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Riverside County since the public health documentation period began in March is 287,534, with 3,633 deaths.
COVID-positive hospitalizations in Riverside County dropped further Friday, falling to a 10-week low, while an additional 34 virus-related deaths were reported.
According to the Riverside University Health System, coronavirus hospitalizations countywide declined to 513 Friday, compared to 535 on Thursday, and that includes 152 ICU patients, 20 fewer than on Thursday.
The last time virus-connected hospitalizations were at or near the current level was during the last week of November.
Health officials do not provide updated coronavirus statistics on the weekend.
Despite the downtrend, ICU bed capacity countywide technically remains at 0%, though the majority of admissions are not from COVID-19, according to RUHS.
The number of known active virus cases countywide was 24,013 on Friday, down 2,315 compared to a day earlier. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 287,534 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are now at 259,888.
Earlier this month Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors that Blue Shield had reached an agreement with the California Department of Public Health to coordinate vaccine distribution efforts throughout the state, including Riverside County.
However, some vaccination programs are in a holding pattern due to weather-related bottlenecks during the past week, resulting in 600 appointments being postponed. The deep freeze across the Midwest impacted shipments, and according to RUHS, the delayed distributions of Pfizer and Moderna doses disrupted operations at vaxx clinics in Beaumont, Hemet, Indio and Menifee.
Operations were also affected in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
Scheduling is expected to return to normal as early as this week in Riverside County.
Vaccination of seniors remains a priority, but others who qualify under the CDPH Phase 1 guidelines include hospital workers, first responders, teachers and some agricultural workers. The portal to make an appointment for vaccination can be accessed via www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Anyone who needs assistance may also call the county’s 211 help line.
The overall countywide COVID-19 testing positivity rate is 11%, down from 14.4% the previous week, based on state-adjusted figures.
The county is still in the most restrictive purple tier of the governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework, impacting bars, theaters, museums, indoor recreational facilities and wineries — all of which are supposed to remain closed. However wineries, like restaurants, can provide outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.
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