On Monday, Dec. 13, new statewide California mask mandates in indoor public places were announced as in effect from Wednesday, Dec. 15 to Jan. 15. As of press time, it was not clear how these mandatory measures apply to restaurants. Are restaurants exceptions? Or does the mandate apply to restaurants only until customers reach their tables? Or does it mean that restaurants may seat customers outdoors only? None of this is clear.
The Town Crier contacted the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) asking for clarification, and on Monday night, CDPH replied, “We are working on you[r] inquiry and will get back to you as soon as we can.” The Town Crier will report further mask mandate details once they have been ascertained.
As of Tuesday morning, the Dashboard of the Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) reported recently confirmed cases (last two weeks) of COVID at Idyllwild School as being one student and one staff member, i.e., 0.65% of its combined student/staff population and one student more than last week. At Hemet High, 13 students and no staff members are reported as confirmed cases, which is 0.50% of its student/staff population and 12 students more than last week.
The HUSD Dashboard states: “Positive cases will appear on the Dashboard for 14 days from the date they are reported and then will be removed after the 14th day.” So, HUSD’s rolling Dashboard does not report the cumulative confirmed cases throughout the district, but rather those cases confirmed as being active during the previous two weeks.
As of Tuesday, Riverside County Public Health (RCPH) reported 240 total cases of COVID in the Idyllwild-Pine Cove community, with 234 recovered and four deaths, leaving two cases currently active in our community.
County-wide, as of Dec. 6, RCPH reported a total of 383,242 confirmed COVID cases (3,652 more than last week) with 5,502 deaths (27 more than last week) and 373,478 having recovered, leaving 9,764 active cases in Riverside County, 179 more than last week. The county reports 292 hospitalized COVID patients, 72 of which are in intensive care. On Tuesday morning, the state’s website reported 85 ICU beds available in Riverside County (13 fewer than last week).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been alternating between rating Riverside County as a “Substantial” vs. “High” transmission area. Currently, the county is rated “Substantial.”
California reports that as of Dec. 13 in Riverside County, 9.5% of ages 5 to 11 have been partially or fully vaccinated, while 49.5% of ages 12-17, 57.8% of ages 18 to 49, 71.9% of ages 50 to 64, and 72.5% of ages 65 and above have been fully vaccinated. You can go to https://rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine-with-Registration to schedule vaccinations.
As of Dec. 13, California has reported 4,886,509 total confirmed COVID cases statewide (41,214 more than last week), with 74,685 resulting deaths (476 more than last week).
As of Dec. 10, CDC reported the national seven-day moving average of daily new U.S. COVID cases as 118,515, up a whopping 37.3% from the previous week.
CDC announced that, as of Dec. 9, 23 states have identified cases of the newest coronavirus variant, Omicron. “Mutations in Omicron might increase transmissibility, confer resistance to therapeutics, or partially escape infection- or vaccine-induced immunity. … Among 43 cases with initial follow-up, one hospitalization and no deaths were reported.”
Of the above 43 Omicron cases, 25 were in persons aged 18 to 39 years. Thirty-four had been “fully vaccinated,” including 14 who had received the booster dose. Five of those 14 had received their booster doses less than two weeks before the onset of Omicron symptoms and nine had received their boosters more than two weeks before the onset of Omicron symptoms. Six of the 43 cases were persons who had previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2.
“The most commonly reported symptoms were cough, fatigue, and congestion or runny nose. One vaccinated patient was hospitalized for two days, and no deaths have been reported to date. Case investigations have identified exposures associated with international and domestic travel, large public events, and household transmission,” CDC reported.
CDC urges: “Implementation of concurrent prevention strategies, including vaccination, masking, improving ventilation, testing, quarantine, and isolation are recommended to slow transmission of SARS-CoV-2, including variants such as Omicron, to protect against severe illness and death from COVID-19.”
As of Dec. 9, CDC reports that nationwide, 237 million people (71.5% of the U.S. population) have been fully vaccinated, in other words, have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine. CDC now recommends booster shots for everyone 16 years and older; however, at this time only the Pfizer booster is authorized and recommended for ages 16 and 17. CDC reports that more than 49.9 million Americans have received a booster dose, including 49.1% of those ages 65 years or older. Those who received the J&J shot can get a Pfizer or Moderna booster, since CDC has authorized boosters of a different manufacturer than the original vaccination. CDC Weekly Review headline urges “Get Boosted!”
COVID vaccinations are available in Idyllwild by appointment at Idyllwild Pharmacy and monthly at Idyllwild School on scheduled vaccination Saturdays — the next scheduled Idyllwild School vaccination date is Saturday, Jan. 8.
Further CDC resources are available at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/.