COVID hospitalizations continue climbing; 16,367 new cases, 41 deaths reported

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations climbed substantially in Riverside County over the three-day holiday period, according to data released Monday, Dec. 28.
COVID-positive hospitalizations countywide numbered 1,367, up 40 from Thursday, according to RUHS. That includes 282 intensive care unit patients, 27 more than last week. According to Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton, the hospital figures are confirmed daily.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 174,477, compared to 158,110 on Thursday, according to the Riverside University Health System.
RUHS did not post data on Christmas or over the weekend.
The number of deaths stemming from virus-related complications stands at 1,870, up 41 since Thursday. The death figures are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates, according to health officials. Reporting periods can go back weeks.
The data set that contained the largest fluctuation was in the recovery rate. According to figures, the number of verified patient recoveries countywide rocketed to 110,736 — a 48% rise compared to Thursday, when only 74,800 recoveries were listed.
“The increase is related to a changing methodology with the state system that allows us to more quickly and accurately account for recovered cases,” county Executive Office spokeswoman Brooke Federico told City News Service.
Previously, recovery data was adjusted incrementally, on a trailing basis, due to a slower verification process.
The number of known active virus cases countywide is 61,871, a drop of 19,608 compared to Thursday, directly attributable to the upward revision in recoveries. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total — 174,477 — according to the County Executive Office.
According to Barton, about 40% of all hospitalizations countywide are tied to COVID-19. ICU beds are the greatest concern now, with the county’s general and acute care facilities at maximum occupancy.
Barton said hospitals are resorting to “surge capacity” plans to expand critical care space wherever possible.
At 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 county’s overall COVID-19 positive rate is 21.3%, compared to 18.5% two weeks ago.
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%.
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.