Riverside County reports 20,000 more tests conducted over the weekend, 1,531 new COVID-19 cases

Dozens of people are tested at the Lake Elsinore drive-thru testing site where the appointment-only schedule of operation is Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Anyone with or without symptoms can schedule an appointment by calling 800-945-6171. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Riverside County Public Health officials Monday, Aug. 10, reported 1,531 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend bringing the total number of cases within the county to 38,131 since the county began recording data.

Day by day, the county reported 536 new cases Saturday, 472 on Sunday and 523 on Monday.

The number of new deaths reported in the county over the weekend was 21 and the total number of people that have died from the virus since the county began sits at 820. On Saturday, 14 people died, five more on Sunday and two on Monday.

There were 50 fewer people hospitalized with the coronavirus since Friday, for a new total of 359 hospitalizations. The county reported 112 of those patients were in intensive care units, 13 fewer than before the weekend started.

Overall, 21,898 people have recovered from the virus, 777 more than the Friday before, the county has tested 403,340 residents for the virus, 20,524 more over the weekend.

The county reported that there were 313 confirmed cases in county jails and another 1,458 cases recorded in state prisons within the county. Both experienced minimal case growth.

Locally, Temecula added 19 cases (740), Murrieta added 37 (816), Wildomar added 18 (389), Lake Elsinore added 31 (867), Canyon Lake added three (64), Menifee added 33 (986), Hemet added 63 (1,170) and San Jacinto added 35 (791).

In local communities, Anza added one new case (11), East Hemet added nine (228), French Valley added nine (219), Lakeland Village added eight (158), Valle Vista added 14 (154) and Winchester added no new cases (10).

Temecula added one more death over the weekend and, to date, four people have died from the virus in the city. There have been 18 deaths from Murrieta, seven from Wildomar, 15 from Lake Elsinore, none from Canyon Lake, 14 from Menifee, 37 from Hemet, 14 from San Jacinto, none from Anza, two from East Hemet, one from French Valley, one from Lakeland Village, two from Valle Vista and none from Winchester.

The number of known active virus cases countywide is 19,265, an increase of 733 from Friday, according to figures. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the overall cases – 41,983 – according to the county executive office.

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, Bruce Barton, director of the county Emergency Management Department, told the county Board of Supervisors, the county had “seen a downward trend in hospitalizations” over a nearly two-week span.

“We’ve steadily seen COVID-positive hospitalizations go down,” Barton said. “ICU utilization has also leveled off and come down.”

Kim Saruwatari, director of the county Department of Public Health, told the board that District 4 has had the highest proportion of coronavirus-related deaths.

She said nearly two-thirds – 63% – of all deaths coded as COVID-19 were 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% in the county – is 32 days. A doubling rate of seven days is considered severe.

Several school districts in the county opened their fall semesters Monday, and others will follow in the coming weeks countywide. All districts are set up for distance – or online – instruction for the time being.

However, once the county’s COVID-19 infection rate recedes, many schools will be eligible to apply for waivers from the California Department of Public Health that enable them to proceed with limited in-person class activities.

Last week, in-person sports activities were permitted to recommence, but physical distancing and safety protocols must be in place.

Tournaments, events and games indoors that require close contact among participants are not allowed.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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