COVID-19 numbers increase across the board in Riverside County

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The coronavirus death toll and hospitalizations continue to rise in Riverside County, where an additional 1,291 cases were confirmed Tuesday, Dec. 22.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the pandemic began in early March is 151,713, compared to 150,422 on Monday, according to the Riverside University Health System.
The number of deaths stemming from virus-related complications stands at 1,789, an increase of 36, officials said. Those figures are trailing indicators because of delays certifying death certificates coded as COVID-19, according to health officials. Reporting periods can go back several weeks.
COVID-positive hospitalizations countywide are at 1,278, up from 1,239 a day ago, according to RUHS. That includes 250 intensive care unit patients, 21 more than Monday.
Last week, Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors that about 40% of all hospitalizations countywide are tied to COVID-19. ICU beds are the greatest concern now, he said, with the county’s general and acute care facilities technically at maximum occupancy.
Barton said hospitals are resorting to “surge capacity” plans to expand critical care space wherever possible.
At the Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, some non-emergency pediatric cases are being referred to Loma Linda University Medical Center to reduce the county hospital’s load.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 75,858, a decline of 803 compared to Monday due to more reported recoveries. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 151,713 — according to the County Executive Office.
The number of verified patient recoveries is 74,066 — a 3% rise compared to the day before. The recovery rate is a trailing indicator and not a real-time snapshot of patient totals.
The county’s overall COVID-19 positive rate is 21.3%, compared to 18.5% a week ago. Health officials have noted that increases in testing lead to proportionally higher case numbers, which don’t necessarily translate to medical need, except for quarantine.
The 11-county Southern California region’s available ICU capacity is officially at 0%.
The regional ICU bed metric is a key benchmark for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s regional stay-at-home order, which went into effect on Dec. 6. The order was triggered when ICU bed availability across Southern California fell below 15%.