Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Friday, May 1

(📸: Laura Vasquez)

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 1 pm Thursday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 4.031 people have tested positive for COVID-19.  89 people have tested positive in the last 24 hours.  
  • 149 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus. There were 6 people reported dead in the last 24 hours.
  • There are currently 212 confirmed cases hospitalized, with 78 of them in the ICU.
  • There have been 1,483 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 50,305 tests.

As of 4 pm Thursday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 2,058 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 93 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 11:15 pm Thursday, there have been 50,410 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 2,414 confirmed deaths in the state.

The numbers are increasing everyday.  They are not just numbers.  They are people.  The individual stories are heartbreaking:

The day after President Donald Trump said the coronavirus death toll might not exceed 50,000 or 60,000 people, the federal government placed orders for well over 100,000 new body bags to hold victims of COVID-19 on April 21, reports NBC News. The “human remains pouches” have not yet been paid for or shipped to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to the company’s marketing manager, Mike Pryor. “I hope to God that they don’t need my order and that they cancel it.” he said.

The White House’s social distancing guidelines expired on Thursday, leaving states largely in charge of public health orders.  Dr. Anthony S. Fauci warned local leaders to avoid “leapfrogging” critical milestones in an effort to reopen their economies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Obviously you could get away with that, but you’re making a really significant risk,” Fauci told CNN Thursday night.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors will vote on a proposal on Tuesday to rescind a series of public health orders put in place by public health officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser during the COVID-19 pandemic.  County Supervisors Manny Perez and Karen Spiegel, have submitted a motion to end four of Kaiser’s orders including those closing schools, restricting golf courses, limiting short-term rentals, and mandating wearing masks in public.  They say their proposal is an effort to align with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to reopen California in stages and they say that vacating the orders of the county’s health officer, Dr. Cameron Kaiser’s orders, is mostly a procedural move. The Desert Sun reached out to Kaiser, who declined to comment.  Contact information for the Board of Supervisors is here. You can make a public comment to the board here.

There has been an uptick in people hospitalized with coronavirus in the Coachella Valley.  Last week, the number of patients was in the low 20s.  This week, The Desert Sun reports there are 32 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 this at the valley’s three hospitals.  Officials couldn’t explain the reason for the increase, but called it “concerning.”

Businesses around the country have closed their doors, more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment, and yet the stock market just wrapped up its best month since 1987.

Warehouse workers and grocery employees at Amazon and its subsidiary Whole Foods and gig workers for Instacart and Target-owned Shipt are banding together for a walk-out protest today, which is also May Day, or International Workers Day.  The workers, who have shown just how essential they are during the pandemic, are calling for more personal protective equipment, professional cleaning services ,and hazard pay from their employers.

After closing twice during the pandemic, Mathis Brothers has, once again, deemed itself essential and opened the doors to its Indio showroom.

The first meeting of the City of Palm Springs’ Re-Entry Task Force met this week.  Mayor Geoff Kors told the Uken Report about what was discussed with the tourism and business officials who populate the group. “A lot of it focused on their phased approach to marketing Palm Springs once it’s safe to have tourists back,” Kors said. “We all believe that there‘ll be a lot more drive-market tourism than tourism from international destinations — or potentially even further — such as flights from the East Coast. But that also means that people who are in the Southwest of the United States are less likely to be going far away on their vacations and our destination may be a perfect place for them. We talked about all the hiking trails and the more open space (we have) than a vacation to an urban center that many people will be looking for. (We) could see people coming to Palm Springs as opposed to taking other types of trips.”

Governor Newsom ordered Orange County beaches closed for this weekend beginning today.  That doesn’t seem to have stopped some from heading there anyway:

What will flying be like in the age of coronavirus and social distancing?  SimpliFlying, a leading aviation marketing consulting firm, predicts a very different experience in the not-too-distant future including:

  • Online check-in: Passengers might need to upload a document to confirm the presence of COVID-19 antibodies before they fly.
  • Airport curbside: Passengers could be required to arrive at least four hours ahead of their flight and pass through a “disinfection tunnel” or thermal scanner.
  • Check-in and bag drop: Agents would be behind plexiglass shields, and passengers’ bags would be disinfected and then “sanitagged.”
  • Boarding areas: Sparse seating and touchless vending machines.  Priority boarding for essential workers.
  • The pre-flight safety video might include sanitation procedures. In-flight magazines will be removed, seatback pockets emptied, and passengers will likely use their own devices to watch videos. An in-flight janitor might keep lavatories and other high-touch areas disinfected after passenger use.

Thinking about getting some takeout this weekend?  Here are some local options:

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

Thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs.

Important information:

Congressman Raul Ruiz has posted a list of local resources and information.

The Washington Post offers plenty of ways that you can help during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you see someone price gouging, there is now a number for that.

The New York Times has an interactive map where you can track every coronavirus case in the United States.

The Washington Post is out with a guide to what you should know about the coronavirus.

Here is a memo by the Department of Homeland security identifying critical infrastructure workers.

The United Way of the Desert has assembled a nice list of information and resources available during the coronavirus here.

These are scary and anxious times.  Be safe and kind to each other out there and, please, remember to wash your hands.

Anything we missed? Let us know about it.