Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking Covid daily since the beginning, reports that the U.S. is now experiencing 700,000-plus new COVID cases daily, owing to the Omicron variant. The current coronavirus surge hit Idyllwild last week, temporarily shutting down two Idyllwild restaurants.
The Red Kettle restaurant closed last Thursday, and co-owner Bruce Ross responded Sunday that the restaurant remained closed but hoped to reopen within two or three more days. However, said Ross, “[O]ur decision will be guided by our commitment to following all applicable CDC and state guidelines and to insuring the health and safety of our staff and customers.”
Ferro restaurant closed last Thursday, also, “but reopened on Friday with unexposed and vaccinated staff or vaccinated staff that tested negative. Strict mask protocols are in place as always,” said co-owner Lori Ferro.
Effective Jan. 5, Riverside County Superior Court temporarily suspended civil and criminal jury trials not currently in progress through Friday, Jan. 28. The reason given is the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 has resulted in 26.9% of Riverside County residents testing positive compared to the state’s average of 20.4%. Persons summoned to report for jury duty during this time should check their status online at www.riverside.courts.ca.gov/Generalinfo/Juryinfo/jury-info.php or via phone at 951-275-5076 or 760-342-6264. Jury trials currently in progress will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot for persons ages 12 to 15.
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 no students and no staff members, so 0.00% of its combined stu-dent/staff population, one student fewer than reported for the last two weeks. At Hemet High, three students and three staff members are reported as confirmed cases, which is 0.23% of its student/staff population, about half what was reported for the last three weeks. 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.” Consequently, HUSD’s rolling Dashboard reports active cases confirmed during the previous two weeks.
As of Tuesday, Riverside County Public Health (RCPH) reported 249 total cases of COVID in the Idyllwild-Pine Cove community (three more than last week), with five deaths (one more than last week) and 238 recovered, leaving six cases currently active in our community (one more than last week).
County-wide, RCPH is now reporting a total of 416,589 confirmed COVID cases (11,986 more than last week, and 350 more than last week’s increase over the previous week) with 5,631 total deaths (42 more than last week and seven more than last week’s increase over the previous week), and with 396,593 COVID cases having recovered, leaving 9,599 active cases in Riverside County, about 76% of last week’s active cases. The county reports 886 hospitalized Covid patients (291 more than last week), 137 of which are in intensive care. On Tuesday morning, the state’s website reported only 62 ICU beds available in Riverside County (nine fewer than last week). CDC continues to rate Riverside County as a “High” transmission area.
RCPH reports that, as of Jan. 10 in Riverside County, 10.1% of the population ages 5 to 11 are “fully vaccinated” — while 48.3% of ages 12 to 15, about 54.7% of ages 16 to 24, 58.4% of ages 25 to 44, 71.7% of ages 45 to 64 and 75.0% of ages 65-plus have been fully vaccinated. Currently, the term “fully vaccinated” still does not include boosters. Visit https://rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine-with-Registration to schedule vaccinations.
As of Jan. 10, California reported 5,943,177 total confirmed COVID cases statewide (514,655 more than last week and 76,194 more than last week’s increase over the previous week), with 76,550 resulting deaths (626 more than last week).
CDC continues to advise that vaccination, along with other important prevention strategies, continues to be the best defense against severe COVID disease. CDC urges to: 1) get vaccinated as soon as possible, with a booster shot just as soon as you are eligible for one; 2) wear a mask that covers both your nose and your mouth when in indoor public places; 3) whenever possible, stay 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with; 4) avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces; 5) continue to wash your hands often with soap and water, using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available; and 6) “consider” self-testing before attending indoor gatherings, and if you test positive, or you are sick and have symptoms, don’t go.
California’s mask mandate continues at indoor businesses, including restaurants where patrons are mandated to wear masks “except when eating or drinking.”
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 this coming Saturday, Jan. 8.
Further CDC resources are available at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/.