Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Saturday, May 16

(📸: Gabriela Vázquez Miranda)

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 Friday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 5,618 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 178 people have been reported to have tested positive in the last 24 hours
  • 242 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus.
    • 7 people have been reported dead in the last 24 hours.
  • There are currently 184 confirmed cases hospitalized.
    • 68 of those people in the ICU.
  • There have been 3,430 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 80,937 tests.
    • There have been 1,998 reported tests in the last 24 hours.

As of 4 pm Friday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 3,311 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 150 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 10 pm Friday, there have been 76,941 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 3,154 confirmed deaths in the state.


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


A new study shows that hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by President Trump, does not work against COVID-19 and could cause heart problems.  The study is the largest of its kind about the drug so far.  The drug was heavily promoted by Trump, Fox News, and (probably) a lot of people in your Facebook feed in March and early April, but hasn’t been mentioned much by any of them as of late. Of the study, an infectious disease expert told CNN, “The nail has virtually been put in the coffin of hydroxychloroquine.”

For those looking to get tested for coronavirus, the Coachella Valley has sites in Desert Hot Springs, Indio, and Mecca.  Call 1-800-945-6171 for an appointment:

The Desert Sun’s Editorial Board has called out the Riverside County Supervisors for unanimously voting to rescind the county’s health orders.  “Riverside County supervisors eager to reopen businesses overshot their goal and sent a message that not only undercut much of what has gone right so far during the coronavirus pandemic, it further frustrated and confused residents and local officials,” they write. “This mish-mash of rules for our desert community is not only foolish, it’s dangerous. We are a community, after all, yet the supervisors have now managed to effectively codify a symbolic ‘us vs. them,’ ‘Yes, I’ll mask/No I won’t!’ conflict that our already stress-chafed society doesn’t need.”

As we approach 90,000 deaths in the United States, President Trump tweeted Saturday morning about the “GREAT job” his administration is doing:

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday appealed to a group of Native American tribes to reconsider plans to reopen their casinos in the coming days, warning that the coronavirus pandemic poses a continuing threat to public health.  In a letter to tribal leaders, Newsom reminded them that more than 75,000 Californians have tested positive for COVID-19 in 54 of the state’s 58 counties and the numbers are increasing. While no Coachella Valley casino have announced dates for reopening, two San Diego properties plan to open next week.  Sycuan Casino Resort, near El Cajon, has announced that it will reopen on Wednesday, May 20, and Valley View Casino & Hotel, near Valley Center, will reopen on Friday, May 22.  Other properties planning to open soon include the new Cahuilla Casino Hotel in Anza (May 27) and Pechanga Casino in Temecula (June 1).

I’ve worked in grocery stores since I was 20 years old. The best part of my job has always been the people. You never know who you might talk to during the day: It could be someone who’s homeless, or someone with a million dollars in their bank account. Everyone has to buy food. Working here, you see the actual face of society. That’s the worst part of my job now. These days, you can’t help but see strangers in terms of risk. – Donte Martin, the front-end manager at a Maryland grocery writes in an essay about what it’s like to work in the industry during the pandemic.

The Red Barn in Palm Desert received a letter from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control telling the operators of the Palm Desert bar to stop operating during the stay-at-home order, reports the Desert Sun.  “The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has observed that your licensed premises is open to the public and you are permitting people to gather and congregate” the letter said.  The ABC states that, if the “disorderly house” is continued, the Red Barn would face administrative action or the possibility of having its liquor license suspended or revoked. The owner of the bar told the newspaper that, “the bar’s never been open.” The Facebook account for Red barn posted they were looking for bands to perform today:

We are looking for a few bands to play Saturday between 11am to 2am for a grand re-opening. Taking back Life, Liberty and Freedom Party.

Posted by Red Barn of Palm Desert on Thursday, May 14, 2020

The San Bernardino National Forest will reopen several of its campgrounds next week, with some new rules in place. Showers will be closed, double sites are limited to a maximum of 10 people, and, when hiking, people should communicate with trail users and step aside to let them pass:

San Bernardino National Forest recreation updateThe San Bernardino National Forest has made the decision to open the…

Posted by U.S. Forest Service – San Bernardino National Forest on Friday, May 15, 2020

The warm weather in summer could help slow the spread of coronavirus, but health experts warn: Any benefit from summer conditions would likely be lost if people mistakenly believe the virus can’t spread in warm weather and abandon efforts that limit infections, such as social distancing. “Clearly, I believe weather is impacting it — it’s just not impacting it enough to completely eliminate transmission,” a researcher told the Washington Post. “That’s why we’re still seeing cases in Florida and Texas and Tennessee. It seems to be preventing a big exponential rise in cases.”

Finally, a Utah woman has raised over $56,000 for charity by selling, well, let’s say unique face masks. Mindy Vincent posted about her masks in early April, which are decorated in such a way to ensure proper social distancing:

Behold! My masks have arrived! I wore this to Walmart and petco today. When someone tells me my mask has penises on it,…

Posted by Mindy Vincent on Thursday, April 9, 2020

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.