Riverside County added nearly 2,000 COVID-19 cases in the past week and hospitalizations continue to increase, but unlike in other California jurisdictions, local public health officials do not have plans to change masking guidelines.
There have been 1,991 new cases reported in the last seven days, for a total of 304,060 confirmed cases in the county since the pandemic began. The county’s positivity rate is 4.7%, and the case rate is 7.1 per 100,000 residents.
By comparison, when California announced its full reopening on June 15, Riverside County reported a case rate of 1.5 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, and a positivity rate of 1.1%.
Statewide, California reported 5,285 cases Wednesday, according to state data, or 8.1 new cases per 100,000 people.
Riverside County is seeing some infections from COVID-19 variants, but they do not account for a majority of cases. Since tracking began, there have been 18 confirmed cases of the delta variant, 144 cases of the alpha variant and 10 cases of the gamma variant in the county.
More California counties are again recommending masks in indoor public settings as the rate of infections rises. Santa Barbara, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Ventura counties are the latest to recommend masks indoors this week, while Los Angeles County is requiring facial coverings in indoor public settings.
Riverside County is sticking with state masking guidance, which has aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and states that vaccinated people generally do not need to wear masks. Unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear masks in indoor public settings and businesses.
“As we said before, we are not — at this point — making any changes to the mask guidance/recommendations,” county spokesperson Jose Arballo Jr. said Wednesday.
There have been 22,260 new COVID-19 cases reported in the county since Feb. 1., a date the county picked as a benchmark because COVID-19 cases were declining at that time and more people “had a chance of being vaccinated in February going forward,” explained Arballo.
Among those 22,260 cases, 414 — or 1.86% — have been among vaccinated individuals. The rest have been among individuals who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, according to county data.
Nearly half — 48.6% — of residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated, and 55.9% are partially or fully vaccinated.
Hospitalizations, ICU numbers increase among unvaccinated
As of Wednesday, there were 155 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in Riverside County, which included 30 in intensive care, according to county data. That is up from 94 hospitalizations and 14 ICU patients last week.
Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage is seeing about 10 COVID-19 cases daily, and 90% of hospital admissions are among unvaccinated patients, according to data provided by spokesperson Lee Rice. The hospital has a 9% COVID-19 positivity rate as of Monday, slightly down from last week’s 11%.
Thirteen individuals were hospitalized — including two in the ICU — as of Wednesday.
If the positivity rate continues to increase, Rice said hospitalizations will likely also increase over the next several weeks.
Desert Regional Medical Center has been seeing 9 to 15 COVID-19 patients daily, while John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio has seen 1 to 5 patients, according to data provided by spokesperson Todd Burke. Though exact numbers were not available, Burke said the “vast majority” of patients testing positive for COVID-19 have not been vaccinated.
Where to get tested and vaccinated in the Coachella Valley
COVID-19 test sites
Desert Hot Springs: Henry V. Lozano Community Center, 12800 West Arroyo
Indio: Indio Fairgrounds, 82695 Dr. Carreon Blvd.
La Quinta: La Quinta Wellness Center, 78450 Avenida La Fonda; Old Amistad High School, 44801 Golf Center Parkwa
Palm Desert: UCR Palm Desert Campus, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive
Rancho Mirage: Rancho Mirage Library & Observatory, 71-100 Highway 111
Curative: Indio Fairgrounds Fullenwider Auditorium, 46350 Arabia St.
OptumServe: Carl May Community Center, 11711 West Drive in Desert Hot Springs
Upcoming mobile clinics:
- Cathedral City: Aug. 18 at Park David Senior Apartments, 27-700 Landau Blvd.; Pfizer (12 and older) and Johnson & Johnson (18 and older) vaccines will be available
- Indio: July 30 at DPSS, 44-199 Monroe St.; Pfizer vaccine will be available
- Palm Desert: Aug. 13 at Riverside County Assessor, 38-686 El Cerrito Road; Pfizer vaccine will be available
- Palm Springs: Aug. 18 at Desert Water Agency, 1200 S. Gene Autry Trail; Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available
Ema Sasic covers health in the Coachella Valley. Reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter @ema_sasic.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Riverside County adds 2,000 COVID-19 cases in past week; 155 hospitalized
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