Riverside University Health System (RUHS) is still reporting three confirmed COVID-19 cases for Idyllwild-Pine Cove. The number has not increased since April 6 when the number jumped from one to two. The first confirmed case in Idyllwild-Pine Cove was April 3. 

As of April 21 at 1 p.m., Riverside County has 2,960 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Ninety-three people have died and 757 people have recovered. Two-hundred-forty individuals are being hospitalized and of those 72 are in ICU.

Data provided by Riverside University Health System as of 1 p.m. April 21. 
Date courtesy of Riverside University Health System

As of April 14 at 1 p.m., Riverside County had 1,961 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Fifty people had died and 376 people had recovered. 

As of April 7 at 1 p.m., the county had 1,016 confirmed cases, 28 deaths with 67 individuals having recovered. 

To date, 31,928 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Riverside County, according to RUHS. The age range with the most confirmed cases in the county is still those between the ages of 40 and 64. 

Specialized teams consisting of personnel from American Medical Response and other healthcare partners were deployed throughout the county last week to “educate and equip employees at licensed care facilities throughout Riverside County,” according to a press release issued April 14 by the county. This is in response to having to relocate 84 patients from a Riverside skilled nursing facility after employees did not show up to work for two consecutive days. 

“There has been so much incorrect information that has spread that many employees in these facilities are scared to show up for work,” said Kim Saruwatari, director of public health. “Information is power and by providing these employees with accurate information about how COVID-19 is and is not spread, they will be confident when they report to work.”

The county is now allowing drive-up religious services to occur. The order was amended April 17. The county asks that social distancing be maintained, people stay in their vehicles and do not interact with others. The county had previously allowed drive-up services for Easter weekend only. 

On Thursday, a Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy was having a conversation with an individual just off of Highway 243. When the Town Crier received the photo, it sent the photo over to Capt. Leonard Purvis of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Hemet Station to let him know that deputies are not following the county order and this is after dozens of sheriff department personnel have tested positive and two deputies have died as a result of COVID-19. Purvis thanked the newspaper for sending the photo to him and was going to have a discussion with personnel.  
Photo by James Sales

As of Monday, April 20, the county is allowing non-contact outdoor activities (with restrictions) such as golf, tennis, equestrian activities, hiking, biking and pickleball in a revised order that had previously closed golf courses to aid in containing the spread of COVID-19. 

Under this revised order, social distancing must be maintained and face coverings must be worn at all times. Large gatherings are prohibited until June 20. The county still prohibits the use of picnic tables, playgrounds, team sports or other similar public events and gatherings, according to the April 20 press release. Additional restrictions for golf include: Play shall be limited to foursomes that will be required to observe social distancing (six feet separation between players at all times) and no caddies. 

“After consulting with public health officials and local leadership, we have made modifications for golf and other forms of recreational activity, such as use of parks, trails and outdoor areas for hiking, biking, pickleball and tennis to resume,” said Riverside County Board of Supervisors Chair V. Manuel Perez, who represents the fourth district. “With proper safety guidelines, our residents can benefit from healthy activities that promote physical exercise, wellness and behavioral health so long as physical distancing is practiced. We will continue to listen and base decisions on thorough review, best practices, data and science.”

Riverside County Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington, who represents the area of Idyllwild, is still urging tourists to stay away from Idyllwild. In a statement released Friday, Washington said, “I was deeply disturbed to learn that people blatantly defied the state and county Stay-at-Home orders last weekend and risked the health and safety of Idyllwild residents. I’ve asked Sheriff [Chad] Bianco to pay extra attention to the mountain areas this weekend and be on the lookout for non-essential visitors.”

On Sunday, there were two Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies positioned on both sides of Highway 243 near The Fort. 


An order was issued by the county’s Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser stating that people could be fined or arrested for public congregations of any size and for not wearing a face covering. This order runs through April 30.   

“This is a valid order and enforceable by fine, imprisonment or both,” said Bianco in a message he posted on social media. “However, I need to make it perfectly clear to all residents of Riverside County. We will not be setting up any type of police state and this is not a declaration of martial law in Riverside County. Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies will not be stopping vehicles or setting checkpoints for motorists. We will not be stopping you while on a walk with your kids or while you’re out running or hiking.”  

If you see nonessential businesses operating at this time, you are able to report them to the county. Complaints should be made to the email address [email protected], 951-351-6866 or the RivCoMobile App. The county asks that you have detailed information on the location. The county also banned short-term lodging until June 19 unless it is being used to contain and mitigate COVID-19. 

COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 testing has been expanded to those without symptoms. In a press release issued Friday, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer, said “The modification of the testing criteria will allow anyone who wants to be tested the opportunity to see whether they have the illness. Officials have said expanded testing — for those with and without symptoms — will give health experts a better idea of the extent of the illness in Riverside County.”

Residents need to call 800-945-6171 to make an appointment over the phone for testing at all five locations — Coachella Valley, Harvest Christian Fellowship church in Riverside, Perris Fairgrounds, Blythe Fairgrounds and Lake Elsinore. Those seeking tests at the Lake Elsinore location are encouraged to use the website https://www.projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19/ for appointments but may use the above-mentioned phone number. 

