COVID Hospitalizations Drop Below 300, ICU Capacity at 19 Percent

COVID Hospitalizations Drop Below 300, ICU Capacity at 19 Percent

Taylor Martinez & City News Service

COVID-positive hospitalizations in Riverside County dropped below 300 Friday, reaching a nearly four-month low, while intensive care unit bed capacity recovered to pre-December levels.

According to the Riverside University Health System, coronavirus hospitalizations numbered 279 as of Friday, down from 303 on Thursday, and that includes 66 ICU patients — two less than a day ago.

The last time COVID-positive hospitalizations were at the current level occurred in the second week of November, according to RUHS figures.

Another trend in the right direction — countywide ICU bed capacity reached 19%, back to where it was at the end of November and before the governor’s stay-at-home order impacting the entire Southern California region. The order, which was canceled in late January, had been implemented in response to increasing patients loads. The threshold established for triggering the order was 15% or less overall ICU capacity.

RUHS data shows the aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in March 2020 is 290,904, up 130 from Thursday.

The county logged an additional eight deaths, bringing the number of coronavirus-related fatalities to 3,892. The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates.

The number of known active virus cases countywide is 8,926, six more than on Thursday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 290,904 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are now at 278,716.

The state-adjusted infection rate of 11.3 per 100,000 residents prompted a removal Tuesday of prohibitions against youth and adult sports, including baseball, football, soccer and water polo. The threshold is 14 per 100,000 residents. Last week, the county was at 16.6 per 100,000. Weekly testing for players and coaches is one of the provisions established by the California Department of Public Health for participation in contact sports. More information is available at http://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus.

On Monday, the Corona-Norco Unified School District re-commenced in- person classes for students in transitional kindergarten to sixth grade under a waiver authorized by the county and state, based on moderating infection rates. Additional school districts are expected to follow this month.

Officials said vaccination of seniors continues to be a priority, but others who qualify under the CDPH Phase 1 guidelines include hospital workers, first responders, food service workers, teachers and some agricultural workers. RUHS Dr. Geoffrey Leung said the guidelines will soon be adjusted to include residents 18 to 64 years old with medical conditions.

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 countywide COVID-19 positivity rate is 5.8%, down from 7.6% last week, according to RUHS data.

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.

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