Riverside County reported a 14% drop in coronavirus- related hospitalizations over the extended Presidents Day weekend, continuing a downward trend that began a month ago, although an additional 34 virus-related deaths were reported Tuesday.
COVID-19 hospitalizations sank to 567 on Tuesday, a decrease of 93. That figure includes 178 patients in intensive care units, a decline of seven, according to the Riverside University Health System.
Riverside County health officials do not release updated data on weekends. New figures were additionally not provided Monday due to the holiday.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began last March is 286,590, up 1,176 from Friday, officials said.
Virus-related deaths now stand at 3,558, according to RUHS data. The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates, and cover three- to four-week cycles.
The number of known active virus cases countywide was 29,981, down 5,528 from Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 286,590 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are now at 253,051.
Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors last week that Blue Shield had reached an agreement with the California Department of Public Health to coordinate vaccine distribution efforts throughout the state, including Riverside County.
According to RUHS spokesman Dr. Geoffrey Leung, just over 200,000 residents have received the first round of doses. But there are ongoing concerns about completing the two-dose immunization process, and that has created anxiety among recipients, many of whom don’t have a set timeline for when they can obtain their second dose, which is supposed to be within three to six weeks of the first one.
Leung said scheduling and notification improvements are in the works.
The county, in partnership with Curative Inc., opened its newest vaccination clinic at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Friday.
Vaccination of seniors is a priority, but others who qualify under the CDPH Phase 1 guidelines include hospital workers, first responders, teachers and some agricultural workers. The portal to make an appointment for vaccination can be accessed via http://www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Anyone who needs assistance may also call the county’s 211 help line.
The overall countywide COVID-19 testing positivity rate is 11%, down from 14.4% last week, based on state-adjusted figures.
ICU availability countywide remains at 0%, along with the 11-county Southern California region.
The county is still in the most restrictive purple tier of the governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework, impacting bars, theaters, museums, indoor recreational facilities and wineries — all of which are supposed to remain closed. However wineries, like restaurants, can provide outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.