Desert Sun: Riverside County doubling rate slows, too soon to tell if coronavirus curve is flattening

By: and , Palm Springs Desert Sun

Published: 9:36 a.m. PT April 20, 2020

The doubling time for confirmed coronavirus cases in Riverside County is slowing, but it is still too early to tell if the case curve is flattening, according to county spokesman Jose Arballo.

Riverside County health officials Monday reported 209 new cases and 10 new virus-related deaths — doubling the number of cases from nine days prior, rising to a total of 2,847. Eighty-five people have died from complications due to the virus. Officials added that 700 people have recovered, officials added.

In early April, it took about 4.7 days for the number of cases to double.

Just 36 new cases were reported on Sunday, but that doesn’t necessarily signal a slowing in case growth overall. It could simply indicate that testing staff and capacity is lower over weekends than during the week.

Monday’s report of 209 new cases is just one fewer than April 14, when the highest number of new cases reported on a single day tallied 210.

Arballo said the county will have a better understanding about whether the curve is flattening once more test results are confirmed. The county last week made testing available to all residents, even if they don’t have symptoms. This will allow for a more accurate understanding of spread throughout the community.

Already, Riverside County is outpacing California in testing rate with 1,288 tests administered per 100,000 people as compared to 320 per 100,000 people statewide.

In total, the county has administered 30,693 tests. Over the weekend, officials reported a total of 32,779 tests conducted, though that seems to have been an overstatement; Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser tweeted Monday afternoon that “a recent review of records provided a more accurate picture of testing.”

Arballo said the discrepancy was due to duplicate records that staff found and then eliminated after a review of testing records.

The county also reported that 236 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 76 of whom are in intensive care units. The number of hospitalized patients continues to be manageable and hasn’t demanded more from the county’s 17 hospitals than they can provide, health officials said.

Riverside County officials are also offering demographic deaths by race and ethnicity. So far the breakdown of cases is: 27 White; 19 Latinx; three Asian/Pacific Islander; three Black; one Native American; two unknown. That data was last updated Friday afternoon, according to the county.

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