More than 700 additional coronavirus infections have been reported in Riverside County and three more deaths were attributed to virus complications as health officials noted that one-fifth of county residents being screened for COVID-19 are now testing positive.
The aggregate coronavirus count countywide is 26,481, compared to 25,748 Monday, a difference of 733, according to the Riverside University Health System. The documentation period for the data stretches back to early March.
The number of deaths tied to the virus was 553 Tuesday, compared to 550 Monday, RUHS officials said.
The known active COVID-19 case count is 16,035, up 548 from Monday, figures showed. According to the county Executive Office, the active case count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current cumulative total — 26,481.
The number of confirmed patient recoveries is 9,893, officials said. The county defines a recovery as someone who has not exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days.
County Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the average positivity rate for those screened for the virus countywide is at 20%, more than double the preferred state threshold of 8%.
“The high positivity rate is something we continue to watch,” Saruwatari said.
She said the doubling time — or the number of days in which documented virus cases increase 100% — is at 23.7 days. A doubling rate of seven days is considered severe.
According to Saruwatari, there have been notable “shifts” in infections impacting different age groups. One was the 18-39 year-old block, which in May comprised 36% of both symptomatic and asymptomatic diagnoses. Saruwatari said the group made up 47% of cases in June.
“The shift to a younger age group is concerning to us,” she said, urging all residents to take precautions to safeguard against exposure.
There are 536 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in medical facilities countywide, up 25 from Monday, including 136 patients in intensive care units.
Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton told the board last week that of the county’s 17 hospitals, six are operating at maximum capacity. But they are “not overwhelmed” because all of the medical facilities are able to add spare cushion on short notice, exceeding licensed capacities by 30% if necessary, as happened during the 2017 flu outbreak, he said.
Ratcheting up restrictions he put in place two weeks ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced an executive order directing that indoor activity in gyms, hair salons, houses of worship, malls and non-critical offices be stopped.
The order affects all 30 counties on the state’s pandemic monitoring list — including Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
Some gym operators and clergy may defy the order, according to published reports.
The state has documented record numbers of infections in recent days, along with increasing hospitalizations. As of Monday, Newsom said 6,485 were hospitalized across the state due to the coronavirus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, nationwide, the death rate from complications associated with COVID-19 and influenza declined 6.9% in the first week of July — the latest period for which CDC data are available.