Want to reopen Riverside County? Test for coronavirus, says officials – press enterprise


The best way Riverside County residents can help reopen the economy is to test for coronavirus, officials said on Thursday, Sept. 10, in hopes of boosting the lagging test data.

More testing could move the county to the red-tier of California’s color-coded, four-tiered reopening system, which states a state of the county. The county is currently purple, or most restrictive, tier for counties where the virus is considered widespread.

Tier counties are based on positivity rates – the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come out positive – and the daily average of new cases. As those matrices improve, counties move from purple tier to least restrictive, or yellow, tier. For example, Orange County went from purple to red Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Moving to Red will allow Riverside County restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship to resume indoor activities at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Museums, which are limited to outdoor-only activities under purple tier, can open indoors at 25% in red tier, while gyms and fitness centers in red-tier counties can open at 10% capacity.

County officials have for months urged the public whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms, in an effort to control the spread of the virus. The test allows public health officials to inform who has the virus and where it is spreading rapidly, who has COVID-19 or who comes in close contact with an infected person to prevent future infections. Huh.

However, Riverside County’s current testing rate is only 130 people per day per 100,000 residents, according to state data. It is the seventh-worst out of California’s 58 counties, exceeding only six smaller and more rural counties. The state averages about 218 people per day per 100,000 inhabitants.

It hurts the county when it comes to exiting Purple County.

Riverside County has a positivity rate of 7.8%, meeting red-tier criteria of 8% or less. But the county would have to add seven or fewer new coronovirus cases per 100,000 residents.

The county’s crude rate is 7.4 cases per 100,000 cases. But because its test volume is lower than the state average, the rate has been adjusted to 8.6 per 100,000 cases. For counties that have an above-average test volume, the case rate is adjusted downward.

“While Riverside County amounts to testing 4,000 people a day, only half the number has been tested at county and state testing sites in recent weeks,” the county news release said, adding drop to private test providers. May be partially due to the offering of antigen and antibody testing that does not factor into state testing metrics for active infection.

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