COVID-19 patient count rises, number of virus-related deaths also up

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) –  As of this weekend, the number of coronavirus infections in Riverside County has risen to 12,778, and the number of deaths attributed to the virus edged up to 410, according to the Riverside University Health System.

The infection data released Friday covers the period going back to early March and includes patients who have since recovered.

On Thursday, RUHS reported 12,467 infections and 408 deaths stemming from virus-related complications.

Officials said the ascending numbers stem from a combination of factors, including additional cases being reported in long-term care facilities and state prisons, and the possibility that some of the protests in recent weeks yielded infections.

Currently, 291 people are hospitalized countywide and receiving treatment for COVID-19 symptoms, 76 of whom are in intensive care units. Some of the infirm are from Mexico and Imperial County, according to the Riverside County Emergency Management Department.

The number of documented patient recoveries stands at 6,625.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered all residents to wear face coverings in almost all settings outside their homes to help slow the spread of the virus. The statewide mandate requires residents to wear masks in “high-risk situations,” which cover virtually all scenarios outside the home.

Riverside County health officials on Thursday urged residents to abide by the new mandate despite having rescinded a similar order countywide in May, but did not specify how the order would be enforced. Sheriff Chad Bianco has previously declined to have deputies actively look for alleged violators of public health orders. He told the Board of Supervisors in early May that he doubted the veracity of coronavirus data.

Meantime, more county businesses opened their doors Friday as the coronavirus regulatory bar was lowered further, and the county continued its transition through Stage 3 of the governor’s four-stage deregulation framework tied to the health emergency.

According to county officials, nail salons, facial and esthetician providers, shaving, waxing and threading businesses, massage therapy outlets and tattoo and piercing parlors countywide are now eligible to resume operation under guidelines specified by the California Department of Public Health.

Last week, motels, gyms, bars, museums, theaters and wineries were among entities given the green light to reopen under public health guidelines that encourage social distancing, caps on the size of gatherings and repetitive sanitation of spaces.

Officials noted that wedding ceremonies can proceed, but receptions are not yet on the list of permitted functions.

In Stage 4 of the governor’s deregulation framework, nightclubs, concert venues and sports venues will be eligible to open.