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OFFICIAL: COUNTY NOW MEETS COVID TESTING THRESHOLD, Hospitals return to pre-COVID levels

OFFICIAL: COUNTY NOW MEETS COVID TESTING THRESHOLD, Hospitals return to pre-COVID levels

Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton said “Hospitals and clinics have returned to pre-COVID levels, so those who really need care (for anything) need to come to our hospitals,” Barton said. “They are safe.”

The hospitalization rates have been gradually ascending over the last month, but he noted they are well below the mid-July highs, when nearly 600 people were hospitalized.

The agency said the number of COVID-positive hospitalizations is 194, up 15 since from Monday, and that includes 53 intensive care unit patients, an increase of 10.

Riverside County’s coronavirus screenings have increased significantly, and with them a proportional rise in cases, though hospitalizations remain well below their summer peak, local health officials told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

“A lot of outreach and work was done to increase testing, and that has been successful,” county Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said. “We have increased tremendously.”

The county’s coronavirus positivity rate is 5.8%, up slightly from last week, and Saruwatari attributed part of the uptick to an ongoing elevated number of infections recorded in the eastern Coachella Valley.

Officials said the number of deaths tied to COVID-19 was two more than Monday.

The California Department of Public Health has calculated the county’s COVID-19 case rate at 11.2 per 100,000.

The agency two weeks ago reclassified the county in the “purple” tier, the most restrictive under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s color-coded coronavirus regulatory framework, meaning some businesses that had reopened in recent weeks were required to close again. The designation impacts gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship…more.

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