Riverside County COVID-19 data as of May 12. Data provided by Riverside University Health System. Image courtesy of Riverside University Health System

t week in the Idyllwild-Pine Cove area by the Riverside University Health System (RUHS) website, bringing the total to four cases in the area since the initial case was reported on April 3. 

As of press time May 12, Riverside County has 5,248 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are 225 deaths related to COVID-19 and 2,911 people have recovered. There are 185 individuals being hospitalized and of those 69 are in ICU.

As of May 5, Riverside County had 4,454 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There were 184 deaths related to COVID-19 and 1,997 people had recovered. There were 215 individuals being hospitalized and of those 75 were in ICU.

As of April 28, Riverside County had 3,735 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of those, 141 people had died and 1,303 people had recovered. Two-hundred-twenty individuals were being hospitalized and of those 73 were in ICU.

To date, 75,069 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. 

Retail businesses such as florists, toy shops, bookstores, jewelry stores, clothing stores, shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, antique stores and music stores in Riverside County are now allowed by the State of California to have curb-side pickup. Visit https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/ for the list of businesses. 

“Supply chains supporting these businesses, in manufacturing and logistical sectors may also operate. The county is not placing additional restrictions determining which businesses may operate in the governor’s reopening phase that starts tomorrow [May 8]. Seating in restaurants will not be allowed, nor other in-house services such as beauty salons and barber shops, accordance with the state,” the county’s press release explains. (See the story on A1 about the Riverside County Supervisors’ vote to use the state’s guidelines instead of those issued by Riverside County Public Health Officer Cameron Kaiser.)

According to the state’s covid19.ca.gov the following are not permitted to operate at this time:

Personal services such as hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness studios

Hospitality services, such as bars, wineries, tasting rooms and lounges

Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming facilities, and pro sports Indoor museums, kids’ museums and gallery spaces, zoos and libraries

Community centers, public pools, playgrounds and picnic areas

Religious services and cultural ceremonies


Concert venues

Live audience sports


Theme parks

Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism

The governor is using six key health and scientific indicators that will be considered before modifying the state’s Stay-at-Home order to allow additional Stage 2 activity. Those six indicators are:

The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;

The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;

The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;

The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;

The ability for businesses, schools, and childcare facilities to support physical distancing; and

The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.

Riverside County is encouraging seniors to run their air conditioners as temperatures reach triple digits. The county said that those who reach out to Office of Aging will be able to receive assistance in paying for their utility bills. The cooling centers are not open due to restrictions imposed by efforts to decrease the spread of COVID-19. Seniors are also encouraged to call 2-1-1 if they are without an air conditioner to see if assistance can be provided.  

For those needing to connect with food resources, visit https://rivcoph.org/coronavirus and select “Food Access” at the top right for a county map directing you to food pantries, senior and school meals. 

For those in need of behavioral health assistance, you may utilize a computer and smartphone app called TakeMyHand.co. You may also contact 2-1-1 or call the behavioral health CARES line at 800-706-7500. A 24/7 free, confidential crisis or suicide intervention service can be reached at 951-686-HELP (4357).

Riverside County launched an economic recovery task force that is expected to be in place for 18 months to provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on restarting the local economy.

“Representing each of the five supervisorial districts and regions of the county, the task force draws upon the established business expertise and resources from local chambers of commerce, tourism bureaus, industry leaders and public sector partners,” a press release from the county stated. “County staff members from the Economic Development Department and Transportation and Land Management Agency will work alongside the task force to support the critically important objectives of the task force.”

The county revised the guidance for community pools for clarification. 

“The guidelines were developed by the Department of Environmental Health with input from Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer, and applies to pools and spas at apartment complexes and those operated by homeowners’ associations,” the press release issuing the new guidelines stated. 

“Health officials emphasized these are guidelines and not requirements for community pool operators.”

• Six feet separation should be implemented, and swimmers should limit themselves to lanes.

• No large groups or pool parties. Residents of the same household may swim together.

• Lounge chairs and/or tables should be properly distanced. If they cannot be distanced, they should be secured and stored.

• Residents should wear a cloth face covering when traveling through common areas of the property where it may not be possible to maintain physical distancing, including to and from the pool, barbeque area and shared restrooms. 

• Residents should bring hand sanitizer or it should be provided by pool operator.

• Operators should frequently check shared restrooms to ensure they are stocked with hand soap and paper towels.

