RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Local health officials today reported the largest single-day surge in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Riverside County since the pandemic began, with 210 new cases bringing the total to 1,961.
The death toll remained unchanged at 50, a day after officials reported nine more fatalities — the largest single-day jump in deaths.
Health officials this week began releasing detailed data on the county’s coronavirus fatalities, showing that 41 of the dead were men. More than half of the county’s deaths — 28 — were people between the ages of 65 and 84, the data shows.
There are now 376 recovered coronavirus patients in Riverside County, according to health officials. Recovered patients are defined as those who have completed their period of isolation and are no longer symptomatic, according to county spokeswoman Brooke Federico.
The county’s COVID-19 growth rate continues to keep pace with predictions, but local health officials say the rate of increase might soften in coming weeks, reflecting a pattern seen in some other parts of the country.
“Many of you in the small-business community are losing tremendous amounts of money while we’re keeping the community safe,” Riverside University Health System Dr. Michael Mesisca said during a Friday media briefing at the County Administrative Center in Riverside.
“We hope to see some progress, but our modeling is still playing out,” he said. “We hear of other places where the positive (infection) rates are coming down, such as New York. We hope to see that here.”
Mesisca said the so-called “doubling rate,” in which COVID-19 cases increase 100% every five days, is proving accurate countywide, and he maintained the county’s position that a “surge” may yet max out the available hospital bed capacity — roughly 1,500 beds — before the end of the month. However, the doctor stressed that “a million small decisions” by residents would save lives and help arrest the spread of the virus.
About 18,000 county residents had been tested for COVID-19 as of Friday, though that figure does not incorporate private testing at doctors’ offices and other locations, according to Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari.
The fourth county-run testing site opened Tuesday at the Perris Fairgrounds. The location will be staffed Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The other sites are at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, The Diamond in Lake Elsinore and Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside. Appointments to visit any of the sites must be made in advance at 800-945-6171.
Workers are still needed at the second federal field hospital to open in the county, this one inside the shuttered Sears store at Arlington and Streeter avenues in Riverside.
National Guard personnel are working with a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services team to prepare the 125-bed facility for opening in the next several weeks. It will be reserved for sub-acute patients only, according to Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton.