Home / Health / Riverside County surpasses 20,000 coronavirus cases. That shouldn’t happen yet

Riverside County surpasses 20,000 coronavirus cases. That shouldn’t happen yet

Even when fireworks exploded in celebratory lights on July 4, news from Riverside County’s Coronavirus test sites dampened the holiday: The county passed 20,000 coronavirus cases on Saturday, a few days before expected.

By Tuesday the number had increased to 21,101 cases, with 546 cases and 20 new deaths added on that day alone.

Christine Langenwalter, Chief Quality Officer at the Desert Regional Medical Center, attributes much of the fall jump to summer gatherings and celebrations that took place prior to the vacation last weekend.

“Easter was one of the first holidays, but we were all looking for protection. We had masks and didn̵

7;t see a big bump at all. On Mother’s Day we saw a milder slope. But what hit us really hard is after Memorial Day, ”she said.

After some residents of Riverside County gathered with friends for Memorial Day, the phenomenon of socializing seemed to dominate: the number of cases related to Father’s Day gatherings and closing ceremonies continued to increase.

But that was not all. At the end of May and June, nail studios, places of worship, restaurants and gyms were opened, the district spokeswoman Brooke Federico said.

“People just go to more places in the community, whether it’s parks, businesses, or other types of community events,” said Federico, noting that the behavior made the county a prime place for contagion.

Now the total cases in Riverside County are second only to Los Angeles County. About 870 out of 100,000 people have been infected in Riverside.

These statistics caught Governor Gavin Newsom’s attention and led to his July 2 order, which closed all Riverside County bars for indoor and outdoor guests. The regulation, which applies at least until July 22, also prohibited indoor use in all restaurants, cinemas and museums.

Hospitals in the county reached 99% capacity in their intensive care units at the end of June and remained at 90% in early July. Although hospitals reported that they could accommodate some patients in surge beds, they feared that the staff would be too thin to accommodate much more. The state-prescribed nursing rates do not allow more than two intensive care patients per nurse.

The Desert Regional Medical Center, which typically employs just under 1,000 full-time and part-time nurses, has added 50 to 60 additional traveling nurses to increase the number of staff over the next few weeks.

“We are constant at around 120% of our intensive capacity. That just means we went into some overflow areas, ”said Langenwalter. “It’s like a gigantic chessboard – depending on the patient’s need for care, we constantly move people around to best gather them.”

Hospital officials fear that cases related to July 4th celebrations will put extreme strain on hospitals. Due to the COVID-19 incubation period, Langenwalter said the impact of the vacation will become apparent in the next 14 days.

“I am concerned that we have seen a fairly significant increase in the number of hospital patients in the past few weeks. And that’s just a reflection of what’s going on in the community. They add that in addition to a holiday weekend and family celebrations or parties and things like that, ”she said. “We may see a different trend that is even higher than what we are feeling right now.”

Her concern is not just about the near future: “Everyone in healthcare is wondering what will happen in the fall if the influenza bug collides with the coronavirus bug,” she said.

As people get infected at parties and other social events, the average coronavirus patient has become younger and younger. While the majority of infected people had previously been over the age of 40, Federico said that the county now covers more cases of patients between the ages of 18 and 39. An increase in cross-household social gatherings could contribute to this trend, she said.

Although many young patients recover easily without existing illnesses, the average hospital age is also falling. Langenwalter has observed the average inpatient age during the pandemic, which increased from 64 in March and April to 60 in May and June. In the first days of July, the average age dropped back to 58 years.

“In March when this started, I didn’t have one [inpatients] that was in her teenage years or 20s. Only one in her thirties, ”she said. In June, the hospital treated 21 coronavirus patients aged teenagers and 20 years old.

The corona virus was also the most devastating for the Latino community in Riverside County. About 70% of the people who tested positive for the corona virus were Latinos, taking into account the test subjects who reported ethnicity. Across the county, 50% of the population are Latinos.

According to Federico, district officials have carried out bilingual education and advertising campaigns to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the Latino community.

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, Federico emphasizes that people must continue to take security measures.

“Additional research has come out [showing] that three simple behaviors – wearing a face covering, washing our hands frequently, and being two meters away from people we don’t live with – can reduce the spread of the disease by 95%, ”she said.

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