RivCo reports 113 new coronavirus cases, three more deaths

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RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Riverside County health officials today reported 113 newly confirmed coronavirus infections and three additional fatalities, bringing the county’s case total to 7,252 and the death toll to 306.

All three deaths reported Wednesday were women — a 59-year-old from Riverside, an 84-year-old from Riverside and an 89-year-old from Palm Desert, according to Jose Arballo, spokesman for the Riverside University Health System.

The number of county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 stood at 207, up by 14 from Tuesday. Of those hospitalized, 68 are being treated in intensive care units, according to the latest RUHS figures.

The number of documented recoveries increased by 12 to 4,297.

More than 108,000 Riverside County residents have been tested for the coronavirus, which accounts for more than 4% of the county’s population of nearly 2.5 million.

According to Riverside University Health System researcher Dr. Geoffrey Leung, the countywide hospitalization rate for COVID-19 cases has been flat for the past few weeks, generally remaining below 200, while the “positivity rate” from coronavirus screenings has ranged from 2% to 4%, figures that did not raise red flags.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday cleared the way for barbershops and hair salons to open in counties that have been cleared to move deeper into California’s reopening roadmap, including Riverside County.

Riverside is one of 47 counties in the state that have been granted “regional variances” needed to open more types of businesses. Restrictions on in-person dining and shopping were lifted in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

The Gardens on El Paseo, an outdoor shopping center in Palm Desert, reopened on Tuesday, although only a handful of shops were operational. The Westfield Mall, also in Palm Desert, is set to reopen on Friday.

Officials at both shopping centers readying to welcome customers said they will have limited hours and will implement robust cleaning protocols, with a focus on high-touch areas.

Mall giant Simon Properties on Tuesday reopened nine of its Southern California retail centers, including Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, which had been shuttered since March due to COVID-19.