The number of COVID-positive patients in Riverside County increased by about 10% over the weekend, while the number of active coronavirus cases continued to wane, health officials reported Monday.

According to the Riverside University Health System, 70 people countywide were hospitalized with coronavirus as of Monday, seven more than Friday. That includes 19 intensive care unit patients, two more than Friday.

The agency, which does not provide updated COVID-19 statistics on weekends, also reported one additional COVID-19 fatality, bringing the death toll from virus-related complications to 4,588.

The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in March 2020 was 299,173, up 109 from late last week.

The number of known active virus cases countywide was 1,313, down 144 from Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total of 299,173. Verified patient recoveries countywide are at 293,272.

In Indio, members of the California National Guard clad in camouflage were spotted Monday erecting a state-run COVID-19 testing site for asylum seekers in a parking lot near Highway 111 and Monroe Street, according to media reports.

The coronavirus positivity rate was 1.9%, compared to 2.1% two weeks ago. The state-adjusted case rate was 3.4 per 100,000 residents, based on a rolling seven-day average. Two weeks ago, it was 3.9 per 100,000.

Despite the improving metrics, the county last week failed to meet the threshold required under the governor’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” framework to move into the yellow tier, which requires a positivty rate of less than 2% and an ongoing case rate of 2 per 100,000 or less.

The yellow tier designation primarily increases capacity limits for most businesses.

The county entered the orange tier a month ago, removing some operational barriers for private and public entities. The county had been in the red tier 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.

Since December, the county has administered more than 1.6 million doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, according to RUHS. The latter one-dose immunization therapy had been briefly suspended under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory pertaining to negative reactions among a handful of patients. But the J&J product became available again over a week ago.

The portal to make an appointment for a vaccine 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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