Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Friday evening, May 15

(📸: Sue Farris)

Cactus Hugs has been tracking local stories about the coronavirus.   For a rundown of all of our updates, click here. Stay safe, stay at a good social distance.

Thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs. For ways to keep this website going (and free!), click here.

As of 4 pm Friday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 5,618 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 178 people have been reported to have tested positive in the last 24 hours
  • 242 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus.
    • 7 people have been reported dead in the last 24 hours.
  • There are currently 184 confirmed cases hospitalized.
    • 68 of those people in the ICU.
  • There have been 3,430 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 80,937 tests.
    • There have been 1,998 reported tests in the last 24 hours.

As of 4 pm Friday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 3,311 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 150 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 4 pm Friday, there have been 76,618 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 3,136 confirmed deaths in the state.


The numbers increase everyday.  They are more than just numbers.  They are people we have lost:


Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco told KESQ during an interview on Friday night that the Indio Jail, which is the most expensive public project in the county’s history, may not open now due to staffing issues because of cut budgets during the coronavirus. “If they cut anything from my department, unfortunately, the Indio Jail, the expansion of the Indio Jail would be the first thing eliminated from my budget and it won’t open.” warned Sheriff Bianco.  The jail was expected to be completed and up and running years ago. The original bid for the project was $279 million, and at last check, it had costed taxpayers upwards of $330 million.

Palm Desert, which is expecting a budget deficit of up to $15 million, is cutting $3.4 million in police expenses including reducing hours and the suspension of positions – including two motorcycle cops, a school resource officer, and a K9 unit. The city, which also plans to add three less expensive community service officers, believes the moves will not negatively impact public safety.  “So, it’s not like … we have only so many officers, we have a contract that allows us to expand if we have a necessity for additional officers. That’s something I think we need to keep in mind when we vote for this,” Councilmember Susan Marie Weber said.

Supervisor Manny Perez tells the Desert Sun that nothing is official, but he has been texting and playing phone tag with supervisors in San Bernardino, Orange, and San Diego counties discussing how joining together could strengthen their hand and force Governor Newsom to the negotiate a reopening plan that would have guidelines that allow for more positive cases and deaths.

During a press conference on Friday President Trump promised hundreds of millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine by as early as this year.  He then went on to say that even without a vaccine, everyone should just go ahead and go back to work:

Is a vaccine by the end of the year possible?  Not likely, experts tell the Washington Post. The Dean at Baylor College of Medicine, said that if some large trials begin this summer, the most reasonable timeline for proving a vaccine safe and effective would be the second half of 2021.  He added that even that timeline would be “an absolute record.”

This video out of Japan uses a black light to show how quickly coronavirus could spread at a buffet and, well, just watch…

The CDC is warning doctors about a serious rare inflammatory condition in children linked with the coronavirus. The condition has been reported in at least 110 New York children and in several kids in other states. Some children may have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease, a rare condition in children that can cause swelling and heart problems. A few children have died.

A new poll of 1,002 religious Americans found that 63% believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is a sign from God, telling humanity to change its ways of living. Additionally, the poll  found that 55 % believe that God will protect them from being infected with the coronavirus.

Fewer cars on the roads these day is leading to more speeders and more deadly car crashes, according to the LAPD – who is sounding the alarm about an uptick in fatal accidents crashes on our Southern California roadways.

Essential workers already have more than enough to deal with during the pandemic.  Now, grocery store, retail, and transportation service workers are getting screamed at and physically attacked by customers who refuse to obey their company’s mask rules. And though some of these customers have been…and but let’s just call them what they are here…ignorant, dipshit assholes about the mask rules, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s told the New York Times that most customers “overwhelmingly” wear masks with no issues.

The Desert Sun caught up with some local media organizations, including their own paper, and there is a common theme: Advertisers have pulled most of their money.

J.C. Penny filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. The company said it plans to close an unspecified number of stores permanently in a bid to survive.

Over 8,000 people signed a petition asking them to stay open and the Riverside City Council offered to meet to find a way to entice them not to close, but Nordstrom has decided to stand firm with its decision to close its Riverside store.

While no Coachella Valley casino have announced dates for reopening, two San Diego properties plan to open next week.  Sycuan Casino Resort, near El Cajon, has announced that it will reopen on Wednesday, May 20, and Valley View Casino & Hotel, near Valley Center, will reopen on Friday, May 22.  Other properties planning to open soon include the new Cahuilla Casino Hotel in Anza (May 27) and Pechanga Casino in Temecula (June 1).

Finally, cheers to the weekend from Northern California’s IDOL Beer Works:

That’s all for this evening. Stay safe. Stay smart. Stay home.   

Thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs.

These are stressful times for all of us. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and our desert community stronger. This link has some resources to help with coping and also numbers to call or text if you, or someone you know, feels overwhelmed.

Please, take care of yourself and each other. You are important. You are valued. You are loved. 💚🌵

Anything we missed? Let us know about it.