County report of hospitalizations continue to drop, 1,262 new cases reported over weekend

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Health care workers conduct coronavirus testing at Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore managed and operated by Riverside University Health System Public Health Department. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Riverside County Public Health officials, Monday, Aug. 24, reported 28 fewer people hospitalized with the virus since Friday, for a new total of 224 hospitalizations. Also, the county reported 82 of those patients were in intensive care units, one less than before the weekend started.

The drop comes on the heels of 49 fewer hospitalizations reported over Thursday and Friday of last week and makes 77 fewer total since Wednesday.

During that same time span, 56 Riverside County residents have died, may or may not have had an impact on the hospitalization numbers, as county officials have repeatedly cited lags in reporting data in reporting discrepancies.

Valley News asked Jose Arballo Jr., senior public information specialist for the Riverside University Health System – Public Health, about whether there are new policies in place for hospitalizations or new treatments being administered to patients.

On Monday, Arballo said that Bruce Barton, head of the Emergency Management Department, had been discussing the lowering numbers recently and, “no one seemed to be able to point to one thing or things that had changed (treatment, new medicines or criteria to remain in hospitals), but they are happy the numbers are looking better.”

While COVID-19 hospitalizations seem to be plummeting, new case reporting has been fairly consistent for the past two weeks.

On Monday, the county reported 1,262 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, 602 new cases Saturday, 448 on Sunday and 212 on Monday.

In all, 50,744 residents have tested positive since the county began recording data.

They also reported Monday 45 deaths since Friday, with the total number of deaths now at 972. On Saturday, the county reported 25 deaths, one on Sunday and another 19 on Monday.

Overall, 28,407 people have recovered from the virus, 1,615 more than the Friday before, the county has tested 491,918 residents for the virus, 11,372 more over the weekend.

The county reported that there were 374 confirmed cases in county jails and another 1,615 cases recorded in state prisons within the county. Both experienced new case growth a little more than in previous weeks.

Locally, Temecula added 30 cases (907), Murrieta added 20 (1,004), Wildomar added 15 (493), Lake Elsinore added 42 (1,062), Canyon Lake added two (82), Menifee added 34 (1,191), Hemet added 37 (1,472) and San Jacinto added 20 (997).

In local communities, Anza added no new cases (12), East Hemet added five (281), French Valley added nine (265), Lakeland Village added six (192), Valle Vista added six (195) and Winchester added one new case (19).

Temecula added one more death over the weekend and, to date, nine people have died from the virus in the city. There have been 20 deaths from Murrieta, 13 from Wildomar, 17 from Lake Elsinore, one from Canyon Lake, 16 from Menifee, 44 from Hemet, 19 from San Jacinto, none from Anza, four from East Hemet, one from French Valley, one from Lakeland Village, four from Valle Vista and none from Winchester.

Hemet added six new deaths, San Jacinto two and Valle Vista one.

The number of known active virus cases countywide is 21,365, or 398 fewer than Friday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total – 50,744 – according to the county executive office.

According to Kim Saruwatari, director of the Department of Public Health, nearly two-thirds – 63% – of all deaths coded as COVID-19 have been correlated to underlying conditions, principally chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease.

The doubling time – or the number of days in which documented virus cases increase 100% – is 42 days. A doubling rate of seven days is reason for alarm, while expanding doubling times point to moderation, or gradual success in virus containment, according to health officials.

Also Monday, elementary schools in Riverside County seeking to open for in-person teaching were able to apply for a waiver and would only be approved for grades ranging from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.