Riverside County Monday reported 545 newly confirmed coronavirus cases, 11 additional virus-related deaths and a slight bump in hospitalizations over the weekend.

The total number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in March 2020 is 296,635, according to the Riverside University Health System, which also reported 4,492 verified COVID-related fatalities.

The agency, which does not provide updated COVID-19 statistics on weekends, reported that 90 coronavirus patients were being treated in hospitals countywide as of Monday, one more than Friday. That figure includes 20 intensive care unit patients, three fewer than Friday.

The number of known active virus cases countywide was 2,158, down 53. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 296,635 — according to the county Executive Office.

The coronavirus positivity rate countywide is 2%, compared to 2.3% two weeks ago. The state-adjusted case rate is 3.5 per 100,000 people, which reflects a rolling seven-day average. It was 4.1 per 100,000 two weeks ago.

After more than a year of distance learning due to the pandemic, the Palm Springs Unified School District on Monday became the latest Riverside County school district to allow some students back in classrooms again.

Students in kindergarten, first and second grades returned to their respective schools. Students are divided into two cohorts that will be attending class at staggered intervals throughout the week as part of a hybrid-learning model.

Students in third through sixth grades are set return next Monday, with students in upper grades set to return in the following weeks.

Riverside County is now in the orange tier of the state’s public health regulatory system. The county had been in the red tier of the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” framework since March 16, after five months in the most restrictive purple tier, before upgrading to the orange tier last week.

According to the California Department of Public Health, orange criteria permit retail businesses to fully open, while 50% attendance caps are supposed to be observed in restaurants, museums, movie theaters and zoos. The guidelines call for gyms, wineries and bars to maintain 25% caps.

Beginning Thursday, receptions and conferences can be held with up to 150 attendees, on the condition that they, at minimum, be tested for coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that the target date for an end to all restrictions on businesses, gatherings and recreation throughout the state is June 15 — provided there are no signs of a backward slide.

The county’s metrics are squarely in the orange qualifier, but still just outside the parameters set for yellow tier status, which represents “minimal” presence of the virus.

Also beginning Thursday, residents as young as 16 years old will be eligible for immunization statewide, including Riverside County, although 16-year-olds — who must bring their parents or guardians — can already get inoculated at four county health clinics.

Some facilities continue to open their doors to accommodate people without appointments due to an influx of unfilled appointment slots, which was the case Monday at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

The portal to make an appointment for vaccination at county-run and other sites, if needed, can be accessed via www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Anyone who needs assistance may also call the county’s 211 help line.

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