RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Riverside County surpassed 2,000 on Wednesday as public health officials released new models that showed preventive measures seemed to be slowing the spread of the virus.
Health officials reported 144 new cases and four additional deaths, bringing the county’s totals to 2,105 cases and 54 deaths.
“Our average doubling time was previously between 4.6 to 4.7 days, which put us on a path to reach over 65,000 cases by the beginning of May,” Dr. Geoffrey Leung of the Riverside University Health System said. “However, during the past several days, we have seen a lengthening of that doubling time, and it is now at over seven days.
“This is very encouraging because it means we may be entering a period of slowing, and that we may have actually averted a major hospital surge.”
Officials now estimate that Riverside County could see less than 200 deaths and 13,000 cases by May 1 — a stark contrast to modeling released earlier this month that projected 1,000 deaths and 65,000 infections by that same date.
Leung attributed the new projections to the success of various county and state health orders imposed in an effort to limit the spread of the virus, including a statewide stay-at-home order, the closing of schools and the county’s mandatory face covering order.
However, Leung warned that easing up too early on the response to curb the spread of the virus could put the county back on track for a more devastating outcome.
“Because of what you have all done, we believe we have changed our future, and moved to a lower curve, we realize people have made big sacrifices for the health and safety of our community, and we thank you for this,” Leung said. “However, we also ask everyone to stay the course.”
Of the county’s 2,105 people who have tested positive for the illness, 416 have recovered.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)