Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Thursday evening, May 21

(?: 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 3 pm Thursday, Riverside County officials have confirmed:

  • 6,343 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.
    • 159 people have been reported to have tested positive in the last 24 hours.
  • 284 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus.
    • There were 14 reported deaths of people in the last 24 hours.
  • There are currently 183 confirmed cases hospitalized.
    • 67 of those people in the ICU.
  • There have been 4,016 official recovered cases in the county.
  • The county has conducted 93,101 tests.

As of 3 pm Thursday, San Bernardino County has confirmed 3,984 cases of COVID-19.  There have been 164 deaths in San Bernardino County.

As of 4 pm Thursday, there have been 87,939 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California.  There have been 3,581 confirmed deaths in the state.

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


THE CDC has updated their “How COVID-19 Spreads” website, noting that the coronavirus primarily spreads from person to person and not easily from a contaminated surface or from animals to humans. A spokeswoman for the CDC said the revisions were the product of an internal review and “usability testing.”

In a new poll released yesterday, 25% of Latinos in the United States said they know someone who has been infected with the coronavirus.  Of those Latinos, one-third reported knowing somebody who died from the coronavirus. More than 1 in 4 Latinos said they knew someone who wanted a test, but had not been able to get one. “As long as we remain the largest uninsured population in the country, we’re going to be susceptible to disproportionate impact when a health pandemic occurs,” the president of UnidosUS, the largest Latino nonprofit advocacy organization, told NBC News.

The first of 10,000 rapid COVID-19 antibody tests funded by the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation are being put to use at 10 sites that opened recently across the Coachella Valley. The tests are free and available to all. “This is a very important tool for helping us better establish the real rate of infection in the community and determine who might be able to return to work safely when the economy reopens,” said the CEO of Desert Healthcare District.” The District’s Board of Directors approved allocating $350,000 for the rapid antibody tests at a special meeting on April 3.  Below are the locations:

Eastern Coachella Valley

  • Borrego Health, City of Coachella, Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, Desert Healthcare District, Riverside County, 85365 Dillon Road in Coachella, just west of SR 86, south of Spotlight 29 Casino; (833) 624-1097. By appointment 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
  • Centro Medico Oasis, 88775 76 Avenue, Suite 1, Thermal; 760-397-2501 Drive-up and on-site testing 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Centro Medico Coachella, 55497 Van Buren St., Thermal; 760-399-4526. Drive-up testing 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday; on-site testing 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday- Friday
  • Martha’s Village Clinic, 83791 Date Ave., Indio; 760-391-6000. Drive-up testing 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday/Thursday; on-site testing 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday/Wednesday/Friday (closed noon to 1 p.m.)
  • Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, 50249 Cesar Chavez Street, Unit K, Coachella; 760-393-0555 Clinic testing by appointment 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, 91275 66th Avenue, Suite 500, Mecca; 760-396-1249 Clinic testing by appointment 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday

Western Coachella Valley

  • Centro Medico, 69175 Ramon Road, Bldg. A, Cathedral City; 760-321-6776 Drive-up testing 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Desert Hot Springs Community Health Center, 66675 Pierson Blvd., Desert Hot Springs; 760-676-5240. Drive-up and on-site testing 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Stonewall Medical Center, 68555 Ramon Road, Cathedral City; 760-507-3310 Drive up testing, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday/Thursday
  • Desert AIDS Project, 1695 N. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs; 760-992-0407 On-site testing by appointment 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday

Walmart reported some huge earnings during the coronavirus, with sales up 10% from earlier in the year. Walmart’s CEO spoke with shareholders this week about the type of spending the company has seen over the past two months, which may hold some good news for the economy going forward.  First came the “stock-up phase,” which entailed “unprecedented demand in categories like paper goods, surface cleaners, and grocery staples.” The second phase saw people buy items to adjust to the new normal (video games, bikes, home office chairs).   Then there is the third wave, that started after Easter, that Walmart calls “relief spending” which the CEO says “was heavily influenced by stimulus dollars leading to sales increases in categories such as apparel, televisions, video games, sporting goods and toys. “Discretionary categories really popped towards the end of the quarter” according to Walmart, and the CEO believes it has continued into May.

The President of the United States took a moment to tell reporters the results of his latest COVID-19 test Thursday morning:

He then flew to Michigan to tour a factory, which requires masks.  The President said he wore a mask, but took off the mask when he encountered the media, saying he took the mask off because he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure”…

…Unfortunately for the President, we now live in a TMZ world.

Note: Cactus Hugs appreciates any person who wears a mask during the pandemic, especially one who may have been recently in contact with at least two people who have tested positive for coronavirus and has even gone so far as to take hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure, despite most health officials warning against it. 

One last note on masks, a Fox News poll out today shows that 72% Americans say they wear a mask regularly when they go out in public.  Another 12% say they also do, but only some of the time.  The poll found only 8% of Americans never wear masks:

The vice president of the Palm Springs Police Officers Association penned an op-ed for the Desert Sun in which he suggests the city sell the $30 million in land it received as part of a  settlement with the former Wessman Company, since renamed Grit Development. “These non-revenue generating assets need to be sold now,” he writes. “They need to be turned into cash we need to fund the services upon which our community relies. If not, we face more extreme cuts in public safety and other critical city services.”

A Desert Sun reader disagrees, writing, “To sell these properties appears to be trying to solve a short-term problem by sacrificing long-term precious assets. If the parcels are to be sold, our short-sighted leaders should be recalled.”

Indian Wells is the latest city to issue an order requiring the wearing of masks in grocery and drug stores.  The city also “strongly recommends” wearing face coverings on other indoor spaces.  The move was necessary after the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted to rescind countywide orders two weeks ago, despite the advice of their own health officer, that has since thrown the responsibility of such measures to local governments.

Some residents inside of Sun City Shadow Hills told KMIR they are upset with the current rules of their homeowners’ association that enforce social distancing. “We are not to have anybody come over to our homes, be it family or whatever. The only person that can be in our homes are the people that live there,” a resident told The TV station.  The HOA is doling out citations to those who are not social distancing and wearing masks while outside. “I got a face mask violation, they say I did not wear my face mask when I was taking out my trash and I was in my own driveway,” another resident said.

Some casinos are reopening tomorrow, including Morongo Casino. If you are planning on heading in to lose your money on the slots, the casino reminds capacity will be limited, masks are required, and the hotel is open by invite only:

Yosemite National Park hopes to reopen in early June, but will limit the number of visitors by half to allow for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. The park does plan to open lodgings and some campgrounds and day visitors would be required to buy entry tickets in advance of their trips, according to a draft reopening plan presented this week.

Finally, a young man in Nashville recently graduated and his drive-thru ceremony was recorded and, well, just watch.  It’s pretty amazing:

Finally, a quick note.  These updates will pause from Saturday through Monday for Memorial Day Weekend.  Also, starting Tuesday, these updates will be posted once a day in the afternoon, with other stories (coronavirus and non-coronavirus) posted as necessary throughout the day. I hope you find at least some way to enjoy part of the weekend – as I will be attempting to do the same.  I thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs. – Casey

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.