RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Riverside County health officials reported 132 more cases of the novel coronavirus and nine additional virus-related fatalities, bringing the number of deaths to 50.

The county has now reported 1,751 total cases of COVID-19 with 297 patients recovering from the illness — an increase of 103, the largest single-day bump recorded since officials began releasing the figure.

While the county’s infection rate has been keeping pace with predictions, local health officials said that rate of increase might begin to slow in the coming weeks, reflecting a pattern seen in other parts of the country.

“We hope to see some progress, but our modeling is still playing out,” Dr. Michael Mesisca, an emergency medical physician at Riverside University Health System, said Friday. “We hear of other places where the positive (infection) rates are coming down, such as New York. We hope to see that here.”

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Mesisca said the so-called “doubling rate,” in which COVID-19 cases increase 100% every five days, has so far proven accurate countywide, and he maintained the county’s position that a “surge” may yet max out the available hospital bed capacity — roughly 1,500 beds — before the end of the month.

However, he said that “a million small decisions” by residents would save lives and help arrest the spread of the virus.

Department of Public Health Director Kim Saruwatari said Friday that about 18,000 county residents have been tested for COVID-19, though that figure does not incorporate private testing at doctors’ offices and other locations.

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And starting Tuesday, the fourth county-run testing site will open at the Perris Fairgrounds. The location will be staffed Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

The county’s other three locations are at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, The Diamond in Lake Elsinore and Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside.

Appointments must be made in advance by calling 800-945-6171.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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