As of Tuesday, Jan. 18, Americans can order free at-home COVID tests at https://www.covidtests.gov.
Riverside University Health System reported last week the COVID death of an infant under 1-year-old, the youngest known person to have succumbed to COVID in Riverside County thus far. No identifying or other details were released.
Johns Hopkins University (JHU), which has been tracking COVID daily since the beginning, reports that the U.S. is now experiencing more than 700,000 new COVID cases daily — 60 million over the past two years. JHU data indicates that at least 20% of Americans have been infected with COVID-19.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends 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 seven students and no staff members, 2.28% of its combined stu-dent/staff population and seven students more than the zero reported last week. At Hemet High, 48 students and three staff members are reported as confirmed cases, which is 1.97% of its student/staff population, about 8.5 times what was reported 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.” Consequently, HUSD’s rolling Dashboard reports active cases confirmed during the previous two weeks.
As of Tuesday, Riverside County Public Health (RCPH) reported no change from last week: 249 total cases of COVID in the Idyllwild-Pine Cove community, with five deaths and 238 recovered, leaving six cases currently active in our community.
County-wide, RCPH is now reporting a total of 423,832 confirmed COVID cases (7,243 more than last week), with 5,671 total deaths (40 more than last week), and with 400,589 COVID cases having recovered, leaving 17,572 active cases in Riverside County, about an 83% increase over last week’s active cases.
The county reports 991 hospitalized COVID patients (105 more than last week), 151 of which are in intensive care (14 more than last week). On Tuesday morning, the state’s website reported only 66 ICU beds available in Riverside County (four more than last week). CDC continues to rate Riverside County as a “High” transmission area.
RCPH reports that, as of Jan. 18 in Riverside County, 10.9% of the population ages 5 to 11 are “fully vaccinated” — while 48.5% of ages 12 to 15, about 54.8% of ages 16 to 24, 58.6% of ages 25 to 44, 71.9% of ages 45 to 64 and 75.1% 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. 17, California reported 6,735,980 total confirmed COVID cases statewide (792,803 more than last week), with 77,270 total resulting deaths (720 more than last week).
CDC reports that the Omicron variant now accounts for about 98% of cases in our country. Although COVID-19 tends to be milder in children than in adults, pediatric hospitalizations are now at their highest rate since the beginning of the pandemic. The highest pediatric hospitalization rates are among children from newborn to 4 years of age, none of whom are yet eligible for vaccination. However, pediatric hospitalizations do remain lower than for any adult age group.
CDC continues to advise that vaccination, along with other important prevention strategies, continues to be the best defense against severe COVID disease. Everyone ages 5 and up is recommended to be vaccinated, with boosters for everyone 12 years and older.
Again, 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 indoor patrons are mandated to wear masks “except when eating or drinking.”
COVID vaccinations are available in Idyllwild by appointment at Idyllwild Pharmacy. As of Tuesday, Riverside County was not listing Idyllwild School as a future vaccination location. CDC advises visiting vaccines.gov, calling 1-800-232-0233 or texting your ZIP code to 438829 to find a vaccination site near you.
Further CDC resources are available at www.cdc.