Riverside County reports record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside County health officials Thursday, Dec. 10 reported 3,729 additional coronavirus cases and a dozen virus-related deaths, along with a record number of patients being treated in county hospitals due to COVID-19 complications.
The aggregate number of coronavirus infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 111,053, compared to 107,324 on Wednesday. The number of deaths tied to COVID-19 rose to 1,551.
The RUHS reported a record 775 COVID-positive hospitalizations Thursday, up seven from Wednesday. This includes 171 patients being treated in intensive care units, down one compared to the day before.
The record for COVID-positive hospitalizations countywide surpassed the previous high, set in July, on Nov. 29, when 573 COVID-19 patients were reported to be receiving treatment in area hospitals. The figure has continued to shatter records in the days since.
Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton said the biggest challenge now is staffing facilities, and the county is trying to fill “resource requests,” finding health care workers able to step in where personnel shortages occur.
The county reported its highest single-day number of coronavirus infections recorded during the pandemic on Tuesday — 10,949 — which county officials said stemmed from a backlog in testing results. It was unclear exactly how many of the cases were the result of the backlog or when the backlog began accumulating.
The number of known active cases stands at 39,826, up 3,558 from the day before. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 111,053 — according to the county Executive Office.
The number of verified patient recoveries is 69,676. That figure has previously been under-reported due to health officials not being able to confirm the status of patients in follow-up interviews.
Riverside County’s overall state-calculated positivity rate is 14.8%, almost double the 7.7% rate from last week.
The 11-county Southern California region’s available ICU capacity dropped to 7.7% on Thursday, down from 9% Wednesday.
The metric is a key indicator for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “regional stay-at-home” order, which went into effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday locally. The order was triggered when ICU bed availability across Southern California fell below 15%.
The order is slated to remain in effect until Dec. 28, when regions may be moved out of lockdown if bed capacity has recovered.
The mandate impacts bars, theaters, museums, hair salons, indoor recreational facilities, amusement parks and wineries — all of which are supposed to remain closed. Restaurants are confined to takeout and delivery, with capacity limitations on retail outlets.
The county Executive Office in October joined executive offices from surrounding counties in a loose coalition to press for a reduction in lockdown regulations.
A revised executive order mandating a nightly curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. began Nov. 21 in counties in the purple tier.