Countywide COVID hospitalizations return to pre-December levels

Doctor with stethoscope
Valley News - Health

Countywide COVID hospitalizations return to pre-December levelsRIVERSIDE  – COVID-positive hospitalizations in Riverside County dropped further, falling to a 10-week low,  while an additional 34 virus-related deaths were reported.
According to the Riverside University Health System, coronavirus hospitalizations countywide declined to 513 Friday, compared to 535 on Thursday, and that includes 152 ICU patients, 20 less than a day ago.
The last time virus-connected hospitalizations were at or near the current level was during the last week of November.
Despite the downtrend, ICU bed capacity countywide technically remains at 0%, though the majority of admissions are not from COVID-19, according to RUHS.
Figures showed the aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in March is 287,534, up 334 from Thursday.
Officials said there have been a total 3,633 deaths from virus-related complications in the last 11 months, compared to 3,599 reported Thursday.
The fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates and cover three- to four-week cycles.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 24,013, down 2,315 compared to a day ago. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 287,534 — according to the county Executive Office. Verified patient recoveries countywide are now at 259,888.
Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari told the Board of Supervisors last week that Blue Shield had reached an agreement with the California Department of Public Health to coordinate vaccine distribution efforts throughout the state, including Riverside County.
However, some vaccination programs are in a holding pattern due to weather-related bottlenecks in the past week, resulting in 600 appointments being postponed. The deep freeze across the Midwest impacted shipments, and according to RUHS, the delayed distributions of Pfizer and Moderna doses disrupted operations at vaxx clinics in Beaumont, Hemet, Indio and Menifee.
Operations were also affected in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
Scheduling is expected to return to normal next week in Riverside County. Vaccination of seniors is a priority, but others who qualify under the CDPH Phase 1 guidelines include hospital workers, first responders, teachers and some agricultural workers. The portal to make an appointment for vaccination can be accessed via Anyone who needs assistance may also call the county’s 211 help line.
The overall countywide COVID-19 testing positivity rate is 11%, down from 14.4% last week, based on state-adjusted figures.
The county is still in the most restrictive purple tier of the governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework, impacting bars, theaters, museums, indoor recreational facilities and wineries — all of which are supposed to remain closed. However wineries, like restaurants, can provide outdoor dining, takeout and delivery.
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