COVID-19: Cases remain stable in Coachella Valley; Palm Springs wastewater samples continue to detect delta, omicron

Barry Parkins of Indian Wells receives a COVID-19 vaccination from Jennifer Salazar, R.N. at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio, January 17, 2021.
·4 min read

As COVID-19 cases are starting to rise across the country, numbers have been stable week to week in the Coachella Valley in December.

The nine Coachella Valley cities added 422 new COVID-19 cases in the week ending Monday. That is roughly the same amount as last week, when there were 425 COVID-19 cases reported between Dec. 6 and 13.

Though week-by-week numbers look similar, the number of cases is much higher than a month ago. There were 276 cases reported between Nov. 15 and 22.

There were also four reported deaths in the week ending Monday, up from two from the previous week.

Here is a full breakdown of confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries by city for the week ending Monday (changes shown in parenthesis):

  • Cathedral City: 8,658 confirmed cases (+59),134 deaths (+1), 8,449 recoveries (+59)

  • Coachella: 8,841 confirmed cases (+48), 110 deaths (+0), 8,658 recoveries (+39)

  • Desert Hot Springs: 5,375 confirmed cases (+36), 86 deaths (+0), 5,241 recoveries (+44)

  • Indian Wells: 275 confirmed cases (+7), 8 deaths (+0), 258 recoveries (+4)

  • Indio: 15,119 confirmed cases (+119), 248 deaths (+1), 14,707 recoveries (+155)

  • La Quinta: 4,636 confirmed cases (+51), 71 deaths (+1), 4,504 recoveries (+35)

  • Palm Desert: 5,341 confirmed cases (+53), 136 deaths (+0), 5,147 recoveries (+64)

  • Palm Springs: 4,968 confirmed cases (+36), 139 deaths (+1), 4,790 recoveries (+51)

  • Rancho Mirage: 1,485 confirmed cases (+13), 55 deaths (+0), 1,412 recoveries (+14)

There were also 61 COVID-19 cases and one death (in Desert Edge) reported in unincorporated communities for the week ending Monday.

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The Palm Springs Unified School District reported that 40 students have current positive tests for COVID-19. There are six cases at Rancho Mirage High School, the most in the district as of Monday.

The Desert Sands Unified School District reported 32 students and 10 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. La Quinta High School reported five active cases among students, the most of any school in the district as of Monday.

The Coachella Valley Unified School District on Monday reported a total of 23 active COVID-19 cases among students and two among staff. Coral Mountain Academy reported five cases, according to the district.

Palm Springs' wastewater report from Dec. 13 and 14 states that the average number of viral copies of COVID-19 detected at the wastewater treatment plant has increased for the second straight week. On Dec. 13, there were 435,122 viral copies per liter of wastewater, and on Dec. 14, there were 289,509 viral copies per liter. While there was an increase, the report states the numbers "are very similar to what we have been seeing over the past three months."

The omicron variant was detected in a Dec. 7 wastewater sample. The newest report states that omicron, along with delta, continue to be detected in the Dec. 13 and 14 samples.

GT Molecular, a testing laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado, has added a beta test for the signature mutations found in the emerging omicron variant, the report states. Since it is in its beta form, the results should be used "with caution," the report states, but "it does mean that we should be on the lookout for other data sources that can confirm its presence in the days and weeks to come." Riverside County reported the first confirmed local omicron variant case on Friday.

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Overall, Riverside County reported 1,195 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths since Friday.

So far in December, there have been more than 9,000 COVID-19 cases, surpassing totals for the months of March (5,011), April (3,989), May (2,251), June (1,005) and July (6,840).

On Monday, the county's case rate was 19.4 per 100,000, and its positivity rate was 6.0%. Both are up slightly from Friday's numbers — 19.1 per 100,000 and 5.8%.

Riverside County currently has a "high" community transmission rate, which is defined as having more than 100 cumulative cases per 100,000 in the past seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID Data Tracker.

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COVID-19-related hospitalizations increased by eight since Friday, bringing the total to 317 patients. That includes 82 individuals in intensive care, up by six.

Seven new deaths were reported since Friday, bringing the total to 5,536 since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Riverside County, 57.8% of residents ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated and another 6.6% are partially vaccinated. There have been 377,134 additional/booster doses administered, or 19.2% of the 16 and older population.

Ema Sasic covers health in the Coachella Valley. Reach her at ema.sasic@desertsun.com or on Twitter @ema_sasic.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: COVID-19: Valley cases remain stable; variants detected in wastewater

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