In January, Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington urged persons with high-risk conditions (e.g., age and chronic health problems) who have tested positive for COVID-19 avail themselves of monoclonal antibody treatment at Riverside University Health System (RUHS) – Medical Center. RUHS-MC is administering sotrovimab, an IV infusion shown to be effective against omicron and other variants. In recent emails, Washington has reaffirmed that urging.
Dr. Michael Mesisca, the RUHS – MC’s director for emergency medicine, relates that monoclonal antibody treatment is one available tool key to living with COVID-19. “As we come to terms with COVID-19 as an endemic disease, we can protect our most vulnerable residents by providing easy access to vaccination and monoclonal antibody treatment,” said Mesisca.
Recall that former president Donald Trump received monoclonal antibody treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C., when he was stricken with COVID back in October 2020.
To qualify for monoclonal antibody treatment, a patient must have a positive COVID test, symptoms that began within the past 10 days, and a high-risk condition, such as: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart, liver, lung or kidney diseases, pregnancy, a cancer diagnosis, a compromised immune system due to organ transplants or immunosuppressant medications — or be age 65 or older. However, there are many other conditions that also qualify, and patients can also get a referral for monoclonal antibody treatment from their physician. For questions and appointments, call 951-486-6520. The treatment center is located at 26520 Cactus Avenue in Moreno Valley.
As of March 7, California reports 587,388 total cases in Riverside County with 9.8 new cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day moving average. (There are 2,418,185 residents in our county as of the 2020 census, so that works out to 237 new cases over a seven-day moving average in our county.) The state reports 6,279 confirmed COVID deaths in Riverside County. The state also reports 172 hospitalized COVID patients (three more than the prior day) with 98 ICU beds currently available in the county, six fewer than the prior day.
As of Tuesday morning, the Dashboard of the Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) reported active cases (last two weeks) of COVID at Idyllwild School as being no students and one staff member, which is 0.33% of its combined student/staff population — a 66% reduction from last week’s report. At Hemet High, one student and two staff members were reported as active cases (10 fewer students than last week), which is 0.12% of its combined student/staff population — a 76% reduction from last week’s report. Hamilton School reported no students and no staff members with active COVID, which is 0.00% of its student-staff population, and a 100% reduction from last week — i.e., down to zero.
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 reports active cases confirmed during the previous two weeks.
Last week we reported that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has now replaced reporting “transmission areas” with “community levels.” A community level takes into consideration the number of people admitted to local hospitals during the past week, the number of total hospital beds with COVID patients and new COVID cases during the past week. Community levels are rated Low, Medium and High. Riverside County is currently rated Low. People in all community levels are recommended to stay up to date with their vaccines, and to get tested if they have symptoms.
As of Mar. 7, RCPH reports that in Riverside County, 19.1% of the population ages 5 to 11 are now “fully vaccinated” — while 51.1% of ages 12 to 15, about 56% of ages 16 to 24, 60% of ages 25 to 44, 73.4% of ages 45 to 64 and 76% of ages 65-plus have been fully vaccinated. Currently, the term “fully vaccinated” still does not include boosters.
As of March 7, California reported 8,412,311 total confirmed COVID cases statewide (31,115 more than reported last week, which is a 63% reduction of new cases from the previous week) with 85,849 total resulting deaths (1,149 more than reported last week, which is a 37% reduction in new deaths from the previous week).
As of March 2, CDC current seven-day national moving average of daily new COVID cases was 53,017, a 28.5% reduction from the previous week’s seven-day moving average. The Omicron variant now accounts for virtually all of the new cases in the U.S., with Delta variant at zero. Just under 79 million total COVID-19 cases and 952,223 COVID deaths have been reported in the U.S.
CDC reported cases and hospitalizations in January 2022 were the highest since the pandemic began, but in February and into this month, cases have trended rapidly downward. Do COVID vaccines work? Recall that back in December, CDC’s COVID Data Tracker showed un-vaccinated adults ages 65 and older were 49 times more likely to be hospitalized than people in that age group who were up-to-date with their COVID vaccines, including boosters — not twice as likely, 49 times more likely.
CDC advises that vaccination, along with other important prevention strategies, continues to be the best defense against severe COVID disease. Everyone ages 5 years and up is recommended to be vaccinated, with boosters for everyone ages 12 and older — specifically the Pfizer-BioNTech booster for those ages 12 to 15. CDC now recommends that people with weakened immune systems get their booster doses three months after their second dose instead of waiting five months.
COVID vaccinations are available in Idyllwild by appointment at Idyllwild Pharmacy (1-951-659-2135). Riverside County is not listing any place on the Hill as a future county vaccination location, but places in Hemet, San Jacinto, Banning, Beaumont, Moreno Valley, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Desert are listed. Visit https://rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine-with-Registration to schedule vaccinations through RCPH.
Also, CDC suggests 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.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/COVID-data/COVIDview/.