Riverside County has announced that county-run inoculation sites will resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine beginning later this week.

An advisory committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Friday that the one-shot vaccine reenter circulation, which came with a warning about potentially dangerous blood clotting that occurred in 15 people — out of about 7 million doses administered nationwide — which prompted a hold on the vaccine earlier this month.

The committee’s recommendation was adopted by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, clearing the way for administration of the J&J vaccine to resume.

“Bringing back the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will provide us with another tool to help vaccinate as many Riverside County residents as possible,” county Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung said Monday. “We are confident the vaccine is safe and effective.”

The vaccine will return first to a clinic operated out of Alessandro High School in Hemet on Thursday before expanding to other county-operated locations next week. The announcement only applies to county-run vaccination sites.

According to the Riverside University Health System, 19,424 doses of the vaccine were administered countywide prior to the stoppage, and there were no reports of blood clotting.

Officials said the county has roughly 17,000 additional shots ready to administer.

Meanwhile, Riverside County reported a slight uptick in newly confirmed coronavirus cases from over the weekend, but no additional deaths.

The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in March 2020 was 298,001, up 120 from Friday, according to RUHS.

A total 4,559 deaths from virus-related complications have been recorded in the past 13 months, according to RUHS, the same as Friday.

The agency does not release updated COVID-19 statistics weekends.

There are now 77 people hospitalized with coronavirus countywide, two fewer than Friday. Current hospitalizations include 17 intensive care unit patients diagnosed with the virus, five fewer than Friday.

Hospitalizations have ranged between 80 and 100 for the past two weeks.

The number of known active virus cases countywide was 1,703, down 137 from Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 298,001 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are at 291,739.

The county’s coronavirus positivity rate is at 2.3%, compared to 2% two weeks ago, and the state-adjusted case rate is 4.5 per 100,000 people, which reflects a rolling seven-day average. Two weeks ago, it was 3.6 per 100,000.

Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari acknowledged during last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting that the “numbers have ticked up just slightly,” but she said the rise was “to be expected because of reopenings” and related increased activity as the public health regulatory bar is lowered.

More county businesses opened earlier this month amid lighter restrictions due to the county entering the orange tier. 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.

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.

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

The portal to make an appointment for vaccination at county-run and other sites 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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