Last week’s COVID story related several European countries and the U.S. have reported finding new COVID variants, originally referred to as Deltacron, but designated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as Omicron variants with several subvariant “lineages.” Omicron currently consists of five lineages sweeping Europe and, potentially, the U.S., but appear no more serious than the originally discovered Omicron while also being vulnerable to existing vaccines. They seem to be less likely to cause severe disease than earlier variants, such as Delta.
With serious COVID on the wane, CDC’s emphasis is now on persons who are at high risk for severe illness, hospitalization and death. So, who is most likely to die or become very sick from COVID? As reported by CDC last week: the aged and those with underlying medical conditions are most vulnerable, particularly if they’re not up to date with vaccinations. Underlying medical conditions include, but are not limited to: cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic lung diseases (including asthma and COPD), cystic fibrosis, dementia or other neurological conditions, diabetes (types 1 and 2), disabilities, dementia, heart conditions (possibly including high blood pressure), HIV, weakened immune systems, obesity and overweightness, physically inactive persons, pregnancy, sickle cell disease or inherited red blood cell disorders, smoking (former or current), stem cell or organ transplant recipients, stroke or cerebrovascular disease, substance use disorders and tuberculosis.
As of Tuesday, March 22, Riverside County Public Health (RCPH) was reporting a total of 312 COVID cases in Idyllwild-Pine Cove resulting in six deaths and 306 patients recovered, leaving no active cases in this community.
As of Tuesday, March 22, the state of California reports 589,657 total cases in Riverside County with 4.2 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 about 102 new cases over the current seven-day moving average period in our county, a 28% reduction from last week. The state reports 6,376 confirmed COVID deaths in Riverside County. The state also reports 92 hospitalized COVID patients with 105 ICU beds currently available in our county, 55 more than last week.
As of Tuesday, March 22, the Dashboard of the Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) reported active cases (last two weeks) of COVID at Idyllwild School as being no students or staff members — down to zero cases, the same as last week. At Hemet High, five students and no staff members were reported as active cases, which is 0.19% of its combined student/staff population. Hamilton School reported one student and one staff member with active COVID, which is 0.44% of its student-staff population.
CDC has 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.
As of Tuesday, March 22, RCPH reports that in Riverside County, 19.7% of the population ages 5 to 11 are now “fully vaccinated” — while 50.6% of ages 12 to 15, about 55.6% of ages 16 to 24, 59.8% of ages 25 to 44, 73.2% of ages 45 to 64 and 75.6% of ages 65-plus have been fully vaccinated. Currently, the term “fully vaccinated” still does not include boosters.
As of Monday, March 21, California reported 8,465,358 total confirmed COVID cases statewide (27,038 more than reported last week, which is a 3.9% increase in new cases from the previous week) with 87,485 total resulting deaths (691 more than reported last week, which is a 26.9% reduction in new deaths from the previous week).
As of March 16, the CDC current seven-day national moving average of daily new COVID cases was 30,040, a 19.1% reduction from the previous week’s seven-day moving average. The Omicron variants account for virtually all new cases in the U.S., with the more serious Delta variants at zero. A total of 79,486,762 COVID-19 cases and 965,575 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the U.S.
CDC advises that vaccination, along with other important prevention strategies, continues to be the best defense against severe COVID disease. Everyone aged 5 years and up is recommended to be vaccinated, with boosters for everyone aged 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). Visit to schedule vaccinations through RCPH.
Also, CDC suggests visiting, calling 1-800-232-0233 or texting your ZIP code to 438829 to find a vaccination site near you.