Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Monday evening, May 18

(📸: 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 3 pm Monday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 5,952 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 334 people have been reported to have tested positive since the last reporting on Friday.
  • 261 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus.
    • 19 people have been reported dead since the last reporting on Friday.
  • There are currently 186 confirmed cases hospitalized.
    • 68 of those people in the ICU.
  • There have been 3,833 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 85,304 tests.
    • There have been 4,367 reported tests in the last 24 hours.

As of 3 pm Monday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 3,593 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 155 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 3 pm Monday, there have been 80,969 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 3,260 confirmed deaths in the state.


 

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


California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Monday the state will begin to loosen the criteria for counties linking coronavirus infection rates to allowed activities.  “We recognize the conditions across the state are unique and distinctive depending where you are,” Newsom said in a statement.

The new rules will allow restaurant dining rooms and indoor retailers like shopping malls to open again soon in counties that meet the new criteria and wish to move forward. Newsom also hinted that bigger changes (salons, churches, sports without fans in the seats) could be a few weeks away:

Supervisor Manny Perez told the Desert Sun he is excited about the governor’s move, but the county won’t give up its fight to keep people safe and alive during the pandemic.  “The message is that this is a parallel effort,” Perez said to the newspaper. “We aren’t going to let up our efforts in fighting the pandemic. I don’t want to stir up people’s fears and concerns about that. We aren’t pivoting away from that, but we are attempting to fight the pandemic while we also work on recovering the economy slowly and in phases.”  Perez voted to do away with mandatory face coverings and other health orders in the county two weeks ago in a vote that the Desert Sun’s Editorial Board called “a mistake.”

The city of Palm Desert announced various programs they claim are geared to help small businesses in the city who have been negatively affected by coronavirus.  The move follows initiatives by other local cities, such as Rancho Mirage and La Quinta, which were offered back in March. The program, which includes up to $1 million in loans for businesses, also includes $50,000 to fund an independent Cal State campus at its current location, $50,000 for business organizations like the chamber of commerce, and $900,000 for an incentive program that would offer vouchers for discounted meals for people who book a certain number of nights at a hotel in the city.

Viejas Casino, east of San Diego, reopened on Monday.  The LA Times interviewed a few of those eager to return to gambling.  “I’m a religious person,” on said to the newspaper, adding, “I believe when my number comes, my number comes.”  Another added, “If you’re healthy, you’re fine,” she said. “I’m ready to spend some of that stimulus.”

President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug the government’s own Food and Drug Administration cautioned against the use of outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems. “I’m taking it for about a week and a half now and I’m still here, I’m still here,” he said.

Many believe the president wasn’t telling the truth.  Others were stunned by the announcement, including a Fox News host who warned, “This will kill you.”

Anxiety over public transit combined with a desire for many to exercise has led to a boom for bicycle sales. In March, nationwide sales of bicycles, equipment and repair services nearly doubled compared with the same period last year, reports the New York Times.  Sales of commuter and fitness bikes in the same month increased 66 percent, leisure bikes jumped 121 percent, children’s bikes went up 59 percent and electric bikes rose 85 percent.

As many restaurants have transitioned to takeout and delivery, Chuck E Cheese’s has gone so far as to rename itself on GrubHub. Those looking up pizza in areas with one of the chain’s restaurants – including in Palm Desert – will find a listing for Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings, which shares the same address as Chuck E Cheese’s.  A rep for the company explained why in a statement provided to NBC News.  “CEC Entertainment, Inc. recently launched Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings nationwide. Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings, named after another favorite member of Munch’s Make Believe Band, shares kitchen space with the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, ensuring high-quality, fresh ingredients.”

Finally, a Maryland restaurant has a unique idea to make sure its patrons practice social distancing:

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.