As of press time, there are a total of 22 reported COVID-19 cases since the outbreak and one death reported for the area of Idyllwild-Pine Cove, according to the Riverside University Health System – Public Health (RUHS) website. That is two more cases than the newspaper reported before it went to press last week.

Totals for Riverside County as of Tuesday, Aug. 25. For updated numbers click here.
Image Courtesy Riverside University - Public Health

As of press time on Aug. 25, Riverside County has 51,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are 978 deaths related to COVID-19 and 28,407 people have recovered. There are 222 individuals being hospitalized and of those 79 are in the intensive care unit (ICU).

As of press time on Aug. 18, Riverside County had 48,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There were 913 deaths related to COVID-19 and 25,505 people had recovered. There were 300 individuals being hospitalized and of those 89 were in the ICU.

As of press time on Aug. 11, Riverside County had 43,376 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There were 824 deaths related to COVID-19 and 22,381 people had recovered. There were 358 individuals being hospitalized and of those 112 were in the ICU.

To date, 495,955 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 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.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order Monday that “increases the income-eligibility threshold for the Community Service Block Grant program to support economic and community development efforts in response to the pandemic, and waives certain requirements under state law so that additional Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding made available under the CARES Act can be used to maximize direct assistance to Californians most in need.

“In addition, the order waives a time limit to allow individuals to continue receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) benefits; permits the Franchise Tax Board to share tax return information with the Department of Social Services, to inform individuals of CARES Act “Recovery Rebates” available to them; and increases the health care capacity of home health agencies and pediatric day health and respite care facilities.”

COVID-19 testing

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

Residents can visit www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus/testing 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.

State testing sites are also operational in Riverside County. To make an appointment, visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting or call 888-634-1123.

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

Schools update

The Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) began the school year Aug. 17 fully online. Idyllwild Arts Academy (IAA) students will begin the 2020/21 school year Aug. 31 with distance learning.

Riverside County public and private schools, kindergarten through sixth grade, may now apply for a waiver to conduct in-person education, the county announced Friday. Waivers can be obtained on the RUHS website and are necessary because the county is on the state’s watch list.

“The biggest predictor of school spread is community spread, and although we’re still finding new cases of COVID-19, our case rate has dropped enough where we can consider elementary school waivers,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer. “However, the waiver process won’t be a rubber stamp and elementary schools will be required to publicly demonstrate they have the pieces in place to operate safely or they won’t be approved. We want exposures to be rare and, should an exposure occur, for the school to show they can handle it without putting others at risk.” The applications will be reviewed by Kaiser.

The county must be off the watch list for 14 days before schools and school districts may reopen without a waiver, according to the press release.

The county also reminds everyone that the state’s threshold for schools to apply for waivers allowing for in-person instruction is 200 cases per 100,000 residents. Riverside County is currently at 170 cases per 100,000 residents, as of the announcement.

“Adapting to virtual learning has been a challenge for everyone, and I applaud all the teachers, parents and students for their continued commitment to education during this pandemic,” said Vice Chair Karen Spiegel, second district supervisor. “Now that we’re meeting state metrics, the schools and districts that wish to apply for in-person instruction now have the opportunity to do so, while ensuring proper safeguards for the children and staff.”

Reopening

As of press time, bars remain closed. Restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms must move business outdoors, and if unable, close once again. Restaurants and other businesses may still do takeout but are not permitted to have indoor dining. Restrictions have also been placed on the following: fitness centers and gyms, worship services, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, hair salons and barbershops, and malls. The county said that businesses may do curb-side retail, as long as there are no indoor operations.

Youth sports are allowed as of Aug. 3 and can take place only when two criteria are met: physical/social distancing (6 feet) is observed and groups play in a stable cohort, meaning that the team participants remain the same. Competitions, including games and tournaments, are not allowed, according to the county’s press release.

For more information on state guidance, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/. Visit www.RivCoBiz.org 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.

Businesses that received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program are not eligible. For information on how to apply, visit https://rivcoccsd.org/covidbizhelp, and for questions, email [email protected] or call 951-955-0493.

Grants for artists
The Art Alliance of Idyllwild shared some additional grant information for artists.

CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund, Inc.) provides a one-time $1,000 grant to artists working in craft disciplines who are facing food, housing and medical insecurities caused by the pandemic. Priority will be given to eligible artists who have traditionally been underserved by the grant-making community. The second filing round is from Aug. 19 to Sept 9. Visit https://cerfplus.org/cerf-covid-19-relief-grant/ for details.

Food assistance
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.
HUSD will serve students supper, lunch and breakfast at no charge for students enrolled at Hamilton School, Hamilton High School, Idyllwild School, Academy of Innovation and Hemet High. Meal kits are distributed Mondays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and will contain breakfast, lunch and supper for three days. Only attend the site to which your student is assigned and have the meal card ready.

Behavioral health
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).

Local entities update

Art Walk & Wine Tasting: The event has been canceled.
Fern Valley Water District: The office is still closed to the public.
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 by appointment.
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 http://www.rivlib.info.

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 Songwriter Festival: The festival, originally scheduled for Sept. 25 to 27, has been canceled.

Idyllwild Summer Concert Series: The outdoor musical series has been canceled.

Idyllwild Town Crier: The office is open to the public by telephone only. For advertising information, contact Lisa Streeter ([email protected]) or Mandy Johnson ([email protected]ier.com) 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: The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Pine Cove Water District: The office is closed to the public indefinitely. Staff is on site weekdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival: This was scheduled for Feb. 12 to 21, 2021, and has been canceled.

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 www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve for updated information.