Riverside County has reported 253 newly diagnosed coronavirus cases and one additional death while hospitalizations remained below 150 countywide.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 67,552, compared to 67,299 on Wednesday, according to the Riverside University Health System. The number of deaths tied to COVID-19 now stands at 1,306.
The agency Thursday reported 149 COVID-positive hospitalizations, one more than a day ago, and that includes 35 intensive care unit patients, up three from Wednesday. COVID-19 hospitalizations are currently at or below levels reported in April.
The number of known active cases countywide is 5,822, a drop of 66 since Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 67,552 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 60,490.
The county’s coronavirus positivity rate has climbed to 5.6% amid a significant increase in the volume of people being tested countywide. Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the testing rate had reached 221.6 per 100,000, compared to 195.5 per 100,000 a week ago. The state’s threshold for large counties is 239.1 per 100,000.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of effort to increase testing in the county,” Saruwatari said.
With the increase in screening, there has been a proportional rise in positive results. The state-adjusted positivity rate edged up to 5.6% compared to an overall rate of 5.2% last week. Additionally, the daily COVID-19 case rate is now 10.1 per 100,000 under the California Department of Public’s Health criteria. The previous rate calculated by the state was 9.1 per 100,000.
Except for the positivity rate, which is still low, the other figures make the county ineligible for movement back into the “red” tier under the CDPH’s parameters.
Based partly on the low screening counts, the agency last Tuesday reclassified the county in the “purple” tier, the most restrictive under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s color-coded coronavirus regulatory framework, meaning some businesses that had reopened in recent weeks were required to close again, though the compliance level was unknown. The designation impacts gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship.
The board approved a self-directed reopening plan on Oct. 6, but the timetable originally included with the plan for allowing businesses to fully open was removed on a 4-1 vote because it would have conflicted with state mandates.
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