5 Things to Know: Monday, September 21

  1. Welcome to 5 Things to Know – a daily rundown of things you might want to be aware of if you live in, visit, or just like being aware about what’s going on in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. As always, thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs.

1) The Coronavirus

The last couple of days have seen some awful milestones, with the United States now seeing over 200,000 people dead of coronavirus and California passing 15,000 deaths – both are numbers that would’ve seemed unimaginable a few months ago.  

Here is what is going on locally:


  • Riverside County could move into California’s red tier as early as this week, which would allow for the reopening of more business sectors.  “The understanding is that it is possible we could be moved to red tier this week,” Riverside County spokesperson Jose Arballo told the Desert Sun. “We are awaiting the public posting (from the state) on where Riverside County stands, but we are optimistic and believe we are headed in the right direction.”
  • On Friday, the CDC updated its coronavirus information to say that the virus was airborne and could be transmitted from person-to-person at a distance of over six feet. On Monday, that language was removed. The deputy director of the CDC claimed the edit was, “unfortunately an early draft of a revision went up without any technical review”
  • California’s unemployment department has been so overwhelmed by the volume of unemployment claims as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that is enacting a two-week “reset period” in which it will not accept new claims, in hopes that the time will allow the agency to clear a massive backlog and also work to prevent fraud. During a news conference on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the backlog “unacceptable.”

2) The Snow Fire

The blaze burning near Palm Springs is now 52% contained, as of 5 pm Monday. The fire, which broke out after a vehicle caught fire last week, has scorched over 6,000 acres.  Officials believe they will have 100% containment of the fire by October 1.

3) The Other Fires

Dozens of fires continue to burn in California, Oregon, and Washington.   Currently, 19,000 men and woman are taking on 27 major wildfires in the state of California that have burned over 3 million acres:

Some important links:

  • The LA Times is tracking each of the major fires on this online map.
  • The El Dorado Fire in the San Bernardino Mountains has now scorched over 22,000 acres and was 59% contained as of Monday morning.
  • The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is investigating of how a firefighter died last week while battling the El Dorado Fire.  An official told the Desert Sun that the investigation is at its inception and it’s too early to say whether death-related charges could be recommended against a family suspected of igniting the fire during a gender reveal party.

4) PSP adds some new routes

Alaska Airlines has announced new nonstop service from Palm Springs to San Jose, Reno/Lake Tahoe and Boise, Idaho, starting in December, which is not the time that you want to fly to Boise, Idaho…but then, those in Boise may be inclined to fly here – and, let’s face it, we all know the airport is really just there for the snowbirds anyway.

5) The local newspaper is now being printed in Arizona

Sunday night marked the last run of the presses in Palm Springs for the Desert Sun newspaper:

The Gannet property had previously announced it would be printed in Arizona and driven to the Coachella Valley going forward. The newspaper says about three dozen people are now out of work due to the move.

For those who have not been following the newspaper industry over the past few years, this article points out that despite layoffs, cutbacks, and low salaries for most employees, a couple CEOs have made out pretty well.

Stay safe.  Stay Smart.  Wear a mask. 💚🌵