Confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 in Riverside County have passed the 400 mark, with health officials reporting nine more fatalities and 516 newly confirmed cases, the largest one-day uptick in cases in Riverside County since the pandemic began.
Infections countywide now stand at 12,467, with 408 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to the Riverside University Health System.
Thursday’s increase in cases stems from a combination of factors including additional cases being reported in long-term care facilities and state prisons, and the possibility that some of the protests in recent weeks spurred more infections, according to Jose Arballo, an RUHS spokesman.
“The timing is about right for an increase if you were going to see it from the beginnings of the protests,” he said.
Since Wednesday, 28 new coronavirus patients have been admitted to Riverside County hospitals. There are now 285 patients, with 75 being treated in intensive care units, or 10 more than Wednesday. Officials previously announced that not all of the patients are Riverside County residents.
There were 6,516 recoveries as of Thursday, which is more than half of all countywide residents who have been infected. Officials define recoveries as people who were infected but are no longer in isolation, showing symptoms and have had their public health cases closed.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all residents to wear face coverings in almost all settings outside their homes to help slow the spread of the virus.
The statewide mandate requires residents to wear masks in “high-risk situations,” which cover virtually all scenarios outside the home.
Riverside County health officials on Thursday urged residents to abide by the new mandate despite having rescinded a similar order countywide in May, but did not specify how the order would be enforced.
“This pandemic has hit hard all of our communities. But in particular, people of color and vulnerable communities such as seniors, farm workers and those with compromised immune systems. We see a rise in positive cases and hospital bed usage in the county but more so in the Coachella Valley,” said Supervisor Manuel Perez.
A Riverside County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson told City News Service the department’s Media Information Bureau had not yet received a statement regarding enforcement on the matter from Sheriff Chad Bianco. The sheriff said last month he would not enforce the state’s stay-at-home order.
On Friday, more Riverside County businesses will be able to open their doors as the coronavirus regulatory bar is lowered further, with nail salons, tattoo parlors and massage therapy outlets eligible to return to operation.
The county is continuing its transition through stage 3 of the governor’s four-stage de-regulation framework tied to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to county health officials, nail salons, facial and esthetician providers, shaving, waxing and threading businesses, massage therapy outlets and tattoo and piercing parlors countywide will be eligible to resume operations under guidelines specified by the California Department of Public Health.
Last week, motels, gyms, bars, museums, theaters and wineries were among entities given the green light to reopen under public health guidelines that encourage social distancing, caps on the size of gatherings and repetitive sanitation of spaces.
Officials noted that wedding ceremonies can proceed, but receptions are not yet on the list of permitted functions.
In stage 4 of the governor’s de-regulation framework, nightclubs, concert venues and sports venues will be eligible to resume operations.
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