Riverside County reports another drop in COVID hospitalizations, 34 new deaths

Since the public health documentation period began in March 2020, the aggregate number of COVID-19 cases recorded in Riverside County stands at 293,831, with a total 4,248 deaths, according to the Riverside University Health System.

The agency does not release updated coronavirus statistics on the weekend.

On Friday, the number of coronavirus patients in Riverside County hospitals dipped, although the number in intensive care units rose slightly, according to health officials, who also reported 34 newly logged virus-related deaths and 124 new cases, RUHS said.

COVID-positive patients in hospitals countywide numbered 136 on Friday, down seven from Thursday. That figure includes 33 ICU patients, one more than the day before.

The number of known active virus cases countywide was 3,203 as of Friday, down 16 from Thursday. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total -- 293,831 -- according to the county Executive Office.

Meanwhile, RUHS officials urged residents to combat "vaccine hesitancy.''

During a news conference Friday, county Public Health Officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung discussed "vaccine hesitancy'' while urging residents to do their part to convince those around them to get inoculated.

"This means that if you have a loved one, a family member, a friend, a colleague, who you know currently qualifies under one of the qualifying categories but who hasn't received the vaccine, we would encourage you to make every effort to convince those people to do that,'' Leung said. 

"When one person gets the vaccine, it actually increases the likelihood that those people in their immediate social circle, as well as their secondary social circle, will be vaccinated.''

Leung urged residents to get inoculated quickly, noting that the world is in a race toward herd immunity in order to stave off the possibility of the virus continuing to mutate, which could make it less susceptible to vaccines on the market.

He said roughly 25% of all Riverside County residents have received at least one vaccine shot so far, mirroring national trends.

RELATED: Californians aged 16+ to become eligible for vaccine on April 15, residents 50+ on April 1

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that, beginning April 1, vaccination eligibility will be expanded to include everyone 50 years and older, stemming from an anticipated increase in SAR-Cov-2 immunization doses.

After April 15, residents statewide who are 16 years and over will be eligible
to make appointments.

In Riverside County, vaccination of seniors continues to be a priority, but others who qualify under the present CDPH guidelines include utility workers, public transit workers, disaster preparedness workers, first responders, food service workers, teachers and some agricultural workers. Those with pre-existing disorders or who are permanently disabled may also obtain shots from their health care providers.

The portal to make an appointment for vaccination at county-run and other sites can be accessed via rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. Anyone who needs assistance may also call the county's 211 help line.

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