Palm Springs area COVID-19: July wastewater tests show virus high – Desert Sun

Samples collected at local wastewater plants show COVID-19 concentration is decreasing in the Coachella Valley, but the month of July had the second-highest average monthly concentration of the virus this year. 

According to the latest report from the Palm Springs wastewater treatment plant, there were about 539,134 viral copies of COVID-19 per liter for July 25 and 26, down about 43% from a week earlier. This rate is similar to the week of May 16, when the average was 544,167 viral copies per liter.

Although the month of July averaged 966,183 viral copies per liter, the second-highest average of the year, the levels were far lower than January, when 3,380,717 viral copies per liter were recorded at the city’s wastewater plant.

A similar trend has been taking place at the Valley Sanitary District in Indio, according to a report released Tuesday. Samples taken on July 25 and 26 showed 334,914 viral copies per liter and 265,362 viral copies per liter, respectively. COVID-19 concentration in wastewater has been decreasing since July 11. 

At the Valley Sanitary District, July also claimed the second-highest monthly average of viral copies per liter (457,086), far behind January (3,777,479).

The nine Coachella Valley cities officially added 749 new COVID-19 cases in the week ending Wednesday, though the number likely does not include results from at-home tests. The county encourages at-home testers to report results, but it is not required. Cases seem to have plateaued in the valley: 746 cases were reported in the previous week.

Here is a full breakdown of confirmed total cases, deaths and recoveries by city since the start of the pandemic (with weekly changes shown in parentheses):

  • Cathedral City: 13,530 confirmed cases (+91), 151 deaths (+0), 13,288 recoveries (+113)
  • Coachella: 13,838 confirmed cases (+126), 121 deaths (+0), 13,597 recoveries (+80)
  • Desert Hot Springs: 8,331 confirmed cases (+48), 98 deaths (+0), 8,187 recoveries (+65)
  • Indian Wells: 678 confirmed cases (+3), 8 deaths (+0), 666 deaths (+6)
  • Indio: 24,523 confirmed cases (+208), 285 deaths (+1), 24,054 recoveries (+209)
  • La Quinta: 9,014 confirmed cases (+85), 86 deaths (+0), 8,847 recoveries (+85)
  • Palm Desert: 10,519 confirmed cases (+82), 150 deaths (+1), 10,282 recoveries (+99)
  • Palm Springs: 8,855 confirmed cases (+70), 158 deaths (+0), 8,635 recoveries (+87)
  • Rancho Mirage: 3,101 confirmed cases (+36), 58 deaths (+0), 3,010 recoveries (+30)

There were also 82 COVID-19 cases reported in unincorporated communities in the week ending Wednesday:

  • Bermuda Dunes: 1,650 confirmed cases (+11); 13 deaths (+0); 1,627 recoveries (+7)
  • Desert Edge: 691 confirmed cases (+5); 22 deaths (+0); 663 recoveries (+5)
  • Desert Palms: 807 confirmed cases (+7); 35 deaths (+0); 766 recoveries (+7)
  • Garnet: 1,583 confirmed cases (+9); 23 deaths (+0); 1,552 recoveries (+10)
  • Mecca: 1,980 confirmed cases (+12); 23 deaths (+0); 1,946 recoveries (+12)
  • North Shore: 741 confirmed cases (+4); 1 death (+0); 737 recoveries (+0)
  • Oasis: 1,653 confirmed cases (+14); 9 deaths (+0); 1,628 recoveries (+13)
  • Sky Valley: 475 confirmed cases (+0); 7 deaths (+0); 468 recoveries (+2)
  • Thermal: 815 confirmed cases (+8); 10 deaths (+0); 800 recoveries (+9)
  • Thousand Palms: 2,000 confirmed cases (+10); 13 deaths (+0); 1,980 recoveries (+15)
  • Vista Santa Rosa: 625 confirmed cases (+2); 5 deaths (+0); 618 recoveries (+7)

Between last Friday and Wednesday, Riverside County added 4,645 new COVID-19 cases. That was a 7% decrease from the previous week’s 4,996 cases reported between July 22 and 27. Another 650 cases were reported on Thursday.

Riverside County has moved back to the “medium” community transmission level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under this level, the CDC states people “may choose to wear a mask at any time” to protect themselves and others.

Other Southern California counties, such as Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Imperial counties, have a “high” community transmission level.

As of Thursday, there were 211 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Riverside County — down from 223 patients on Wednesday  — and 25 people in intensive care.

An additional 12 deaths were reported in the seven days ending Thursday. There have been 6,616 deaths from COVID-19 in the county since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Riverside County, 59.5% of residents ages 5 and older have completed their primary vaccine series, which includes both shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. About 29.7% of the population ages 5 and older has been boosted. 

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

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