Riverside County will host another free COVID-19 testing day at the Idyllwild Library from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Visit https://gettested.ruhealth.org/ to make an appointment or call 800-945-6171.

Totals for Riverside County as of Tuesday, Sep. 1. For updated numbers click here.
Image Courtesy Riverside University - Public Health

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.

As of press time on Sept. 1, Riverside County has 53,153 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There are 1,026 deaths related to COVID-19 and 44,024 people have recovered. There are 216 individuals being hospitalized and of those 68 are in the intensive care unit (ICU).

The buses that distribute Wi-Fi are parked at Idyllwild Community Playground and Camp Maranatha from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

As of press time on Aug. 25, Riverside County had 51,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There were 978 deaths related to COVID-19 and 28,407 people had recovered. There were 222 individuals being hospitalized and of those 79 were in the 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.

To date, 525,905 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.

The skilled nursing facility outreach and support (SOS) team and personnel from Vista Pacifica skilled nursing facility. The SOS teams made their 1,000th visit to a group care site. AMR EMTs Kimberly Hiner and Angela Strickland are part of the team.

The Riverside County board of supervisors unanimously approved using $4 million in CARES Act funding for the Pathways to Employment program which will recruit 500 unemployed adults impacted by the pandemic to receive work training and mentoring.

Participants will receive a stipend of $20 per hour, training and mentoring from nonprofit and government partners and supportive services including transportation, clothing, counseling and technological assistance.

For more information, please call the Housing, Homelessness Prevention and Workforce Solutions department at 951-955-1161.

The Skilled Nursing Facilities Outreach Support (or SOS) teams conducted their 1,000th visit at a licensed group living facility, providing educational training, equipment and behavioral health support, the county announced last week.

The SOS teams formed in response to a situation that occurred in early April. Employees at Magnolia Family and Rehabilitation Center did not show up to work and the facility was evacuated on April 8. It reopened on July 17.

Other counties and cities have adopted similar programs.

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 began their 2020/21 school year Aug. 31 with distance learning.

HUSD provides mobile hot spots. However, it realized that was not always adequate in the areas of Anza and Idyllwild. In response, the district now stations two buses that distribute a WiFi signal — one at Idyllwild Community Playground and the other at Camp Maranatha — from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. HUSD partnered with the Anza Community Center to bring internet access to students.

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, Aug. 21. The newspaper asked HUSD if it has or intends to apply for a waiver. We did not receive a response as of press time.


Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a color-coded, tiered system that will use two metrics to measure the coronavirus: spread rate and test positivity percentage.

The tiers are designated by four colors: purple (widespread), red (substantial), orange (moderate) and yellow (minimal with the lowest restrictions). Almost 90% of counties, according to the press release, are currently highlighted in purple, including Riverside County.

Counties must remain at each tier for a minimum of 21 days. The metrics will be tracked at www.COVID19.ca.gov.

Once a county is in the red tier for at least two weeks, schools can reopen without a waiver.

As of press time, hair salons and barbershops, and malls (at 25% capacity) are allowed to reopen. 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 and personal care services. The county said that businesses may do curbside retail, as long as there are no indoor operations.
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.

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 grantmaking community. The second filing round ends 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 serves 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 child care) for the time being. The food distribution program is still occurring. The Farmers Market is back Sundays from 9 a.m. to 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: See story on page B1.
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 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]) 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. to 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.