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Coachella Valley, Riverside county may have averted a hospital surge

Coachella Valley, Riverside county may have averted a hospital surge

There was positive news Wednesday based on local and state data, the doubling rate of coronavirus cases has slowed in the county from every four days to now about every seven days, health officials announced.

During a press conference Wednesday, Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Riverside University Health System-Medical Center, announced that the latest modeling shows the county “may be entering a period of slowing” in terms of new COVID-19 cases.

Measures taken by the public — face coverings, hand washing, physical distancing, staying home — appear to be paying off as evidenced in the slowed doubling rate, Leung said

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said, noting that the county may have averted a hospital surge.

Still, COVID-19 cases and deaths rose in the county overall. The caseload rose Wednesday by 144 to 2,105 over a 24-hour reporting period, and the death toll increased to 54 over the same period.

The statistics do show more encouraging signs: Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 rose by 40 people to 416. The number of reported hospitalizations dropped from 247 Tuesday to 235 Wednesday. Included in that number are 64 patients in intensive care units, according to the data.

Currently, hospitals are about half full, in large part due to postponement of elective surgeries countywide. ICU beds are 74 percent occupied and the county has 315 available ventilators out of a total of 523, said Dr. Michael Mesisca, Riverside University Health System-Medical Center.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Riverside County has surpassed 2,000 — a figure that ranks second in the state only to Los Angeles County, according to data released Wednesday afternoon. Riverside County also reported four more deaths due to the illness.

Depending on how well the public practices covering their faces, hand washing, social distancing and staying home over the coming days and weeks will determine whether that number drops or rises, Leung said, the number could be just 4,000 infections by early May. Previous models suggested 65,000 infections or more than 1600% that number.

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