Riverside County health officials Thursday reported 1,200 newly diagnosed coronavirus cases over a two-day period and three additional fatalities, bringing the death toll from the virus to 1,355.

The aggregate number of infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is now 3,541, compared to 72,341 on Tuesday, according to the Riverside University Health System. No data was reported Wednesday because of the Veterans Day holiday.

Health officials reported 271 COVID-positive hospitalizations, up 17 from Tuesday, including 67 intensive care unit patients — three less than two days ago.

County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that 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.”

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 may be 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 number of known active virus cases countywide is 7,986, an increase of 721 compared to two days ago. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 73,541 — according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 64,200.

The countywide testing rate is now 232.9 per 100,000. However, the newly revised California Department of Public Health threshold for large counties is 272.41, meaning jurisdictions short of that are penalized when they’re rated under the standards established as part of the governor’s color-coded, tiered regulatory framework. The previous testing benchmark set by the state was 239.1.

The county’s overall COVID-19 positivity rate is at 6.7%, compared to 5.9% two weeks ago.

Nearly four weeks ago, the CDPH reclassified the county in the “purple” tier, the most restrictive under the 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.

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