The COVID holiday surge is here. Riverside County released its highest daily number of COVID positive tests to date: 11,552 and the virus killed 44 more people.
“This would be the highest number without a backlog and so yeah it’s significant, the deaths, we’ve had more than 50 reported at a time but that number as you would imagine is horrific only a few months ago if we had more than ten it was unusual,” says Jose Arballo Jr., the county’s health department senior public information officer.
And in about ten days ten percent of those are expected to be hospitalized. Riverside County hospitals are at zero percent ICU capacity and Our hospitals are at zero icu capacity and many requesting staffing help. Those numbers mean our hospitals won’t be getting a break any time soon.
“We are continuing to see the impact on our hospital system because of the holidays we expect our new year’s crunch to come by the end of the week,” says Arballo.
“It’s widespread the hospitals are full and we want to open up all the businesses,” says Ben Schroeter of Palm Desert, who wants to get the vaccine and feels the roll out is going slower than he expected.
People are anxious to get the COVID vaccine.
“Seems like there’s a lot of it and it’s just not being used … I’m ready for it, I would take it today if they offered it,” said John Cossa of Rancho Mirage.
“I don’t have very much information and I wish there was more information with the roll out and what the procedures will be,” says Gary Marando of Cathedral City.
The county says they received 77 thousand doses of the vaccine and have already given the first dose to about 30 thousand people in the first phase of their plan, that includes healthcare workers, first responders and nursing facilities. But soon they will expand to the next phase.
“Either at the end of the week or beginning on next week depending on supplies expanding into One B which will be older citizens and those with underlying health issues,” says Arballo.
It also includes teachers, postal workers law enforcement and agricultural workers, those who qualify will be able to sign up for an appointment on their website.
“It’s just a matter of finding locations, finding the staffing to train other people to do it, to work with our community partners to get them the vaccinations so they can administer it as well to their members,” says Arballo.
But they will also be relying on community partners to reach people that are homebound. The county is scouting locations where they can vaccinate hundreds if not thousands a day reaching their goal of vaccinating as many of their 2.4 million residents by late spring or early summer.
“It’s not just going to be the county or public health that is the one that leads the charge it will be a full community collaboration that’s going to be behind it,” says Arballo.
For more information about Riverside County’s vaccine plan click here: COVID VACCINE