The newspaper reached out to county health to find out how far out appointments were being made before we went to print two weeks ago. Several people contacted the newspaper saying it was taking two weeks to get tested. We still have not heard back. 

Hemet Global Medical Center opened the first private COVID-19 drive-up testing site in Riverside County. You can make an appointment by calling 951-765-4757. 

Local entities update

ARF: The annual Paws for Rhythm and Brews craft beer festival has been canceled. The event was set to take place early June. 

Fern Valley Water District: The office is closed to the public. 

Idyllwild 5k/10k: This year’s race has been canceled. Next year’s race has been scheduled for June 12, 2021. Idyllwild Community Center: ICC has closed all of its programs (including sports, senior fitness and childcare) for the time being.

Idyllwild Fire Protection District: The front office is closed to the general public, but all administrative operations will stay the same, such as building permits and inspections. The district is operating business as usual. When responding to calls where patients exhibit COVID-19 and flu-like symptoms, personnel will be using personal protective equipment. The patient will be handed a mask to put on themselves and personnel will then evaluate the patient in the back of the ambulance. If personnel need to go inside a residence, they will limit the length of time they are inside. 

Idyllwild HELP Center and Thrift store: The thrift store is closed until April 30 and not accepting donations at this time. Check their Facebook page for updates.

Idyllwild Library: The library is closed to the public until April 30. All online services are still up and running. Staff are available for Live Chat or Ask a Librarian reference from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday through the Riverside County Library System website at http://www.rivlib.info. Branches are currently not answering phones. All books currently checked out are being automatically renewed through at least April 30. 

Idyllwild Pharmacy: Contact the pharmacy at 961-659-2135 or by sending an email to [email protected] to request prescriptions or over-the-counter items. Check the Idyllwild Pharmacy Facebook page for updates on hours. 

Idyllwild Town Crier: The newspaper is still open, but our office is closed to the public. Printing, faxing and all in-person services are on hold until our office can reopen. For advertising information, contact Lisa Streeter ([email protected]) or Mandy Johnson ([email protected]) and for editorial questions contact Melissa Diaz Hernandez ([email protected]). We’re answering the main phone line at 951-659-2145 during regular business hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Newspapers will be available to purchase from a newsstand at our office at 54405 N. Circle Dr. and at Village and Fairway markets. Members will continue to receive the newspaper by mail.

Idyllwild Water District: The district’s office is closed to the public.  

Pine Cove Water District: The district’s office is closed. 

Riverside County offices: Most county buildings are closed to in-person visits. County government will continue to perform the vital services relied upon by residents and visitors. Visit county department websites or call for assistance on how to complete requests online, over the phone or through the mail. 

State parks: All campgrounds, museums and visitors centers are closed and all events are canceled until further notice. Some parks are closed, including parking. All vehicle access is closed for all remaining parks. 

Grocery store supplier delivery schedules

(There have been delivery delays, so please be patient.)

Fairway Market: Dry goods, meats, deli, frozen food, paper goods and candy are delivered on Tuesdays but will be Thursday this week. Wine, FritoLay and eggs are delivered on Wednesdays. Meats, bread, milk and organic foods are delivered on Fridays. Produce is delivered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Village Market: Produce is delivered Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Meat is delivered on Wednesdays and Fridays. Everything else is delivered on Fridays.


Restaurant Gastrognome and Café Aroma are closed until further notice. 

All the following restaurants and food purveyors will be doing to-go orders: Coyote Red’s, Candy Cupboard, Ferro, Fratello’s, Idyllwild Brewpub, Idy Sushi Roll, Idyllwild Ice Cream & Jerky, Idyllwild Pizza Company, La Casita, The Lumber Mill, Tommy’s Kitchen, Mamma Mia Crepes & Desserts, Mile High Cafe, Mountain Center Cafe and The Red Kettle. 


Hemet Unified School District: (Information updated as of press time.) 

The county has ordered schools to be shut down through June 19. This closure includes all extra-curricular activities, afterschool programs and district-sponsored events during this time. Visit the district website (https://www.hemetusd.org/) for updates.


Hemet Unified School District is providing guidance with supplementary resources, digital and non-digital (work packets that can be picked up with the lunch/breakfast), that can be used at home to review and reinforce knowledge and skills learned this school year. Students and families will not be required to use these resources but are welcome to do so. Visit hemetlearnstogether.org. Teachers have now set up video conferencing software to communicate with students for distance learning.


During district closure, Nutrition Services will provide breakfast and lunch meals free of charge to children 18 years of age and under. Breakfast and lunch will be served Wednesdays only from 9-10:30 a.m. You will receive 10 meals (breakfast and lunch) per child for the week. It is a drive/walk-thru type of meal service. For those driving, HUSD asks that you stay in your car and meals will be provided for each child present. If you have students at multiple schools, you only need to visit one location. Children need to be present to get their meals.