Jeff Pack
Staff Writer

Riverside University Health System reported only 397 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, Sept. 3, as well as 20 new deaths throughout the county. In all, 53,153 have tested positive for the virus and 1,026 people have died since the county began recording data back in early March. 

The county reported there were 18 fewer people hospitalized overnight — a total of 189. There are currently 60 people being treated in ICUs for the virus, nine fewer than the day before.

The county reported that 45,313 people have recovered from the virus, but that number is 558 more than what was reported Wednesday

The county also reported that 537,520 have been tested so far. 

There were 387 confirmed cases in county jails and another 1,736 cases recorded in state prisons within the county Thursday. Prisons have seen a spike in recent days in new positive cases. 

The number of known active cases countywide is 7,337, a decline of 181 since Wednesday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 53,703 — according to the County Executive Office.

“We continue to see good news on hospitalizations,” Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton said to Riverside County Supervisors on Tuesday. “There has been an ongoing significant decrease from the peak.”

“At our peak (in July), we were at 550 hospitalizations with 170 in the ICU. We’re down significantly.”   

He did not anticipate a change in the trend anytime soon but acknowledged that the county’s 17 acute care medical facilities are preparing for a possible second wave surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall — in addition to a possible common flu outbreak similar to what occurred in 2018.

“We are working with the hospitals, but from our perspective, the flu mainly attacks the emergency room,” Barton said. “It will not overwhelm hospital capacity.”

Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the board that the county remains in the “purple, most restrictive” tier, requiring many indoor businesses to remain closed or substantially limit capacity.

“Our positivity and case rates are coming down,” Saruwatari said. “We have to make sure we’re not fluctuating up and down between tiers.”

In order for the county to move to the next level, the red tier, it has to document less than 7 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population on a rolling seven-day average, and the positivity testing rate must be less than 8% in the same period.

During a protest outside the shuttered County Administrative Center Tuesday, about a dozen demonstrators called into the board meeting, all venting frustration with the governor’s and California Department of Public Health’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” formula, denouncing it as arbitrary, as well as threatening the survival of businesses.

Additional information about the formula can be found at www.covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.

Riverside County began including a count of the recoveries in each city and community and Valley News has reformatted the report to make the numbers easier to read and interpret. 

The current number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and recoveries by city and community:

Temecula
Confirmed Cases: 966
Deaths: 10
Recovered: 828

Murrieta
Confirmed Cases: 1,093
Deaths: 21
Recovered: 926

Wildomar
Confirmed Cases: 520
Deaths: 14
Recovered: 419

Lake Elsinore
Confirmed Cases: 1,149
Deaths: 18
Recovered: 960

Canyon Lake
Confirmed Cases: 88
Deaths: 2
Recovered: 71

Menifee
Confirmed Cases: 1,317
Deaths: 22
Recovered: 1,058

Hemet
Confirmed Cases: 1,574
Deaths: 54
Recovered: 1,254

San Jacinto
Confirmed Cases: 1,048
Deaths: 22
Recovered: 891

Anza
Confirmed Cases: 13
Deaths: 0
Recovered: 12

East Hemet
Confirmed Cases: 309
Deaths: 5
Recovered: 238

French Valley
Confirmed Cases: 295
Deaths: 1
Recovered: 250

Lakeland Village
Confirmed Cases: 203
Deaths: 1
Recovered: 173

Valle Vista
Confirmed Cases: 215
Deaths: 4
Recovered: 167

Winchester
Confirmed Cases: 19
Deaths: 0
Recovered: 15

Daily updates and more information on coronavirus in Riverside County can be found on the county’s website, https://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus.

City News Service contributed to this report. 

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com