COVID curve continues up in Riverside County


RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside County health officials Friday, Jan. 8 reported nearly 4,000 new coronavirus cases and 67 COVID-related deaths, along with an uptick in hospitalizations.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 207,841, compared to 203,957 on Thursday, and the death toll rose to 2,218, according to the Riverside University Health System.
The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates and can cover several weeks.
RUHS officials reported 1,648 COVID-positive hospitalizations countywide, compared to 1,611 on Thursday. That number includes 370 intensive care unit patients — 27 more than the day before.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 70,929, an increase of 1,693. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 207,841– according to the county Executive Office.
Verified patient recoveries countywide are at 134,691.
County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton said Friday that a team of U.S. military nurses, physicians assistants and respiratory therapists had been dispatched to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley to assist with patient care.
The hospital, which principally serves the indigent and uninsured, has been deluged with both coronavirus cases and patients suffering other conditions over the last six weeks, according to county officials.
Barton said that roughly 40% of all hospitalizations countywide are tied to COVID-19, and medical facilities have resorted to “surge capacity” plans to expand critical care space wherever possible.
RUHS staff will be briefing the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday regarding resource requests and ongoing contingency planning.
The county’s overall COVID-19 positive rate is 23.1%, compared to 22.6% last week, based on state-adjusted figures.
The 11-county Southern California region’s available ICU capacity is officially 0%.
The regional ICU bed metric is a key benchmark under 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%.
The mandate is expected to remain in effect until bed capacities recover.
The current stay-at-home order 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.