Riverside County health officials Thursday reported records for both the total amount of COVID-positive hospital patients and intensive-care unit patients.
There were 1,644 people being treated for COVID-19 on Thursday, up 23 from the day before. This figure includes 364 coronavirus patients in county ICU beds, up 21 from the prior day. Both figures are records, according Jose Arballo, a spokesman for the Riverside University Health System.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March increased by 370 Thursday to 204,327, according to RUHS data.
Another 38 deaths were also reported, bringing the total death toll to 2,189. The death figures are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates and can cover several weeks.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 68,157, a decrease of 1,079 from Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 204,327 — according to the county Executive Office.
The county’s verified patient recoveries is now 133,981.
Meanwhile, the Riverside County Emergency Management Department announced Thursday that the state has set up a regional oxygen supply facility in the county to help augment dwindling supplies of oxygen brought on by an excess of patients seeking treatment for COVID-19.
“Oxygen suppliers are having a difficult time meeting the high demand of area hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” department Director Bruce Barton said in a statement. “This isn’t limited to just one hospital. COVID patients need lots of oxygen and that’s taxing the entire health care system.”
The 11-county Southern California region’s ICU availability is officially 0%.
Barton said last month that roughly 40% of all hospitalizations countywide are tied to COVID-19, but it was unclear how accurate the figure was given the continued influx of COVID-positive patients.
The regional ICU bed metric is a key benchmark under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s regional stay-at-home order, which went into effect on Dec. 6. The order was triggered when ICU bed availability across Southern California fell below 15%.
The mandate is expected to remain in effect until bed capacities recover.
The current stay-at-home order impacts bars, theaters, museums, hair salons, indoor recreational facilities, amusement parks and wineries — all of which are supposed to remain closed.
Restaurants are confined to takeout and delivery, with capacity limitations on retail outlets.
The county’s overall COVID-19 testing positivity rate was 23.1%, compared with 22.6% last week, based on state-adjusted figures.
Health officials are in the midst of administering COVID-19 vaccines, with the first priority going to workers in acute-care hospitals, skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities, paramedics/EMTs, correctional hospitals and behavioral health facilities.
According to RUHS, as of Sunday, the county had received 25,310 doses of vaccine, and 17,294 had been administered. Statewide, only about one-third of the 1.3 million vaccine doses that have been received had actually been administered as of Monday.