Riverside County reports 1,431 new coronavirus cases, largest daily record

Riverside County health officials Friday reported 1,431 newly confirmed coronavirus cases and four additional deaths, marking the largest one-day increase in confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

According to the Riverside University Health System, the total number of coronavirus infections documented countywide since data collection began in early March is 24,765. There are also now 537 deaths associated with COVID-19.

Records for one-day reported case increases were set three times this week alone in Riverside County, which continues to have the second-most coronavirus cases and deaths in the state after only Los Angeles County.

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The previous record high for a single-day case increase was set Thursday with 1,377 new cases, which followed another record set the day before on Wednesday, when 856 cases were reported.

The number of known active coronavirus cases in the county rose to 14,861 on Friday, up 1,306 from Thursday. According to the county Executive Office, the active case count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current cumulative total -- 24,765.

Data show estimated recoveries are now at 9,367. The county defines a recovery as someone who has not exhibited any COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days.

There were 526 patients hospitalized in medical facilities countywide for COVID-19, up 13 from Thursday, which includes 116 patients in intensive care units, or one less than Thursday.

The seven-day average positivity rate -- the daily percentage of people who are tested and turn out to be positive for the virus -- is just under 16% in the county.

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Emergency Management Department Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that of the county's 17 hospitals, six are operating at maximum capacity. But they are "not overwhelmed" because all of the medical facilities are able to add spare cushion on short notice, exceeding licensed capacities by 30% if necessary, as happened during the 2017 flu outbreak, he said.

So-called "sub-acute" bed space countywide is at 68% capacity, while 94% of designated ICU beds are occupied, but fewer than a third of those are COVID-19 patients, according to Barton.

He said 10 prisoners from state penitentiaries are in hospitals within the county, along with four patients from hard-hit Imperial County. Imperial County's two functioning hospitals have been operating over capacity for the last two months, and an unspecified number of patients have been transferred to multiple jurisdictions statewide for care.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has implemented a ban on indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, family entertainment centers, cardrooms, theaters and museums in what he termed a precautionary move to address the "particularly concerning" spike in infections in 23 counties on the state's "watch list," including Riverside County.

The new state mandate barring indoor activities at those venues is slated to last another two weeks at least.

Bars countywide were also ordered closed last week under a new public health order. They had been allowed to reopen on June 12, after having previously been shut down as part of the governor's stay-at-home order issued March 19.