Friday shows uptick in new cases ahead of supervisors’ vote

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Health care workers conduct tests at the state run COVID-19 testing location at the Grace Mellman Community Library in Temecula. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Riverside University Health System reported 446 new cases of COVID-19, Friday, Oct. 2. It was the first time the county has reported more than 400 new cases since Aug. 25.

Only twice during that time period did the number of new cases break the 300 mark.

Also Friday, the county announced five new deaths after posting none the day before and 10 each day before.

In all, 59,934 have tested positive for the virus and 1,231 people have died since the county began recording data back in early March.

The county said there were 11 more people hospitalized since the day before – a total of 130. There are currently 39 people being treated in intensive care units.

Officials said 54,736 people have recovered from the virus, but that number is 332 more than the day before.

The number of known active cases countywide is 3,967, up 109 since Thursday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total – 59,934 – according to the County Executive Office.

The county also reported that 661,283 have been tested so far meaning there were 6,911 new tests reported Friday.

There were 433 confirmed cases in county jails and another 2,777 cases recorded in state prisons within the county Friday. Prisons in particular have seen a significant rise in new cases over the past two weeks.

Friday’s uptick in new cases reported by health officials comes about 3 1/2 weeks since the Labor Day holiday and could cause county supervisors to think twice before ratifying a proposal by Supervisor Jeff Hewitt to permit all businesses, houses of worship, offices, wineries, bars and other entities to open with health safeguards in place Nov. 1.

The county plan would be administered by CEO George Johnson, who would make final determinations on whether the phased reopening should proceed on schedule or be delayed, depending on whether COVID-19 infections tick up, remain flat or decline.

“We’re going to be operating in an economy that’s going to be crushed. We need to move forward on this and stop putting it off,” Hewitt said.

Supervisors Karen Spiegel and Kevin Jeffries expressed support for the concept but requested a delay in voting until Oct. 6 to give the executive office time to evaluate the potential funding losses that might ensue.

“Public health officers should not be dictating the terms and conditions of our fundamental rights,” Jeffries said. “When I had pneumonia a few years ago, I did not turn over my business and livelihood to my physician. Only the businesses and residents of this county can open it again.”

The supervisors were expected to vote on Hewitt’s proposal Tuesday, Oct. 6, after press time to replace the state’s tiered system with a county-designed accelerated reopening plan.

The county executive office has said the state could withhold $114 million in grants and other allocations if the county takes an independent path. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office did not respond to a request for comment on what may happen if the board approves the self-directed reopening plan.

Newsom announced last month the county’s shift to the “red tier” from the most restrictive “purple tier.” The county qualified for the move under testing and positivity thresholds established by the California Department of Public Health.

The local numbers by city and community in southwest Riverside County:

Temecula

Confirmed Cases: 1,120

Deaths: 17

Recovered: 1,026

Murrieta

Confirmed Cases: 1,265

Deaths: 22

Recovered: 1,166

Wildomar

Confirmed Cases: 578

Deaths: 14

Recovered: 537

Lake Elsinore

Confirmed Cases: 1,249

Deaths: 21

Recovered: 1,182

Canyon Lake

Confirmed Cases: 108

Deaths: 2

Recovered: 99

Menifee

Confirmed Cases: 1,520

Deaths: 40

Recovered: 1,363

Hemet

Confirmed Cases: 1,717

Deaths: 63

Recovered: 1,582

San Jacinto

Confirmed Cases: 1,153

Deaths: 25

Recovered: 1,075

Anza

Confirmed Cases: 14

Deaths: 0

Recovered: 14

East Hemet

Confirmed Cases: 359

Deaths: 7

Recovered: 326

French Valley

Confirmed Cases: 336

Deaths: 1

Recovered: 318

Lakeland Village

Confirmed Cases: 218

Deaths: 2

Recovered: 211

Valle Vista

Confirmed Cases: 234

Deaths: 5

Recovered: 221

Winchester

Confirmed Cases: 21

Deaths: 0

Recovered: 20

Riverside County does not provide new reports over the weekend and Valley News press deadline is Monday at noon.

For the latest reports from the county, visit http://www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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