Coronavirus illustration
Coronavirus illustration. Courtesy CDC

The number of coronavirus hospitalizations in Riverside County is unchanged while the case count has increased by 283 and an additional death attributed to complications from the virus was reported.

The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 61,416 as of Thursday, compared to 61,133 on Wednesday, according to the Riverside University Health System.

The agency said the number of deaths believed to be tied to COVID-19 stands at 1,248.

Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that virus-related hospitalizations had “stabled off” over the last month, with the patient count ebbing and flowing between 120 and 140. The EMD said 135 are now hospitalized — the same as Wednesday. That figures includes 40 intensive care unit patients, two more than the day before.

All COVID-19 hospitalization counts are currently at or below levels reported in April.

The number of known active cases countywide is 4,359, up 67 since Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total of 61,416, according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 55,809.

Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the board that the county’s testing positivity rate is now 5%, down a full percentage point compared to three weeks ago. However, the county is averaging 6.8 positive cases a day per 100,000 population, with an adjusted rate of 7.6 per 100,000 because testing volumes are below the state median for large counties, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The current numbers, and the new “equity” component factored into the CDPH’s metrics, would make tier reassignment — from red to orange — under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy out of reach for the county. However, the board voted Tuesday in favor of a modified approach to reopening economic sectors, adhering to CDPH health safety guidelines but giving county CEO George Johnson authority to relax public health regulations impacting businesses and other entities on a schedule that falls outside the state’s mandates, if he chooses.

The change is expected to expedite the reopening of convention centers and large meeting halls.

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