• Operators should use scheduled time slots on the busiest days.

• Operators should close the spa or limit use to 1 person or household at a time (post signage).

• Create a written disinfection plan that identifies frequently touched surfaces, a schedule, and designated person to complete disinfection tasks.

• Use an EPA-approved disinfectant on commonly touched surfaces, including but not limited to gate, latch, tables, chairs, drinking fountain, pool handrails and countertops and in shared restrooms, door handles, light switches, faucets, latches and dispensers. 

• Post signage reminding residents to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes, and to avoid the pool area if they are experiencing symptoms of illness including a fever of 100 F or above, sore throat, runny nose, chills, not feeling well, sneezing, coughing, abdominal pain or diarrhea.

The press release also stated the following: “Safe water, sanitation and hygiene are essential to protecting human health during disease outbreaks. There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and spas, however, maintaining good chlorine levels in our community pools may help to prevent its spread.”

Visit http://www.rivcoeh.org/OurServices/PoolsSpasWaterFeatures for more information.  

Riverside County sent out the following warning to those who receive cash aid, CalFresh and Medi-Cal benefits: “State and county public social services officials are warning about a fake letter circulating on social media that falsely claims customers must be tested for 

COVID-19 to continue receiving benefits such as cash aid, CalFresh and Medi-Cal.

“The letter bearing the seal of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) also falsely claims that children will be removed from parents who test positive for COVID-19 and placed into foster care. Riverside County, state and county health services departments will never ask about health status in connection to an application for benefits. Children will not be removed from parents who happen to test positive for the coronavirus or COVID-19.”

Anyone with helpful information about the source of the letter is asked to contact CDSS at 916-651-8848 or [email protected]

If you need to apply for benefits such as cash aid, food and medical assistance, visit C4Yourself.com or call the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) Customer Service Center at 877-410-8827.

COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 testing has been expanded to those without symptoms and the county is encouraging teens and young adults to get tested. 

“According to census data, those 18 and under make up about 25% of Riverside County’s population, but that group has made up only 6.6% of the testing appointments at the county’s coronavirus testing sites,” according to the county’s press release.

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 (state testing site) location are encouraged to use the website https://www.projectbaseline.com/study/covid-19/ for appointments but may use the above-mentioned phone number. 

More state testing sites are operational in Riverside County. To make an appointment, visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting or call 888-634-1123. Testing is available for everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status, and is no cost to the resident, according to the May 5 press release. The eight additional state testing locations are in Perris (two), Norco, Mecca, Riverside, Beaumont, Desert Hot Springs and Hemet. 

“Testing is for everyone, regardless of immigration status, and it is free. I encourage everyone to make an appointment, get tested and help our county and state continue to make progress on this crucial aspect of our coronavirus efforts,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.

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. 

Fern Creek Medical Center in Idyllwild now offers a COVID-19 antibody test.

Local entities update

Fern Valley Water District: The office is closed to the public. The Friday, May 15 board of directors meeting will be by teleconference. 

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: Check their Facebook page for updates.

Idyllwild Library: The library is closed to the public. 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 June 7 and will continue to be renewed as needed so no late fees incur. The library is not accepting any book returns and will not accept any items left on the curb. Book donations have been suspended until the library reopens. 

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.

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

Lake Hemet Campground: Day use and RV camping allowed as of May 1. Visit https://lakehemetrecreation.com/ for guidelines. 

Pine Cove Water District: The district’s office is closed. The May 13 board of directors meeting was rescheduled to May 20 at 10 a.m.

Riverside County offices: Visit county department websites or call for updates and assistance on how to complete requests online, over the phone or through the mail. 

Riverside County Parks: Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District (RivCoParks) Regional parks, trails and open-space areas are open for day use activities. Sports parks, nature centers, event centers and historic sites remain closed to the public. 

State parks: Visit www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve for a list of closures. Online learning resources are also available for K-12 students. 

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 Manzanita Cantina and Grill are closed until further notice. 

All the following restaurants and food purveyors will be doing to-go orders: Café Aroma, 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, Manzanita Cantina & Grill, Mile High Cafe, Mountain Center Cafe and The Red Kettle. 

Internet access for students 

Charter Communications began offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access through June 30 to households with teachers, K-12 and/or college students utilizing remote education. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. 

Hemet Unified School District: 

The county has ordered K-12 schools to be shut down through June 19. 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 bagged 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.