RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — Riverside County’s coronavirus positivity rate has climbed to 5.6 percent amid a significant increase in the volume of people being tested countywide, health officials told the Board of Supervisors this week.
According to Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari, the county’s testing rate has reached 221.6 tests per 100,000 population, compared to 195.5 tests per 100,000 a week ago. The state’s testing threshold for large counties is 239.1 per 100,000.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of effort to increase testing in the county,” Saruwatari told the board on Tuesday.
With the increase in screening, there has been a proportional rise in positive results. The 5.6 percent positivity rate compares to an overall rate of 5.2 percent last week.
Additionally, the daily COVID-19 case rate in Riverside County is now 10.1 infections per 100,000 population, according to state data. The previous rate calculated by the state on Oct. 20 was 9.1 per 100,000.
The high case rate and below-threshold testing make the county ineligible for movement back into the “red tier” under the California Department of Public Health’s parameters. On Oct. 20, the CDPH reclassified the county in the “purple tier,” the most restrictive under the state’s color-coded coronavirus regulatory framework, meaning some businesses that had reopened in recent weeks were required to close again or move outdoors, though the compliance level was unknown. The designation impacts gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship, which can still operate outdoors only.
The total number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March increased Wednesday by 306 to 67,299, compared to 66,993 on Tuesday, according to the Riverside University Health System. The number of verified patient recoveries is 59,909.
The RUHS reported two additional deaths tied to COVID-19, bringing the county’s death toll from the virus to 1,305.
The number of COVID-positive hospitalizations is now 143 compared to 166 on Tuesday. The figure includes 32 intensive care unit patients, a decrease of 26 since Tuesday.
All COVID-19 hospitalization counts are currently at or below levels reported in April, and Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton told the board Tuesday that “hospitals have resumed normal operations.”
He additionally said that temporary overflow COVID-19 emergency treatment facilities at the Indio Fairgrounds and the shuttered Sears building on Arlington Avenue in Riverside had been “broken down” and the equipment stored in a warehouse for lack of need.
—City News Service contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on the Temecula Patch