The 2020/21 school year is just around the corner and the Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) will be updating its plan in response to the governor’s press conference last Friday. 

As of press time, there are still no COVID-19-related deaths reported for the area of Idyllwild-Pine Cove and there are a total of 10 reported cases since the outbreak, according to the Riverside University Health System – Public Health (RUHS) website. 

Because Riverside County is unable to provide recovery data by area, it is unknown how many of the 10 total cases are active since the area’s first reported case on April 3. 

Courtesy Riverside University Health System - Public Health (for updates, click here.)

HUSD was set to discuss its reopening plan for the 2020/21 school year at its board meeting Tuesday, July 21. The Town Crier goes to press before the meeting so we will cover that update in next week’s edition. HUSD families received the following communication from the district over the weekend: “In light of the most recent California Department of Public Health order the District is anticipating opening the 2020-2021 school year via an online learning model. At the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting, Tuesday, July 21, the Governing Board will take action regarding the instructional model that HUSD will implement at the beginning of the new school year. Communication regarding our updated plan for the 2020-21 school year will be sent to families on Wednesday.”

As of press time on July 21, Riverside County has 30,890 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are 589 deaths related to COVID-19 and 11,058 people have recovered. There are 536 individuals being hospitalized and of those 135 are in the intensive care unit (ICU).

As of press time on July 14, Riverside County had 26,481 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There were 553 deaths related to COVID-19 and 9,893 people had recovered. There were 536 individuals being hospitalized and of those 136 were in the ICU.

As of press time on July 7, Riverside County had 21,101 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There were 506 deaths related to COVID-19 and 8,896 people had recovered. There were 518 individuals being hospitalized and of those 130 were in the ICU. 

To date, 329,415 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Riverside County, according to RUHS. The age range with the most confirmed cases is 18- to 39-year-olds. The two demographics with the highest number of cases are Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino. 

The county announced last week as the Town Crier was going to press that a “team of federal doctors and nurses are arriving at Eisenhower Health hospital Thursday [July 16] to support the facility as the hospital copes with the influx of coronavirus patients.”  

“The federal support will provide much-needed assistance to Eisenhower at a time when the entire medical system deals with the rise in coronavirus cases,” said Bruce Barton, director of the County of Riverside Emergency Management Department. “That assistance will make a difference for those who are being impacted by this virus that has taken so many lives.”

“The hospital is nearing capacity in our ICU and on our COVID-19 units,” says Alan Williamson, M.D., chief medical officer at Eisenhower Health. “Currently, we only have three more ‘staffed’ beds available in the ICU. Additionally, we are approaching 80% of bed capacity within the hospital, but are at virtually 100% of our staffing capacity. We are grateful for the support from FEMA and its Air Force Medical response team. It comes at a critical time.”

The county is urging residents and visitors to follow the state’s face covering requirement in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible. In addition to covering your face, the county also urges everyone to keep 6 feet of distance and wash their hands. The county is on the state’s COVID-19 watch list due to the increase of case numbers and hospitalizations. 

In a recent press release, Riverside County health officials reminded all residents there is still a statewide stay-at-home order. Businesses have been allowed to open only to be shut down again. 

COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 testing is available for those with or without symptoms. Testing is free and available for everyone. 

Residents can visit to schedule an appointment online or call 800-945-6171 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. to make an appointment over the phone for drive-up testing. Looking for a shorter wait time when calling to make an appointment? The county suggests calling between the hours of 5 and 10 p.m.

Riverside County hosted another one-day mobile COVID-19 testing unit at the Mountain Resource Center on Franklin Drive Tuesday, July 21. According to staff, 250 people signed up to get tested. The county hosted the first mobile testing in the area in June at the Idyllwild Library. 

State testing sites are also operational in Riverside County. To make an appointment, visit or call 888-634-1123.  

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


In addition to the closure of all bars shortly after reopening, restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms had to move business outdoors, and if unable, close their businesses once again.

Restaurants and other businesses may still do takeout but are not permitted to have indoor dining. 

Additional restrictions recently implemented include fitness centers and gyms, worship services, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, hair salons and barbershops, and malls.

The county said that these businesses may do curb-side retail, as long as there are no indoor operations. 

In a recent press release the county wrote that it “has experienced a steady rise in confirmed cases, hospitalizations and patients requiring intensive care dating back to Memorial Day.” 

