RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Ninety-nine percent of Intensive Care Unit beds in Riverside County are reported Monday to be occupied as California experiences a surge in new COVID-19 cases and evidence of rising community transmission.
There were just five empty ICU beds remaining in Riverside County as of Sunday, County spokeswoman Brooke Federico said in remarks reported in the Desert Sun. The number of occupied ICU bed represents a 19% increase over the past two weeks. Of the 380 ICU patients in Riverside County, 28% are confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Overall, the county’s hospital beds are currently 63% occupied. This means hospitals have flexibility to convert some of those empty beds to ICU beds under their surge plans, which is what hospitals plan to do in the coming week, Federico said.
The state requires counties have 20% or more ICU beds available.
Riverside county’s testing positivity rate over the past seven days was 10.6%, which is higher than the state’s 8% standard.
The rising number of cases prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to recommend Sunday that bars in Riverside County and several other counties close to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
“NEW: Due to the rising spread of #COVID19, CA is ordering bars to close in Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare, while recommending they close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, & Ventura,” Newsom tweeted at 12:17 p.m Sunday.
Riverside County health officials said they are conferring with state officials on how to proceed.
“We are working closely with the state to determine next steps regarding bars, including any potential impacts to restaurants that also have bars,” Federico said Sunday.
Bars in the region were allowed to reopen on June 12, so long as they followed strict safety protocols. But Riverside County has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases recently. On Friday, health officials reported three COVID-19 deaths and 501 newly confirmed infections, along with a jump in the number of patients in intensive care units.
The total known infections stands at 15,643, with the death toll at 438 and documented patient recoveries totaling 7,383, according to the Riverside University Health System. Still according to RUHS data, 318 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in county hospitals as of Friday, seven more than Thursday, with 105 of those patients being treated in ICUs, up by 10.