Riverside County Officials Gearing up for “Massive Vaccination Program for more than Two Million County Residents”

Riverside County Officials Gearing up for “Massive Vaccination Program for more than Two Million County Residents”

Taylor Martinez

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – COVID-19 hospitalizations dipped slightly Wednesday in Riverside County as officials reported 2,773 newly confirmed cases and 13 additional coronavirus-related deaths.

The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 230,600, compared to 227,827 on Tuesday, according to the Riverside University Health System.

The county’s coronavirus death toll rose to 2,307. The fatalities are trailing indicators because delays processing death certificates can go back several weeks.

The RUHS reported 1,660 coronavirus hospitalizations countywide, down 24 from Tuesday, but the number of intensive care unit patients edged up by nine from a day earlier.

The number of known active virus cases countywide is 78,607, an increase of 1,870. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total, 230,600. Verified patient recoveries countywide total 149,686.

Meanwhile, officials are gearing up for a “massive vaccination program for more than two million county residents,” according to a statement released Wednesday.

The county deployed a team on Tuesday that plans to set up several sites that are capable to vaccinating thousands of residents each day. Plans to activate the sites have yet to be announced.

Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that 28,708 people have been vaccinated countywide.

“There is a lag in reporting, so there may be more now. We are also expanding our approved providers,” she said. “The number is increasing every day.”

Currently, the list of vaccine providers numbers 146, and Saruwatari said roughly half of those have been supplied with either the Moderna or Pfizer SARS-Cov-2 shots. She said distribution is going at a brisk pace but has not been sufficient to equip all providers.

To date, the county has received 79,875 doses. Another 114,825 should be arriving before the end of the month, the public health director said.

Supervisor Jeff Hewitt pointed out that “so many people” have declined the vaccines, with reports indicating up to half of health care workers in some medical facilities countywide said no out of concern for potential risks.

Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the board about half of patients in hospitals countywide have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Barton said six facilities are at 100% of licensed bed capacity. However, all hospitals are resorting to surge plans to expand critical care space wherever possible. No patients are being transferred to facilities outside the county because of space limitations.

The county’s overall COVID-19 positive rate is 25.8%, compared to 23.1% last week, based on state-adjusted figures.

The 11-county Southern California region’s ICU availability officially remains at 0%.

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 availabilities 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.

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