Riverside County hit a major mark during the coronavirus pandemic as officials reported a total of 1,007 COVID-19 related deaths on Friday.
Health officials reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 additional virus-related deaths on Friday.
Of those new cases, 22 were in the Coachella Valley, but none of the deaths were from here. The region’s nine cities and 11 unincorporated communities have accounted for 300 deaths in Riverside County — or 31% of the total — even though these communities have less than 18% of the county’s population.
There have been a total of 51,860 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county.
Riverside County, with about 2.5 million people, is the fourth most-populous county in California, but it continues to record the second-highest number of cases and deaths in the state, behind Los Angeles County, which has surpassed 230,000 cases.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday new state guidelines to reopen certain businesses and operations. Riverside County currently is in the purple or “widespread” tier, which means most non-essential business operations are closed or limited to outdoor operations.
Riverside County has an overall 10.2% positivity rate. The state’s guidelines advise that each county should strive to have a positivity rate under 8%.
County officials on Friday also reported that 223 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized, three less than Thursday. Of those, 82 are in intensive care units, one more than the day before.
According to Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari, nearly two-thirds of all deaths coded as COVID-19 have been correlated to underlying conditions, principally chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease.
Health officials remind residents that while COVID-19 has been slowing in Riverside County, the virus remains active as more than 1,000 residents have died from it. Taking simple actions like wearing a face covering, keeping distance from others and washing hands frequently will slow the spread and provide up to 95% protection.
The first coronavirus-related death in Riverside County was reported March 15 – an Indio resident in his late 70s. The youngest was a 19-year-old woman from Riverside. The oldest deaths were found in two 104-year-old Riverside County residents, including a man from Riverside and female from Mecca.
“It is so important to remember that these numbers are people, Riverside County residents who have families; they are our neighbors, friends, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of the Riverside County Public Health Department. “In many cases, the tragedy of their deaths was compounded by the circumstances brought on by the virus itself.”
About 53% of the county’s COVID-19 cases are among people under age 40. The cases, according to health officials, are broken down by age of the patient:
- 884 cases (1.8%) are among people ages 0 to 4
- 3,871 cases (7.7%) are among people ages 5 to 17
- 21,805 cases (43.7%) are among people ages 18 to 39
- 18,083 cases (36.3%) are among people ages 40 to 64
- 3,831 cases (7.7%) are among people ages 65 to 79
- 1,412 cases (2.8%) are among people 80 years or older.
Deaths, according to data from health officials, are also being broken down by age:
- 0 deaths (0%) are among people ages 0 to 17
- 5 deaths (0.5%) are among people ages 18 to 24
- 46 deaths (4.6%) are among people ages 25-44
- 252 deaths (25.1%) are among people ages 45-64
- 481 deaths (48.5%) are among people ages 65-84
- 213 deaths (21.3%) are among people 85 years or older.
“Every death due to COVID-19 is a tragedy,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “One way we can honor their memory is to do what we can to prevent COVID-19, so that other families won’t suffer the same loss these families have. Even though most people with COVID-19 will survive, these people are indisputably casualties. We have to take this virus seriously.”