The daily COVID-positive hospitalization total in Riverside County was unchanged according to the latest data released, while two dozen additional virus-related deaths were reported amid a minor increase in total overall infections.
According to Riverside University Health System data announced Thursday, the aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in March 2020 is 293,707, up 107 from Wednesday.
COVID-positive patients in hospitals countywide stood at 143 on Thursday, and that includes 32 intensive-care unit patients — both figures unchanged from a day ago.
RUHS officials said a total 4,214 deaths from virus-related complications have been recorded in the last 12 months. On Wednesday, the number was 4,190. The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 3,219, down 91. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 293,707 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are at 286,274.
The county’s coronavirus positivity rate is 2.7%, down from 3.3%, last week, a six-month low.
The regulatory bar was lowered on March 16, when the county was moved into the red tier of the state’s reopening framework. The county had been in the most restrictive purple tier since mid-October.
Under the red tier classification, indoor operations are permitted in restaurants and movie theaters, limited to 25% capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less. Museums, zoos and aquariums also have a greenlight for up to 25% capacity, while gyms and fitness centers have a 10% capacity cap.
Retail stores and shopping malls are able to operate at 50% capacity, under California Department of Public Health guidelines.
Public schools are also eligible to open for in-person instruction, provided they have established safety protocols in place. Many school districts have opted for hybrid models, with part in-class instruction and part remote learning.
The revised qualifier for red tier status was an average daily infection rate of 10 per 100,000 residents. The county is at a state-adjusted level of 4.8 per 100,000, compared to 6.1 per 100,000 a week ago. Health officials said if current metrics and trends hold, the county may be eligible to move into the orange tier before the end of April.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that, beginning April 1, vaccination eligibility will be expanded to include everyone 50 years and older, stemming from an anticipated increase in SAR-Cov-2 immunization doses. After April 15, residents statewide who are 16 years and over will be eligible to make appointments.
In Riverside County, vaccination of seniors continues to be a priority, but others who qualify under the present CDPH guidelines include utility workers, public transit workers, disaster preparedness workers, first responders, food service workers, teachers and some agricultural workers. Those with pre-existing disorders or who are permanently disabled may also obtain shots from their health care providers.
The portal to make an appointment for vaccination at county-run and other sites can be accessed via http://www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Anyone who needs assistance may also call the county’s 211 help line.