Official: Riverside County now meets state-mandated COVID testing threshold
Last updated 11/3/2020 at 7:18pm
RIVERSIDE (CNS) - Riverside County's coronavirus screenings have increased significantly, and with them a proportional rise in cases, though hospitalizations remain well below their summer peak, local health officials told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Nov. 3.
``A lot of outreach and work was done to increase testing, and that has been successful,'' county Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said. ``We have increased tremendously.''
She said the county is now at a ratio of 236.4 per 100,000 residents in COVID-19 screenings, compared to 221.6 per 100,000 just over a week ago. The state threshold for large counties is 239.1. However, that figure can be adjusted, and the county is no longer being downgraded for low testing volume.
The county's coronavirus positivity rate is 5.8%, up slightly from last week, and Saruwatari attributed part of the uptick to an ongoing elevated number of infections recorded in the eastern Coachella Valley.
The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 69,407, compared to 68,920 Monday, according to the Riverside University Health System.
The agency said the number of COVID-positive hospitalizations is 194, up 15 since from Monday, and that includes 53 intensive care unit patients, an increase of 10.
Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton said the hospitalization rates have been gradually ascending over the last month, but he noted they are well below the mid-July highs, when nearly 600 people were hospitalized.
``Hospitals and clinics have returned to pre-COVID levels, so those who really need care (for anything) need to come to our hospitals,'' Barton said. ``They are safe.''
Officials said the number of deaths tied to COVID-19 stands at 1,324, two more than Monday.
The number of known active cases countywide is 6,353, an increase of 176 since Monday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total -- 69,407 -- according to the county Executive Office. The number of verified patient recoveries is 61,730.
The California Department of Public Health has calculated the county's COVID-19 case rate at 11.2 per 100,000.
The agency two weeks ago reclassified the county in the ``purple'' tier, the most restrictive under Gov. Gavin Newsom's color-coded coronavirus regulatory framework, meaning some businesses that had reopened in recent weeks were required to close again. The designation impacts gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship.