Active coronavirus cases in Riverside County dropped more than 30% over the weekend, though 20 additional virus-related deaths were reported Monday.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began last March is 291,040, an increase of 136 from Friday, according to the Riverside University Health System, which does not provide updated coronavirus statistics on weekends.
The agency has logged 3,912 deaths from virus-related complications since the pandemic began. The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates.
The number of known active virus cases countywide was 6,205 on Monday, down 2,721 from Friday, RUHS data shows. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 291,040 — according to the county Executive Office.
Officials reported 2,207 verified recoveries over the weekend, bringing the total to 280,923.
Meanwhile, coronavirus hospitalizations continued to trend downward after hitting a four-month low last week. There were 251 patients being treated in county hospitals as of Monday, down 28 from Friday. That number includes 64 patients in intensive care units, two fewer than Friday.
Countywide ICU bed capacity was at 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.
The state-adjusted infection rate of 11.3 per 100,000 residents prompted a removal last week 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 population. Weekly testing for players and coaches is one of the provisions established by the California Department of Public Health for participation in contact sports.
The Corona-Norco Unified School District last week 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. The Desert Sands Unified School District set a return-to-school date of March 15. 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.