Coronavirus-related hospitalizations dropped 13% over the weekend in Riverside County, continuing a trend that began three weeks ago, as officials Monday reported another 3,962 infections and 80 additional virus-related deaths.
The Riverside University Health System reported 979 COVID-positive hospitalizations countywide, compared to 1,128 on Friday. The ICU bed count of COVID patients was 268, down 22 from Friday. No figures were released over the weekend.
The county’s peak in coronavirus hospitalizations was on Jan. 10, when 1,675 people suffering virus-related complications were undergoing treatment.
The aggregate number of coronavirus cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 275,872, compared to 271,910 on Friday.
Total virus-related fatalities stood at 3,171. Deaths are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates, and typically cover three- to four-week periods.
The number of known active virus cases countywide stands at 57,824, down 13,937 from Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 275,872 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide were at 203,649, according to RUHS.
Current CDC guidelines allow for up to 42 days for a second does of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, which is due, in part, to low supplies.
Nearly 77% of all COVID-19 vaccine doses that the county has received – – 149,079 out of 193,875 — have been administered countywide, according to figures released Friday.
Riverside County’s vaccination rate is higher than the state average of around 50%, according to the county.
Those who are 65 years and older, along with hospital workers, first responders and teachers, are in the current qualifying tiers under the California Department of Public Health’s vaccination guidance.
According to health officials, about 800,000 county residents are eligible to receive shots based on current criteria.
The county’s available ICU space remains at 0%, along with the 11- county Southern California region.
Gov. Gavin Newsom last week lifted his Dec. 6 stay-at-home order, which was based on areas sliding below a threshold of 15% available ICU beds. He justified cancellation of the order Monday by citing projections from the CDPH showing ICU availability recovering in the next month.
County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the board that conditions are generally improving in county hospitals, with patients taking up about 83% of licensed available beds, compared to just over 90% during the holidays.
Yet the county remains in the most-restrictive, purple, tier of the governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.
The county’s overall COVID-19 positive rate is 20%, down from 23.5% last week, based on state-adjusted figures.
The purple tier impacts bars, theaters, museums, indoor recreational facilities, amusement parks and wineries — all of which are supposed to remain closed. However, wineries, like restaurants, can provide outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.
Retail outlets are limited to 25% capacity, while hair salons, nail salons and barbershops can operate with safeguards in place.