Riverside County’s coronavirus infection rate is in an uptrend, with numbers still nowhere near the summer peak but rising, and patients from the prison system and neighboring Imperial County are contributing to increasing local hospitalizations, officials said Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, our numbers are increasing,” county Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors.
She said the county’s overall COVID-19 positivity rate is at 6.7%, compared to 5.9% a week ago. The “raw” case rate is 13.3 per 100,000 population, with a state-adjusted rate of 13.9 per 100,000.
The county’s testing rate is 232.9 per 100,000 residents. However, the newly revised California Department of Public Health threshold for large counties is 272.41, meaning jurisdictions underneath that level are penalized when they’re rated per the standards established as part of the governor’s color-coded, tiered regulatory framework.
County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the board virus-related hospitalizations “continue to trend up.”
“We’ve had outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities,” he said. “We’re making sure they have appropriate personal protective equipment.”
The number of COVID-positive hospitalizations is at 244, up 16 from Monday, including 70 intensive care unit patients. Barton said nine patients are from the state prison system, with which the Riverside University Health System has a contract. Three patients from Imperial County are also in area medical facilities, but Barton did not know whether additional transfers from Imperial were imminent.
The county’s peak in hospitalizations occurred in mid-July, when nearly 600 COVID-positive patients were under general or intensive care. The low point was near the beginning of the hospital reporting period in late March, when Barton said 119 were hospitalized.
The aggregate number of virus infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 72,341, compared to 71,621 Monday, according to the Riverside University Health System.
Officials said the number of deaths related to COVID-19 stands at 1,352, up 14 since Monday.
The number of known active cases countywide is 7,265, an increase of 461 a day ago. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 72,341 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 63,724.
Nearly four weeks ago, the CDPH reclassified the county in the “purple” tier, the most restrictive under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 regulatory framework, meaning some businesses that had reopened in recent weeks were required to close again. The designation impacts offices, gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship.
More information is available at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.
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