Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Monday evening, May 4

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

  • 4,354 people have tested positive for COVID-19.  174 people have tested positive in the last 24 hours.  
  • 181 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus. There were 20 new people reported dead in the last 24 hours.
  • There are currently 217 confirmed cases hospitalized, with 78 of them in the ICU.
  • There have been 1,982 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 56,251 tests.

As of 3 pm Saturday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 2,182 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 97 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 4 pm Monday, there have been 55,883 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 2,276 confirmed deaths in the state.

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

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that some businesses can reopen as early as Friday, with restrictions, as part of the second stage of reopening the economy.  Friday’s openings would include retail stores with curbside pickup. Other businesses like restaurants and malls would remain closed.  Offices would be asked to still have employees work at home:

Officials from around Riverside County made their case to reopen the economy to the Riverside County Supervisors on Monday. “We have a war on two fronts, with the virus and the economy,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “We don’t have a surge at the hospitals … but our economy is suffering. Our city and county budgets are at risk and, with over 190,000 unemployment claims in our county, we must turn our attention to the war on our economy.”  The Board of Supervisors are set to vote on eliminating health orders from the county’s top health officer on Tuesday.  Here’s how to reach them.

As officials look to ease stay-at-home orders, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which had previously predicted 72,433 deaths, updated their prediction to nearly double that number.  “We are seeing, of course, a rise in projected deaths for several reasons,” a professor with the study told CNN. “One of them is increased mobility before the relaxation, premature relaxation of social distancing, we’re adding more presumptive deaths as well, and we’re seeing a lot of outbreaks in the Midwest, for example.”

A draft report from the US government predicts COVID-19 cases will surge to about 200,000 per day by June 1, a huge jump that they say would be accompanied by more than 3,000 deaths each day.  The document, which was shared with the Washington Post, has the forecast stops at June 1, but shows both daily cases and deaths on an upward trajectory on that date. The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disavowed the report, although the slides carry the CDC’s logo.

“Welcome to 30 Days of Bliss” – Andy Slavitt, The Former Medicare, Medicaid & ACA head in the Obama Administration writes on Medium. In his post, Slavitt reasons that as officials relax health orders, the next, “30 days will be blissful because people won’t pay the price for May’s experiment until June. But if people believe we are opening during a time when the curve is flat, they are wrong.”

The city of Palm Desert, whose mayor proclaimed two weeks ago that it was time for everyone to go back to work, announced on Monday that it was delaying its new ranked choice voting system.  According to the Desert Sun, the council felt, “it would be unfair to roll out such a change at a time when voters are dealing with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“A Bargain With the Devil” – The Wall Street Journal reports on entrepreneurs who built mini-empires of short-term rental properties by borrowing against revenue, that’s now vanishing under coronavirus lockdowns.

The City of Coachella is partnering with Coachella Valley Unified School District to bring internet access to all students while schools are closed due to the coronavirus. The city will facilitate the purchase of 3,000 personal wireless hotspots that can be placed in homes throughout the city and surrounding areas, targeting the 40% of CVUSD students who do not already have service.  “Education is key to helping our children achieve a better future for themselves,” Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez said in a press release. “This is one way the city can bridge the digital divide and make sure no student falls behind because of a lack of internet service.”

The City of Indio has put up a billboard to honor the Class of 2020:

Tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo (on Taco Tuesday!!!) Maybe treat yourself to some takeout?  We have put together a list of local options here.

Finally, Coachella got into the Star Wars Day spirit today:

That’s all for this evening. 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.