Jeff Pack
Staff Writer

RIVERSIDE — Riverside County Public Health officials reported that 730 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, the second largest number of new cases reported since the Department of Public Health began tracking data related to the virus back in March.

The county’s largest one-day increase was Wednesday when 749 new cases were reported and the third-largest one-day increase was reported just yesterday with 679 new cases.

Since Monday, Riverside County has reported 3,346 new cases of COVID-19.

The number of new deaths reported in the county is two and a total of 465 people have died from the virus since the county began recording data in late February. 

More people were hospitalized with the virus since Wednesday, for a new total of 462 hospitalizations, 33 more than yesterday. The county reported 120 of those patients were in intensive care units, three fewer than the day before.

Overall, 8,352 people have recovered from the virus, and so far, the county has tested 245,345 residents for the virus.

Locally on Tuesday, Murrieta saw the highest number of new cases, with 23 more than reported the day before and 326 cases overall. The city also reported one more death due to the virus (10). Temecula added 16 (312 cases), Wildomar added 9 (144), Lake Elsinore added 21 new cases (328), Canyon Lake added none (26), Menifee added 17 new cases (370), Hemet added 14 (495) and San Jacinto added 14 (347).

In local communities, Anza saw no new cases (6), East Hemet added five new cases (88), French Valley added five new cases (101), Lakeland Village added three (64), Valley Vista added three new cases (59), and Winchester still has two confirmed cases of the virus.

The county reported that there were 253 confirmed cases in county jails and another 1,065 cases recorded in state prisons within the county.

Using data from the county to determine the number of known active coronavirus cases throughout Riverside County, the number climbed to 560, Riverside University Health System officials said. According to RUHS, the confirmed active case count widened to 10,619.

The active case count is derived by subtracting deaths and patient recoveries from the current total — 19,450 — according to the county Executive Office. The county defines recovery as someone who has not exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days.

According to Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari, the county’s positivity rate for COVID-19 screening is running close to 12%, while the state’s preferred benchmark is 8%.

Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the hospital bed usage rate countywide has been between 61% and 68% in recent days, while the intensive care bed usage has been between 95% and 99%. But Barton said most hospitals have the ability to quickly add bed space well beyond their licensed capacities.

The EMD director said only about one-quarter of the ICU beds countywide were currently needed for COVID-19 patients. The latest data indicate 120 coronavirus patients currently require intensive care.

Riverside County was advancing into Stage 3 of the governor’s four-stage public health de-regulation plan, but with COVID-19 cases spiking, and the renewed restrictions, that process is now on hold.

City News Service contributed to this report.