Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Saturday, May 9

(?: 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 4 pm Friday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 4,817 people have tested positive for COVID-19. 61 people have tested positive in the last 24 hours.  
  • 204 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus. There were 12 new people reported dead in the last 24 hours.
  • There are currently 193 confirmed cases hospitalized, with 79 of them in the ICU.
  • There have been 2,480 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 66,576 tests.

As of 4 pm Friday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 2,629 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 11 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 2:30 pm, there have been 64,532 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 2,630 confirmed deaths in the state.

There is a lot of focus on the daily numbers, but as the Press Enterprise explains, the daily update is not the complete picture of what is happening.  Coronavirus deaths are announced only after the county’s health department learns of it, and announces it as part of that day’s tally.  It then becomes its “report date.” But, most of those people didn’t get sick or die in the previous 24 hours – it just took few days for that information to get to the counties.  As the newspaper notes, testing results can take even longer.

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

A team at Rutgers University received an amended emergency use authorization from the FDA late Thursday for the first COVID-19 test that will allow people to collect their own saliva at home and send to a lab for results . “By significantly increasing the number of people who can be tested every day, we are helping combat this pandemic and providing a way to move our communities forward,” Chancellor Chris Molloy said in a statement.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors met again on Friday, just three days after punting on a decision on whether or not to rescind four items in the county’s health orders.  It was pretty evident early how things were going to go:

After another marathon session of wild public comments and debate on Friday, the supervisors voted to override their own public health officer’s orders and rescind county health orders. The measures voted away with include: social distancing, face coverings, restrictions on golf courses, and barring short-term rentals. The supervisors decided against rescinding an order mandating all schools stay closed through June 19. Instead, they amended the order to include only K-12 schools. The supervisors did agree that they will recommend not-yet-released principles to reopen the county but those will not be mandated. California law still requires all cities and counties to abide by the guidelines set by the governor and the California Department of Public Health

As the Desert Sun notes that as of Friday, Riverside County had reported the state’s second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases (4,817) and deaths (204).

Though he is now not able to mandate anything in the county for the health of its people, the county’s top health official, Cameron Kaiser, still strong recommends wearing a face covering and practicing social distancing “whenever practical and within reason”:

San Bernardino County officials have also relaxed their health orders, announcing that face masks are now optional. The county says that gatherings and short-term rentals are still prohibited and social distancing at essential businesses are still required under the state’s Stay-at-Home order, although it will no longer regulated by the county health order.  Despite making them optional, county leaders still strongly recommend that people wear them.

Editor’s Note: The above decisions will likely lead to some choosing not to wear masks anymore, but as a reminder: wearing a mask protects other people from you.  

Friday morning, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco woke up early to be a guest on Fox and Friends at 3:30 am Pacific Time.  Bianco explained that, though the county had issued orders, as the top cop, he chose simply not to enforce them.  “It’s time to get back opening up our businesses and letting our people do what our normal business activities are,” he said. “And, you know, you just can’t arrest somebody for going out and exercising in public or not wearing a mask. You know, at the same time they are trying to force me to release real criminals from jail. They want me to make criminals out of law-abiding citizens that are, you know, trying to support a family. It doesn’t make sense anymore.”  Bianco added  that we “don’t need the government being our parents” and claimed the number of coronavirus cases in the county “are not coming out like they told us in the beginning.”  He was not asked about conditions in the county jail system or how a federal judge found last month that the Sheriff’s Department “failed to demonstrate that it is currently taking adequate precautions” to protect inmates:

When asked about the importance of vaccines, President Donald Trump said on Friday that coronavirus “will go away without a vaccine”:


Dr. Andrew Ordon, a valley plastic surgeon and co-host on the tv show “The Doctors,” recounted his battle with coronavirus.  Ordon said he had severe night sweats, chills, and a “deep, centralized” cough that the doctor said he’s “never had before in [his] life.”  He said he battled it for 10 days. “I was scared. I wasn’t sure what I had, and certain distinct symptoms presented themselves,” Ordon recalled.

Citing economic conditions from the coronavirus pandemic, the Desert Ice castle has closed for good.

A giveaway of food and masks will take place at Miles Park in in Indio on Wednesday.  Chandi Group USA and Sikh Temple Gurdwara Sahib Indio will prepare and donate over 3,000 hot meals on a first come, first served basis beginning at 11 am. The groups will also have 5,000 surgical face masks to be donated to families who drive through. The public may access the food giveaway at Miles Avenue Park by turning north onto Arabia Street only from Miles Avenue, either east or westbound. Cars will exit onto Leroy Way.

Finally, thinking about some takeout for mom?

That’s all for this morning. 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.