A significant backlog of data from the state created an increase of 110,654 in total confirmed COIVD-19 cases in Riverside County Tuesday, although COVID-positive patients in county hospitals continue to drop.

The Riverside University Health System announced that the number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals dropped from 686 to 664 Tuesday. Of those patients, 116 were in intensive care, down from 122 reported Monday.

Officials have said some patients entered hospitals for other reasons and only discovered they had COVID after a hospital-mandated test.

The RUHS on Tuesday reported 110,654 new cases of COVID-19 and 50 new deaths associated with the virus, leaving the county’s COVID death toll at 6,007 since the pandemic began.

Fatalities are considered trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates, meaning some deaths may have actually occurred weeks ago, according to health officials.

The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the county since the pandemic began in March 2020 is 575,152. The RUHS stated that the large jump from Monday’s number was due to a backlog of state data that occurred during the Omicron surge.

The number of known active virus cases in the county was 53,570 on Tuesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 575,152. Verified patient recoveries countywide are 515,575.

Meanwhile, state officials announced Monday that the indoor mask wearing requirement for vaccinated people will expire at the end of the day Feb. 15. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the move is the result of a 65% drop in the infection rate since the peak of the winter surge caused by the Omicron variant, as well as a stabilization in hospitalization numbers.

But he stressed that “unvaccinated people will still need to wear masks indoors.” The mask-wearing requirement will also remain in effect for everyone in select indoor locations, such as public transit centers, airports, schools, emergency shelters, health care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care and senior-care facilities.

Unvaccinated people will have to continue wearing masks in indoor settings such as retail stores, restaurants, theaters and government offices.

The change in state policy will affect counties that do not have local mandates of their own governing face coverings — such as Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties. Neighboring Los Angeles County has its own indoor mask-wearing mandate, and those rules will remain in place in that county for the time being.

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