Riverside County Monday reported 288 newly confirmed coronavirus cases since Friday and 31 additional virus-related deaths, as county health officials continued working toward implementing the state’s new system of tracking and scheduling vaccines alongside Blue Shield.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Riverside County since the pandemic began last March stands at 287,822, according to the Riverside University Health System.
The virus-related death toll is up to 3,664, according to RUHS data. The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates, and cover three- to four-week cycles.
County health officials do not release updated coronavirus statistics on weekends.
COVID-positive hospitalizations dropped even further countywide on Monday, down 72 to 441. That figure includes 132 ICU patients, 20 fewer than Friday.
The last time virus-connected hospitalizations were at or near the current level was during the last week of November.
Despite the downtrend, ICU bed capacity countywide technically remains at 0%, though the majority of admissions are not from COVID-19, according to RUHS.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 18,523, down 5,490 compared Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 287,822 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are now at 265,635.
Meanwhile, California’s new system of tracking and scheduling vaccines is slated to be rolled out first in 10 counties, including Riverside. The new system will be run by Blue Shield, although details were scant regarding the system’s scheduled deployment locally.
“We are working with Blue Shield to determine which responsibilities will be performed by Blue Shield and by the county. When we have more information, we’ll share with the community,” county spokeswoman Brooke Federico told City News Service Monday afternoon.
Vaccination of seniors remains 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% two weeks ago, based on state-adjusted figures.
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.