During Tuesday’s Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting, health officials had a lot of good news to share: the COVID case rate is trending down plus protection for all could be months away.
“If we can reach herd immunity then our community will be very well protected … my best guess is that by late summer we will have had enough supply to vaccinate the majority of our population in Riverside County,” says Dr. Geoffrey Leung, with Riverside University Health and the county’s ambulatory medical director.
Infections are down from nearly 200 per 100,000 at our peak to 10.6 per 100,000 we must be below seven to have indoor dining again. What will help is more vaccines. And there’s more good news on that front, the county will now be adding a third vaccine to their arsenal: the one dose shot that does not need ultra cold storage.
“The Johnson and Johnson vaccine, we could receive this as early as next week, that is the single dose vaccine we are looking at areas of the county where logistically it would make sense,” says Kim Saruwatari, Riverside County’s director of public health.
The county says they’re also getting ready to meet the state’s guidelines to switch over to a third party vaccination network that will help the state meet their goal to go from one to four million vaccinations per week.
“We have not heard any definitive timeline in term of when the switch will be flipped and Blue Shield will take over … but we’re working toward that with them and with all of our providers,” said Saruwatari.
The state’s goal is for all to be on that site by the end of March.
Dr. Leung says over 500 thousand doses have been administered in the county but with the Curative and Optumserve partnerships the county can also add three more sites one of them in Norco, Temecula and Desert Hot Springs, “And they will all come with state funded vaccine supplies so it will not come from our regular allocation.”
They will also take over two the Corona High School and Indio Fairground sites. The companies will also take over second doses and should contact and make appointments for those who need it before the 42 day deadline.
“That will free up our team so we could add staff to our mobile teams so as of next week we will have five mobile teams traveling to areas to help support seniors for vaccinations as well as under-served and underprivileged communities,” said Dr. Leung.
Dr. Leung says those vaccinated still pose a small threat of catching and infecting those who have not been vaccinated so until most receive the vaccine it’s best all continue to take precautions.