“As we struggle with national laboratory issues artificially depressing new case counts, people need to realize we’re far from being out of the woods,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “Summer heat isn’t stopping COVID-19, but for some of these sectors, the heat means there may be no good way to do them outdoors. We need to reduce the impact on our hospitals by reducing transmission, and as long as the numbers keep rising, the state’s need to reimpose restrictions will keep rising too.”

Riverside County has been able to keep the following open as of press time: investment properties for short-term rentals, destination retail stores including swap meets, casinos, hotels (for tourism and individual travel), racetracks, campgrounds and outdoor recreation. 

As a reminder, youth sports are still not permitted. 

For more information on state guidance, visit Visit for modifications and other measures encouraged by the county to keep employees, customers and clients safe. 

Small business grant funding 

Between now and Aug. 31, sole proprietors and those small businesses that received the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan or advance are now eligible for the second round of funding (up to $10,000) provided to small businesses that have been impacted during the coronavirus pandemic, the county explained in a press release. “The first round of funding for the small business program resulted in $7.3 million that will be distributed to 738 small businesses in Riverside County.” 

Funding is limited and not available to “businesses that have received federal funding through the Paycheck Protection Program. Awardees must also develop and implement a safe reopening plan that addresses employee and customer health prior to disbursement.” 

For information on how to apply, visit, and for questions, email [email protected] or call 951-955-0493.

Food assistance

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

Riverside County created the Courtesy Pantry program to serve seniors and adults with disabilities who are unable to get food for themselves at this time. This program is available to those 60 years of age and over and adults with disabilities. You must live in Riverside County. Call 951-867-3895 to see if you qualify. 

Behavioral health

For those in need of behavioral health assistance, you may utilize a computer and smartphone app called 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).

Staying cool 

Riverside County opened cooling centers with modifications to accommodate coronavirus safety guidelines. For a list of cooling center locations, visit

Local entities update

Art Walk & Wine Tasting: The event has been canceled. 

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

Hemet Unified School District: The district sent out a mass communication to parents and guardians after Gov. Gavin Newsom released new information regarding school operations Friday that it anticipates opening the school year with online education only.

Idyllwild Area Historical Society: This year’s Home Tour is canceled, and the museum remains closed. 

Idyllwild Community Center: ICC has closed all of its programs (including sports, senior fitness and childcare) for the time being. The food distribution program is still occurring. The Farmers Market is back Sundays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. outside at Town Hall, 25925 Cedar Street. 

Idyllwild Fire Protection District: The front office is open to the public.  

Idyllwild HELP Center and Thrift store: Check their Facebook page for updates.

Idyllwild Library: The library is open for express service only. The express service hours for Idyllwild Library are Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to noon. 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 

Idyllwild Pharmacy: The pharmacy is open. A face mask is required. Check the Idyllwild Pharmacy Facebook page for updates on hours. 

Idyllwild Shuttle: The current schedule is as follows: Door-to-Door service from Pine Cove to Mountain Center is provided Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call the day you need a ride. There is transportation to Palm Desert and Palm Springs on Mondays via Mountain Center. Transportation to Hemet via Mountain Center is provided on Wednesdays. To get transportation to the food share at Mountain Center on Thursdays, meet at the HELP Center at noon. Reservations are required. Call 951-426-9688 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you are utilizing the shuttle, a face mask and hand sanitation is required. Off-Hill transportation is for medical appointments only. 

Idyllwild Summer Concert Series: The outdoor musical series is on hold through July, pending changes to state and county recommendations for such gatherings.

Idyllwild Town Crier: The office is closed to the public. For advertising information, contact Lisa Streeter ([email protected]) or Mandy Johnson ([email protected]) and for editorial questions contact Melissa Diaz Hernandez ([email protected]). Newspapers will be available to purchase in front of the new Town Crier office at 54391 Village Center Drive Suite #5, Idyllwild Pharmacy, Mountain Center and Pine Cove markets and at Village and Fairway markets, Mountain Top Liquor, the Idyllwild Chevron and Shell stations, and Lake Hemet Market.

Idyllwild Water District: Call 951-659-2143 for updates on office hours. 

Pine Cove Water District: The district’s office is closed to the public until further notice.

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.  

State parks: Visit for updated information.