Nurse treats COVID-19 patient in ICU
A nurse treats a coronavirus patient in an ICU. Image from Scripps Health video
Nurse treats COVID-19 patient in ICU
A nurse treats a coronavirus patient in an ICU. Image from Scripps Health video

Riverside County’s COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased by 23 to 308, while the number of those patients in intensive care was 79, up one from Wednesday, according to the latest data.

The Riverside University Health System also said the aggregate number of COVID cases recorded in the county since the pandemic began in March 2020 rose by 543 since Wednesday, reaching 385,228.

A total of 5,523 deaths from virus-related complications have been recorded in the county in the past 20 months, the same as Wednesday. The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates and can go back weeks, according to health officials.

The number of known active virus cases countywide was 4,499 on Thursday, down 44 from Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 385,228 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are 375,206.

Meanwhile, the new mask mandate took effect Wednesday and will run through Jan. 15.

According to the state, roughly half of California’s population already lives in counties that had local mask-wearing mandates in place — but that did not include Riverside County.

Among the indoor public spaces affected are retail stores, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices that serve the public.

The state will also toughen the restriction for unvaccinated people who attend indoor “mega-events” of 1,000 people or more, requiring them to receive a negative COVID test within one day of the event if it is a rapid antigen test or within two days for a PCR test.

State officials also recommend, but do not require, that people who travel to California or return to the state after traveling be tested for COVID within three to five days.

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