Riverside County’s death toll from coronavirus topped 500 on Tuesday as health officials on Tuesday confirmed 546 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional virus-related deaths.
There are now 21,101 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, and 506 of those have been fatal.
At this point, Riverside County, with about 2.5 million people, has had about as many cases as Japan (20,054 cases; population 126 million); Ghana (21,077 cases; population 31 million); or Azerbaijan (21,374 cases; population 10 million), according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard on Tuesday.
Coronavirus cases in Riverside County have nearly tripled since the beginning of June. On June 1, there were 7,982 total coronavirus cases in the county.
Indio, the most populous city in the Coachella Valley, has the most number of virus-related deaths in the valley as of Tuesday, with 40 deaths total. Palm Desert has 30 deaths.
The cases are broken down by age as follows, according to health officials:
- 349 cases (1.6%) are among people ages 0 to 4
- 1,407 cases (6.6%) are among people ages 5 to 17
- 8,459 cases (40%) are among people ages 18 to 39
- 7,576 cases (36%) are among people ages 40 to 64
- 1,758 (8.3%) cases are among people ages 65 to 79
- 730 cases (3.5%) are among people 80 years or older
Emergency Management Department (EMD) Director Bruce Barton told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the recent jump in coronavirus cases prompted a half dozen hospitals countywide to switch to “surge plans” to accommodate the infirm, but the facilities are not operating beyond their limits.
“We have six hospitals that are over capacity,” Barton said. “They are using their surge plans. But that’s not the same thing as being overwhelmed. They are not overwhelmed. They still have the capacity.”
The county reported that the number of hospitalized patients now stands at 518 and 130 of those individuals are in intensive care units, which hasn’t changed since Monday.
ICU beds countywide are at 94% capacity, while sub-acute beds are at 68% capacity, according to Barton.
COVID-19 hospitalizations at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs reached a new high earlier last week, with around 60 patients. They also have been increasing at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio.
Virus-related hospitalizations at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage also have reached a peak; the facility reported 62 patients as of Thursday.
County health officials reported 264,915 total tests for the virus as of Tuesday. The total number of recovered patients on Tuesday was at 8,896.
According to the EMD director, the EMD and other county agencies are assisting hospitals by every means possible. This includes masks for staff members as the county has come into possession of 2 million N95 masks.
Another million are expected to be available for distribution by the end of the month, Barton said.
Contact tracers are contacting those who test positive for COVID-19 to determine the source of the infection, whom the patient may have been in contact with, and where the patient has visited. Health officials are asking patients to provide this information to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
“Unfortunately, in many cases, the person who is contacted is not providing the information that is being sought,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of Riverside County Public Health. “This information is critical as we work to slow and eventually stop the spread of coronavirus. It is understandable that patients may be reluctant to discuss sensitive issues, but it is very important that this information is provided.”
Riverside County health officials encouraged Riverside County residents to take steps to slow the spread of coronavirus, like wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing and frequent hand-washing.
Coachella Valley: Cases so far
Officials reported 144 new cases and 6 new deaths in the Coachella Valley’s nine cities since Monday. Here’s the city and community breakdown, with the numbers in parentheses showing increases over the past day:
- Cathedral City: 754 cases (+21) and 6 deaths (+1)
- Coachella: 1,281 cases (+14) and 11 deaths
- Desert Hot Springs: 342 cases (+11) and 3 deaths
- Indian Wells: 22 cases and 0 deaths
- Indio: 1,622 cases (+30) and 40 deaths (+5)
- La Quinta: 352 cases (+20) and 11 deaths
- Palm Desert: 497 cases (+13) and 30 deaths
- Palm Springs: 381 cases (+15) and 16 deaths
- Rancho Mirage: 114 cases (+2) and 12 deaths
- Unincorporated communities: Bermuda Dunes: 58 cases (+4) and 1 death; Desert Edge: 19 cases and 1 death; Desert Palms: 24 cases (+1) and 1 death; Garnet: 71 cases (+1) and 0 deaths; Mecca: 197 cases (+1) and 5 deaths; North Shore: 70 cases (+2) and 1 death; Oasis: 131 cases and 0 deaths; Sky Valley: 14 cases (+2) and 0 deaths; Thermal: 83 cases (+4) and 0 deaths; Thousand Palms: 68 cases (+3) and 0 deaths; Vista Santa Rosa: 47 cases and 1 death
- State of California: 277,774 (+6,090) cases and 6,448 (+111) deaths, according to data released Tuesday.
City News Service contributed to this report.
Laine Henry is an intern at The Desert Sun. You may reach him at email@example.com
Source Palm Springs Desert Sun