Riverside County COVID Hospitalizations Near Summer Surge Peak

·2 min read

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — As rapid COVID spread continues in Riverside County, virus-related hospitalizations are nearing the summer's surge peak, but the numbers are still behind the high of one year ago, according to data released Monday by Riverside University Health System.

The data show that 595 COVID patients are currently hospitalized in Riverside County, which includes 101 people in intensive care units. The total COVID hospitalizations are up by 224 people compared to one week ago.

The figure is nearing the summer surge high when daily COVID hospitalizations hovered near 800 patients. Still, the virus-related hospitalizations are about one-third what they were a year ago, according to RUHS data.

Experts have predicted that hospitalizations will go up as the month goes on. Riverside County health officials have maintained that most of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. According to state data, unvaccinated people are 14.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than fully vaccinated people.

"If you look at the data across Southern California, we're seeing that the vast majority of individuals in hospital beds are those individuals who are unvaccinated," Orange County CEO Frank Kim told City News Service. "We know the vaccines work. Unless you have a medical reason not to be vaccinated or a religious belief prevents you from getting the vaccine, then you should (get) the vaccine. It works. And those who are vaccinated generally have milder symptoms and it keeps them out of the hospitals."

Riverside County COVID hospitalizations correlate with a steep increase in new cases. Over the last week, 11,639 new infections were reported, bringing the county's total to 404,603 cases since the pandemic began. The count does not include positive at-home COVID test results.

Daily cases are now trending higher than the summer surge. While the spike is being closely watched, health officials are more concerned with hospitalizations.

"As you get further on and the infections become less severe, it is much more relevant to focus on the hospitalizations as opposed to the total number of cases,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday.

Fauci and other federal health officials have noted that the omicron variant may cause less severe illness, and breakthrough cases in vaccinated people generally cause only mild symptoms.

Over the last week, 35 COVID deaths were reported in Riverside County, but the fatalities are trailing indicators because of delays processing death certificates and can go back weeks, according to health officials.

To date, 58.5 percent of Riverside County residents 5 and older are fully vaccinated and 22.6 percent of those 16 and older have received a booster dose. For more information on getting vaccinated, visit myturn.ca.gov

This article originally appeared on the Temecula Patch

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