The holidays are almost over, but the concern for COVID-19 is far from it. This past week, both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties experienced in-creased COVID-19 cases. As of Dec. 28, San Bernardino County had 2,183 new COVID-19 cases, and 325 hospitalizations with 20 deaths. As of Dec. 28, Riverside County reported 2,731 new COVID-19 cases, with 256 hospitalizations and 18 deaths. In the past 14 days, Yucaipa reported 253 cases. In Calimesa there are 15 new cases. As the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to rise, local colleges are now requiring booster shots for staff and students. California State University is the largest system of four-year colleges in the country, with 23 campuses, 53,000 faculty and staff and 482,000 students. On Wednesday, Dec. 22, CSU announced that its faculty, staff and students would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. The update comes one day after the University of California’s booster mandate. “Vaccination, including a booster when eligible, remains our most effective strategy against infection and severe disease,” CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro said in a press release. New CDC guidelines According to the CDC, as of Dec. 27, the new recommended time for isolation is cut from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC states transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the one to two days prior to onset of symptoms and the two to three days after. Additionally, the CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated, the CDC now recommends quarantine for five days followed by strict mask use for an additional five days. For those who are vaccinated and have received their booster shot, there is no need for quarantine following an exposure.

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