Riverside County reports record number of COVID-19 ICU patients

10 November 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bonn: Intensive care units transport a ventilated corona patient after a CT examination back to the intensive care unit at the University Hospital Bonn. Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa (Photo by Rolf Vennenbernd/

Riverside County health officials reported another 4,103 coronavirus cases and 26 virus-related deaths, along with a record number of patients being treated in intensive care units due to COVID-19 complications.

The aggregate number of coronavirus infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 107,324, compared to
103,221 on Tuesday, according to the Riverside University Health System.

The number of deaths tied to COVID-19 rose to 1,539.

The RUHS reported a record 768 COVID-positive hospitalizations, up 35 from Tuesday. That number includes 172 patients being treated in county ICU beds, up 28 from the day before.

The previous record for ICU patients -- 167 -- was set back in July.

The metric is a key indicator for Gov. Gavin Newsom's "regional stay-at-home''
order, which went into effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday locally.

RELATED: Regional stay-at-home order kicks in for Southern California

The county's record for total coronavirus hospitalizations was first broken last week, with new records several times in the days since. Bed occupancy at hospitals throughout Riverside County is at 70%, with about one-quarter of that number attributed to COVID-19 patients, who are adding to the load mounting on medical facilities, according to Bruce Barton, the county's Emergency Management Department director.

"There are a lot of folks in ICU beds who are not COVID,'' Barton told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, noting that ICU occupancy countywide was at 90% as of that day. He did not venture a guess as to the mix of other patients and their infirmities.

Barton said the biggest challenge now is staffing facilities, and the county is trying to fill "resource requests,'' finding health care workers able to step in where personnel shortages occur.

The county reported its highest single-day number of coronavirus infections recorded during the pandemic on Tuesday -- 10,949 -- which county officials said stemmed from a backlog in testing results.

It was unclear exactly how many of the cases were the result of the backlog or when the backlog began accumulating. Neighboring Los Angeles County, which has four times the population of Riverside County, has never reported as many cases in a single day, even when it had testing backlogs of its own.

Los  Angeles County's highest single-day case number was 10,528, set on Sunday.

RELATED: LA County officials say 1 in 140 residents are infected with COVID-19, most without symptoms

With the addition of 3,894 known active cases since Tuesday, the figure now stands at 36,268. The active count is derived by subtracting deaths and recoveries from the current total -- 107,324 -- according to the county Executive Office.

The number of verified patient recoveries is 69,517. That figure has previously been under-reported due to health officials not being able to confirm the status of patients in follow-up interviews.

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

Riverside County's overall state-calculated positivity rate is 14.8%, almost double the 7.7% rate from last week. The governor's regional stay-at-home order was triggered when intensive-care unit bed availability across Southern California fell below 15%. The 11-county Southern California region's available ICU capacity is currently now at 9%, down from 10.1% reported on Tuesday.

The order is slated to remain in effect until Dec. 28, when regions may be moved out of lockdown if bed capacity has recovered. The mandate impacts bars, theaters, museums, hair salons, indoor recreational facilities, amusement parks and wineries -- all of which are supposed to remain closed. Restaurants are confined to takeout and delivery, with capacity limitations on retail outlets.

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