Jeff Pack
Staff Writer

Riverside University Health System reported 931 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and no new deaths. It’s the first time since July 20 that the county reported nobody had died from the virus. The time before that without a COVID-19-related death was June 28. 

In all, 33,467 have tested positive for the virus and 637 people have died since the county began recording data back in early March. California now has the most COVID-19 cases in the nation after passing New York Wednesday, though New York has recorded more fatalities.

The county reported 191 people have recovered from the virus overnight and there 11 fewer people in the hospital, 523 total. But, there are currently 159 people currently being treated in ICUs for the virus, four more than the day before. 

The county reported that there were 278 confirmed cases in county jails and another 1,213 cases recorded in state prisons within the county. 

The county reported that 345,869 have been tested so far, 4,302 more than the day before.

Locally, Temecula added 16 new cases (599), Murrieta added 10 (646), Wildomar added 10 (287), Lake Elsinore added 17 (667), Canyon Lake added one (46), Menifee added 19 (745), Hemet added 18 (855), and San Jacinto added six (601).

In local communities, Anza added one new case (8), East Hemet added none (166), French Valley added four (174), Lakeland Village added one (106), Valley Vista added two (113), and Winchester added none (8).

So far, two people have died from Temecula, 13 from Murrieta, five from Wildomar, 10 from Lake Elsinore, none from Canyon Lake, 10 from Menifee, 29 from Hemet, nine from San Jacinto, none from Anza, two from East Hemet, one from French Valley, two from Lakeland Village, none from Valle Vista or Winchester. 

Health officials said the number of confirmed patient recoveries is 11,705. The county defines a recovery as someone who hasn’t manifested symptoms for 14 days.

During a briefing Friday outside the County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside, health officials and representatives from several nonprofits announced a campaign to distribute millions of free masks countywide as part of an accelerated 30-day coronavirus containment strategy.

Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said the emphasis is on combining the use of masks in certain settings, like crowded places, with frequent handwashing and the now-familiar social distancing.

“Each day, free masks will be handed out at our (coronavirus) testing locations,” Saruwatari said. “It is our priority to protect the health of Riverside County residents.”

She told the Board of Supervisors last week that the average positivity rate among those screened for the virus countywide is at 20%, two and a half times the preferred state threshold of 8%.

The doubling time — or the number of days in which documented virus cases increase 100% — is 26 days. A doubling rate of seven days is considered severe.

Most of the county’s fatalities stemming from complications tied to COVID-19 have been people between the ages of 65 and 84, according to RUHS. The agency said most of the county’s infections are in the 25 to 44 age group.

City News Service contributed to this report. 

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