Home News Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Friday evening, May 22

Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Friday evening, May 22

Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Friday evening, May 22
(📸: 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.

This is the last update for a few days.  Thank you for your support.  Be well and enjoy your weekend.

As of 3 pm Friday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 6,464 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 121 people have been reported to have tested positive in the last 24 hours.
  • 290 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus.
    • There were 6 reported deaths of people in the last 24 hours.
  • There are currently 194 confirmed cases hospitalized.
    • 64 of those people in the ICU.
  • There have been 4,180 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 95,977 tests.

As of 3 pm Friday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 4,146 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 173 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 4 pm Thursday, there have been 90,101 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 3,657 confirmed deaths in the state.

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


The state of California has approved Riverside County to accelerate the reopening of certain sectors. The move, which is Stage 2.5 of the state’s 4 stage reopening plan, allows restaurants to open for dine-in service and retail options like shopping malls, strip malls, and swap meets to also reopen. “This is a huge success for counties and for local businesses,” Riverside County Supervisor Manny Perez said. Schools “with modifications” are also allowed to open in the this stage of reopening, but a county public health order has schools closed until June 19.

The Desert Sun’s Editorial Board asks that everyone work together to make reopening the area safe.  They write, “Moving forward, all of us need to continue smart efforts so we don’t backtrack on the success we’ve seen, and that sprung from the extreme sacrifices made by all in our society. These efforts include maintaining a safe distance (6 feet remains strongly recommended) from one another in situations that involve others not in our own households and donning a face covering to help keep those of us who might be unwittingly carrying the virus from spreading it to others.”

The three public school districts in the desert have announced plans to hold drive-up celebrations for 2020 grads.  Graduation ceremonies will still be virtual, but the recent easing of some restrictions will allow for the opportunity for local seniors to walk across a stage in cap and gown for a photo or video.

Several local casinos reopened on Friday, including Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella. About 150 people were in line to get in at the reopening at 10 am, including one person who yelled “freedom.” One guest who drove out from Banning told the newspaper, “I saved a lot of money the last couple months, quarantined inside, hopefully I don’t lose it today.”

Meanwhile, this was the scene at Casino Morongo:

Despite not having its stores open, curbside and delivery from online sales helped Best Buy to retain 81% of its sales compared to last year during the pandemic. “There are scenarios we plan for as business leaders, and then there are events that simply do not have a playbook,” Best Buy’s CEO told shareholders on Thursday. “This is one of those times.”  Meanwhile, it took Macy’s nine weeks into the pandemic to introduce curbside pickup, which resulted in the chain seeing sales drop 45%.

Traffic at Palm Springs International Airport dropped by nearly 97% in April.  Last year, the airport saw over 300,000 passengers in April, this year, there were only about 10,000. “This has been heart-breaking,” said the CEO of the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau.

President Donald Trump demanded that churches be allowed to reopen on Friday, in a move that was both surprising and may be due to some sagging poll numbers among evangelicals.  As the call to reopen churches in the state really isn’t up to the President, Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed to provide plans on Monday for how to safely reopen churches in California.

NBA legend and Georgetown basketball coach Patrick Ewing announced he was hospitalized with coronavirus.  “I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Ewing said in a statement. “This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.”

Just in time for the holiday weekend, Best Beverage Catering (at the Empire Polo Fields) is having a Booze-A-Palooza warehouse sale all weekend with mixers and tons of bottles of your favorite beer, wine, and liquor.  The event runs til 9 pm on Friday, then on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-7pm.  It’s taking place in the warehouse next to Polo Pizza in Indio:

Finally, we are headed into an exciting and terrifying time as things begin to reopen this weekend.  Remember, we are not even close to being out of this awful thing yet.  We all want “things to go back to normal,” but that’s just not how it is right now. Continue to be safe and smart about the things you do.  Wear a mask, keep your distance, and keep washing your hands. None of us want to go through all of this again and, if we are smart and safe, hopefully we won’t have to.

This virus does not attack right away. The effects of the actions we take today won’t be known right away – and, in fact, they won’t be known for at least several weeks.  It’s great that many more local businesses will now have a chance to reopen and we should all try to support them the best we can. And that doesn’t just mean buying things, that means making sure we do everything we can to not increase infections of the coronavirus. Every indication is that most of us have been doing a pretty good to keep each other safe, so let’s keep that going.

Sure, I know we all hear from a small majority of people bitch about their “freedoms” when it comes to social distancing and masks, but how free is anyone if they have to be put in a hospital bed and hooked up to a ventilator? Because, seriously, when it comes down to it, wearing something over your face and keeping your distance from others doesn’t make you weak or look stupid, wearing one actually shows that you care deeply about others, yourself, and your family – and let me tell you, there’s nothing that looks cooler, stronger, and sexier than that.

Be safe out there.  Thanks for supporting local businesses in the Coachella Valley, including this website.

See you in a few days.

These updates will now pause from Saturday through Monday for Memorial Day Weekend.  Also, starting Tuesday, these updates will be posted once-a-day in the afternoon, with other stories (coronavirus and non-coronavirus) posted as necessary throughout the day. 

That’s all for this morning. 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.