Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Friday, May 22

(📸: Sharon Calcagno)

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 3 pm Thursday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 6,343 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 159 people have been reported to have tested positive in the last 24 hours.
  • 284 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus.
    • There were 14 reported deaths of people in the last 24 hours.
  • There are currently 183 confirmed cases hospitalized.
    • 67 of those people in the ICU.
  • There have been 4,016 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 93,101 tests.

As of 3 pm Thursday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 3,984 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 164 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 4 pm Thursday, there have been 88,479 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 3,605 confirmed deaths in the state.


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


Researchers who examined the lungs of patients killed the coronavirus found evidence that COVID-19 is much worse than the flu.  According to their research, COVID-19 attacks the lining of blood vessels in the lungs – a critical difference from the lungs of people who died of the flu. Patients were also found to have suffered many microscopic blood clots and appeared to respond to the attack by growing tiny new blood vessels, the researchers reported.

A large study of 96,000 seriously ill coronavirus patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die or develop dangerous heart arrhythmias.  Researchers analyzed data from 671 hospitals from late December to mid-April, and had died or been discharged by April 21.  The President of the United States claims that he has been taking the drug.  He along with Fox News personalities have consistently touted hydroxychloroquine during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, sales of hydroxychloroquine have doubled from March 2019 to more than $50 million in March of this year, according to market research firm IQVIA, which tracks prescriptions dispensed by retail pharmacies including large chains and mail-order companies.

While hopes remain high for a vaccine, there is a possibility that one may never be found.  Vaccines are simple in principle but complex in practice.  The Guardian goes through why a vaccine might fail and what life could be like if that happens.

The Big Bear Lake City Council unanimously approved a statement rejecting the state’s stay-at-home rules.  The city manager for the mountain community says because of the low number of cases in Big Bear combined with the economic toll on local businesses, the city will not enforce the governor’s orders.  “We’re going to trust our community to do the right thing and keep people safe,” a city official said. The city attorney’s said business owners should also consider their individual risks if and when they choose to reopen.

The Palm Springs City Council met for 8 hours on Thursday to discuss the projected $76 million budget deficit.  About half the time was spent listening tp about 100 calls from residents concerned about losing services, selling city land, cutting staff, and other issues.  Nothing was finalized the council continued its discussions to 2 pm Tuesday.

The 2020-2021 school year is sneaking up fast, with classes normally beginning in 10 weeks.  Locally, school officials are trying to formulate how, exactly, to move forward.  “Instead of having a typical plan A and plan B, we have plans A – Z running in our minds right now, not knowing which plan we’re going to be in,” the Superintendent of Desert Sands Unified School District told KESQ.  All three local school districts say they are waiting on state guidelines before releasing district instructions.

Sunday’s quiet reopening of Joshua Tree National Park didn’t see many entering the park, but things started to pick up on Tuesday and Wednesday as word got out and visitors rushed to pick up one of the 520 open camping spots. Rangers told the LA Times that the crowds are  manageable so far, but it may be the beginning of a hot, busy, complicated Memorial Day weekend. With crowds in mind, the park has instituted one-way traffic on at least two of the park’s busiest loop trails, Barker Dam and Hidden Rocks. Entrance fees will also be back starting today.

Some local casinos are reopening their doors today. Spotlight 29, Casino Morongo, and both Agua Caliente see their first gaming since closing down in March.  Guests can expect new policies such as mandatory face coverings, temperature checks, and social distancing measures:

San Manuel Casino announced Thursday they will extend their closure into June.  In a news release, officials said they will look to local and state health and safety guidance to find a path to reopening and that while the casino could open on a June date, it is too early to tell. The casino said that for the first time in its history, it will have to implement furloughs and layoffs for some of its employees.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and, perhaps, you are thinking about getting out of town for a day trip.  ABC 7 has a roundup of what’s open and what’s closed around So Cal.

Finally, if you have been having a long, hard week, please enjoy a minute of bear cubs wrestling:

These updates will 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. I hope you find at least some way to enjoy part of the weekend – as I will be attempting to do the same.  I thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs. – Casey

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.