RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — The number of coronavirus hospitalizations in Riverside County was unchanged Thursday, while the overall case count increased by 225, and five additional deaths were attributed to complications stemming from the virus.
The numbers come as families prepare for upcoming Halloween and Día de los Muertos celebrations state officials said should "look different this year."
The Latest COVID-19 Figures
The aggregate number of COVID-19 infections recorded since the public health documentation period began in early March is 63,125, compared to 62,900 on Wednesday, according to the Riverside University Health System. The number of verified patient recoveries is 57,173.
The agency said the number of deaths tied to COVID-19 stands at 1,269.
RUHS figures show 149 people are hospitalized for virus-related treatment — unchanged from Wednesday. That number includes 42 intensive care unit patients, three less than a day ago. All COVID-19 hospitalization counts are currently at or below levels reported in April.
Officials announced Tuesday that Riverside County is at risk of being moved back into the purple tier, the most restrictive classification, under the state's public health regulation framework, because testing levels are below the threshold established for large counties and case rates are higher.
But at the county's request, the California Department of Public Health decided to leave the county as-is until a one-week review of data can be completed.
Gov. Gavin Newsom's color-coded tier system relies on testing thresholds, case positivity rates and so-called "equity" metrics to determine how a county should be classified. Riverside County moved out of the purple tier and into the less restrictive red tier last month.
The red tier allows for some indoor businesses to resume operations with limited capacities. More information is available athttps://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.
According to the CDPH, the county now has a COVID-19 per-day case count of 8.1 per 100,000 people, but that has been adjusted to 9.2 per 100,000 because testing thresholds are below what the state prefers. Generally, a jurisdiction must fall below a daily count of 7 per 100,000 to qualify for the red tier. On the other hand, the county's testing positivity rate is 5.9 percent, which is well within red tier criteria.
Halloween, Día de los Muertos Celebrations
State health officials are warning that holiday gatherings, including Halloween and Día de los Muertos festivities, increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19. On Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health released Halloween and Día de los Muertos guidance for residents, which includes "alternative celebrations" that don’t spread coronavirus.
The following are the CDPH's alternatives for Halloween parties and traditional trick-or-treating:
Online parties for costume contests or pumpkin carving
Drive-through Halloween displays or drive-in movies
Stay-at-home scary movies, candy scavenger hunts, and an in-home haunted house
Dress up in costume and go on a physically distanced walk with your household
Dress up your home or yard with Halloween decorations
The following are the CDPH's alternatives for Día de los Muertos celebrations:
Place altars outside or in a front-facing window so they can be seen from a distance
Creating virtual altars online that can be shared through email or social media
Creating altar cards that can be sent in the mail
Visit cemeteries only with your household. Wear masks and physically distance from others. Limit time spent at cemeteries.
For more low-risk activities, read CDPH’s Guidance for Safer Halloween and Dia de los Muertos Celebrations during COVID-19.
—City News Service contributed to this report.