Riverside County is currently in the red tier of California’s reopening plan, but could be moved to the orange tier within the next few weeks.
Under the orange tier counties are allowed to open indoor business operations with some modifications. This includes no capacity limits for retail, increased capacity for restaurants and bars could open outdoors. To meet this, there should be 1-3.9 daily new cases, a 2-4.9% positivity rate and less than 5.3% positive tests for health equity quartile.
The county’s coronavirus positivity rate was is 2.7% Friday, down from 3.3%, the previous week, a six-month low. Back in January, the positivity rate was upwards of 25%. The number must be within the required criteria for two weeks consecutively to move to orange.
“We could also enter the orange tier if our positivity rate and health equity positivity rate drop into the yellow tier for two weeks,” said Riverside County PIO Brooke Frederico, “Even if our case rate stays in the red tier range, the health equity positivity rate could qualify us to move into the orange tier as part of an accelerated movement allowed under the state’s reopening framework.”
The county was moved into the red tier of the state’s reopening framework on March 16 and had been in the most restrictive purple tier since mid-October.
Riverside County Monday reported a nearly 12% drop in coronavirus hospitalizations over the weekend, though 25 additional virus- related deaths were confirmed.
The number of coronavirus patients being treated in county hospitals stood at 120 as of Monday, down 16 from Friday, according to the Riverside University Health System. That figure includes 31 ICU patients, two fewer than last week.
County health officials do not release updated figures on weekends.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in March 2020 is now 294,063, up 232 from Friday. There were also 4,273 deaths reported in that time, according to RUHS data.
Known active virus cases countywide numbered 2,841, down 362 from Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 294,063 — according to the county Executive Office. There have been 286,949 documented verified recoveries since the pandemic began.
Beginning Thursday, 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 current 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.