COVID-related hospitalizations have ticked up again in Riverside County to 557 with the addition of 22 new patients.

Four additional coronavirus patients were placed in intensive care, increasing the number from 102 on Thursday to 106 on Friday, according to the Riverside University Health System.

The RUHS also reported four additional virus-related deaths, bringing the county’s total to 4,697. Fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates, and can date back weeks.

In addition, 1,205 new cases were reported Friday, bringing the aggregate number of COVID cases recorded in the county to 325,944 since March of 2020, when the pandemic began. The number of known active virus cases countywide Saturday was 7,122, up 348 from Thursday.

Earlier this week, federal health officials recommended that all vaccinated Americans get booster shots eight months after they become fully vaccinated. That amounts to a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine — and “likely” an additional dose for people who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. Those shots could begin the week of Sept. 20, according to a joint statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the RUHS, more than 60% of all county residents have either been fully or partially vaccinated.

Riverside County health officials are attempting to collect statistics on the number of hospitalizations involving residents who have been partially or fully vaccinated, according to agency spokesman Jose Arballo.

The recent increase in COVID cases mirrors a nationwide surge, and health officials say the highly contagious Delta variant has helped fuel the escalation, as has the relaxation of state lockdown measures in June.

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