Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Wednesday, July 1

(📸: 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 Wednesday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 18,041 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.  745 people have been reported positive in the last 24 hours.
  • 463 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus. This number includes six people reported dead in the last 24 hours.

Here’s the latest from the Coachella Valley:

As of 3 pm Wednesday, San Bernardino County has confirmed:

  • 12,746 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 258 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus.

As of 4 pm Wednesday, the State of California has confirmed:

  • 237,048 people have official tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 6,152 people are confirmed to have died in the state of CA from the coronavirus.


Before the updates, a quick word…


Sorry, should have warned it would also be a bad word too. Anyway, Ugh.  Riverside County (and many other parts of California) took a step back on Wednesday. As coronavirus cases surge with record numbers and hospital beds fill up to dangerously high levels, officials were left with no other choice than to shut down indoor activities like dining at restaurants along with bars, movie theaters, wineries, and other sectors (to be clear, restaurants can still open, just with outdoor options). 

It’s just a fact: The virus easily spreads indoors and, unfortunately, removing a mask to chow down on a steak inside your favorite restaurant or singing karaoke at your fave dive bar just isn’t a wise (or safe) move right now.  And so now it’s not allowed at all again for at least three weeks.  Was it the right call?  Yeah, probably.  Does it also still suck?  Yes, it does.  

The last few days have been a series of jabs – as cases rise, hospitals fill up, and everything just started to feel a lot like the scary days of early April all over again – though toilet paper is in stores now, so that’s nice. This was followed by Wednesday’s news of the indoor closures – which, while not unexpected, was still a punch right to the gut.  It stinks to go backward.  All that time of staying at home and being careful, all out the window.  We all want things to go back to normal, but the virus is surging and people are dying.  So here we are. It sucks. A lot. But, it is what it is.

But, as bad as things feel today, there is hope.  Our health experts, who have now shown they know much more about how to safely reopen over all those businesspeople the county supervisors listened to over their own health department, have learned a lot more about the virus in the past couple of months, most notably: wearing masks helps a lot (so much so that even you-know-who was kind of endorsing masks today…more on that below) and anything that can be done outdoors should absolutely be done outdoors.

There was a lot of talk a while back about allowing restaurants to expand into parking lots and streets to allow people to still dine out during coronavirus.  Rather than try to make that happen in some sort of way, the past month has instead been more of an “ignore the virus and hope it goes away” kind of a situation and, well, that didn’t work out well at all.

So, how about listening to those who know their shit and giving the outdoor thing a try?  Yes, I know, it’s hot in the desert…but it’s tolerable after dark and, if you can help your favorite neighborhood bar stay open and their employees paid during a pandemic by having a beer in their socially distanced parking lot at 8 pm, why not?   We can also apply this to other situations as well with parking lot sales, drive-in concerts, and whatever else minds more creative than mine can come up with.  Hell, I might even wake up at 5 am if a restaurant had a badass brunch they were serving outside before it gets hot out. Are any of these things perfect?  God no.  But, it beats getting a surge of coronavirus and having to shut things down.  

We can get through this thing – but, it’s not going to be easy.  Don’t give up.  Don’t lose hope. Don’t stop supporting your local restaurants.  And restaurants, if you are getting creative with your outdoor or takeout offerings, let me know about it so I can pass it along to the 3 or 4 people reading this website.  I want to help. 

Stay strong and stay smart, my friend. Things will get better. It’s just not going to happen today. 

Now on with the updates:

As mentioned above, the governor shut a lot of indoor things back down on Wednesday in Riverside County and across much of California.  “This doesn’t mean restaurants shut down,” Newsom said. “It means we’re trying to take activities, as many activities as we can, these mixed activities, and move them outdoors, which is a way of mitigating the spread of this virus.”

The county’s public health officer is asking residents to celebrate the 4th of July at home without visitors this weekend. “We don’t want any more closures, but our numbers are going through the roof,” said Dr.Cameron Kaiser. “Bars are part of the problem but so are private gatherings. Please don’t mix households, even if you think everyone is healthy, and instead celebrate the holiday with the people you live with. We started seeing more and more cases after Memorial Day and we can’t afford another jump after the Fourth of July.”

California lawmakers called out state corrections officials’ “failure of leadership” on Wednesday, saying they botched their handling of the coronavirus pandemic by inadvertently transferring infected inmates to a virus-free prison, triggering the state’s worst prison outbreak. A third of the 3,500 inmates at San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco have tested positive since officials transferred 121 inmates from the California Institution for Men in Chino on May 30 without properly testing them for infections. “I don’t say this lightly, but this is a failure of leadership. This crisis is completely avoidable,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire.

Newport Beach will close its beaches for the July 4th weekend. The City Council said early this week that its beaches would stay open during the 4th of July weekend with increased patrols.  But Wednesday, the council voted to shut them down with a 6-1 vote. City fire officials had expressed concern during the meeting after announcing that two seasonal lifeguards tested positive for COVID-19. Twenty-three other individuals who were possibly exposed are in quarantine.

President Donald Trump actually said good things about masks on Wednesday.  He also said he looked like the Lone Ranger when wearing a mask.  Sure, the Lone Ranger wears his mask over his eyes, but we’ll take it.  Yes, he also said the virus will “just disappear” but, hey, anything that can get more people to wear masks right now is good, so let’s take what we can get:


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.