RIVERSIDE — Riverside County Public Health officials reported on Wednesday 679 new cases of COVID-19, 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 previous largest one-day increase was Wednesday when 749 new cases were reported. The third-largest one-day increase was reported just a day earlier on Tuesday.

Since Monday, Riverside County has reported 2,616 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.

Also, a dozen more people were hospitalized with the virus since Wednesday, for a new total of 429 hospitalizations. The county reported 123 of those patients were in intensive care units, six more than the day before.

Overall, 8,196 people have recovered from the virus, which represents a jump of 150 newly-healthy patients overnight. So far, the county has tested 242,183 residents for the virus.

Locally on Tuesday, Hemet saw the highest number of new cases, with 20 more than reported on Tuesday and 481 cases overall. Temecula added 14 (296 cases), Wildomar added 4 (135), Lake Elsinore added seven new cases (307), Canyon Lake added three (26), Murrieta added 9 new cases (303), Menifee added 8 new cases (353), and San Jacinto added 14 (332).

In local communities, Lakeland Village added held steady with 61 cases, East Hemet added five new cases (83), Valley Vista added three new cases (59) and French Valley added six new cases (96). Anza saw no new cases. None of the communities suffered a new death caused by the virus.

The county reported that there were 252 confirmed cases in county jails and another 1,059 cases recorded in state prisons within the county.

The number of known active coronavirus cases throughout Riverside County climbed by 527, the Riverside University Health System reported.

According to health officials, the confirmed active case count widened to 10,059, compared to 9,532 on Wednesday. The documentation period covers early March to the present. In that time, a total 18,720 infections have been recorded by the county. On Wednesday,
the aggregate figure was 18,041.

The active case count is derived by subtracting deaths and patient recoveries from the current total — 18,720 — according to the county Executive Office, which noted that the number of verified patient recoveries countywide is now 8,196. The county defines a recovery as someone who has not exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday implemented a ban on indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, family entertainment centers, cardrooms, theaters and museums in what he termed a precautionary move to address the “particularly concerning” spike in infections in 19 counties on the state’s “watch list.”

Riverside County is on that list and is among the places where multi-agency strike teams are being deployed to interface with proprietors to insist on compliance with health protocols, such as social distancing and mask usage.

The new state mandate barring indoor activities at the venues is slated to last three weeks.

Bars countywide were ordered closed Monday by a new public health order. They had been allowed to reopen on June 12, after having previously been shut down as part of the governor’s stay-at-home order issued March 19.

Health officials said there are higher COVID-19 exposure risks in bars. The also said recent demonstrations calling for law enforcement reform in Riverside County and elsewhere were likely additional hotbeds for viral contact.

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%.

Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the “doubling rate” — when the number of COVID-19 cases increases 100% over a given period — is at 27 days. The metric is considered a key indicator of moderation or intensification of viral spread. It is in the severe category when the doubling rate is seven days.

Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton told the board that the hospital bed usage rate countywide has been between 61% and 68% in recent days, while the intensive care unit 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 123 coronavirus patients currently require intensive care, and another 429 patients are in sub-acute beds.

City News Service contributed to this report.