COVID-positive hospitalizations in Riverside County remained around 100 Thursday, with little change in other metrics, as well, though a dozen additional virus-related deaths were confirmed and intensive care cases edged up.
According to the Riverside University Health System, 105 people diagnosed with coronavirus are in hospitals countywide, a drop of one from Wednesday, and that includes 23 intensive care unit patients with COVID-19, three more than a day ago.
The current hospitalization rate roughly equals the year-ago level, when hospitalization figures were first reported by RUHS.
The aggregate number of COVID cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in March 2020 is 295,896, up 126 from Wednesday.
Officials said a total of 4,454 deaths from virus-related complications have been recorded in the last year. On Wednesday, the number was 4,432. The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 2,199, a decline of eight. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 295,896 — according to the county Executive Office.
The coronavirus positivity rate countywide is 2%, compared to 2.3% last week. The state-adjusted case rate is 3.5 per 100,000 people, which reflects a rolling seven-day average. Last week, it was 4.1 per 100,000.
More county businesses were able to open Wednesday amid lighter restrictions due to the county entering the orange tier of the state’s public health regulatory system.
The county had been in the red tier of the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” framework since March 16, after five months in the most restrictive purple tier.
According to the California Department of Public Health, orange criteria permit retail businesses to fully open, while 50% attendance caps are supposed to be observed in restaurants, museums, movie theaters and zoos. The guidelines call for gyms, wineries and bars to maintain 25% caps.
Beginning April 15, receptions and conferences can be held with up to 150 attendees, on the condition that they, at minimum, be tested for coronavirus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that the target date for an end to all restrictions on businesses, gatherings and recreation throughout the state is June 15 — provided there are no signs of a backward slide.
The county’s metrics are squarely in the orange qualifier, but still just outside the parameters set for yellow tier status, which represents “minimal” presence of the virus.
Last week, the CDPH lowered vaccination eligibility to anyone 50 and up. Beginning Tuesday, residents as young as 16 years old were eligible for immunization at four county health clinics.
Only the Pfizer vaccine is available to 16-year-olds, who must have a parent or guardian provide consent for a shot.
The eligibility threshold to include everyone as young as 16 was supposed to occur statewide on April 15. Executive Office spokeswoman Brooke Federico told City News Service that because the county is now well stocked on vaccines and fewer people are making appointments at clinics, the decision was made to move forward with adjusting the eligibility criteria.
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.