Coachella Valley coronavirus news and info | Wednesday, August 19

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:

  • 48,630 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.  430 people have been reported positive in the last 24 hours..
  • 917 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus. The county reported 4 new deaths in the last 24 hours

Here’s the latest from the Coachella Valley:

As of 4 pm Wednesday, San Bernardino County has confirmed:

  • 42,947 people have officially tested positive for COVID-19.
  • 621 people are confirmed to have died in the county from the coronavirus.

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

        • 643,385 people have official tested positive for COVID-19.
        • 11,604 people are confirmed to have died in the state of CA from the coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that the state will announce new protocols for reopening sectors of the economy sometime next week.  The announcement follows a request by Riverside County to begin reopening some sectors after Labor Day, followed just a few weeks later with things like events, wedding receptions, movie theaters, and bars, which, as you know, went terribly last time they did it. While Newsom declined to comment on the county’s proposal, the governor said his administration is working with local health officers and health experts from around the country to come up with more “prescriptive” and “dynamic” criteria top reopen safely…whatever that means.

The strictest lockdowns ended weeks ago around the country, but many people are avoiding crowded indoor places and it’s making for big changes in the country’s economy. As the New York Times reports, this shift in behavior may point to a long-term reshaping of American commerce.  The interesting article delves into the surge in people buying home improvement items, changes at grocery stores, a decrease in chain restaurant visits (while fast food places prosper), and more.

A couple of weeks ago, President Donald Trump announced he was issuing an order to temporarily stop payroll taxes on workers.  This week, the US Chamber of Commerce and more than 30 trade associations wrote in a letter to Congress and the Treasury Department that, if enacted, the measure would be unworkable. “Many of our members consider it unfair to employees to make a decision that would force a big tax bill on them next year,” the letter states. “It would also be unworkable to implement a system where employees make this decision,” wrote the groups, adding many of their members will likely decline to defer the tax.  The letter notes that workers making $50,000 a year could owe nearly $1,100 in payroll taxes in 2021, while those earning $104,000 could be hit with a tax bill of more than $2,200.

There are a ton of questions many have about unemployment insurance in California these days.  LAist has a good roundup of answers.

It was the first day of online learning for the new school year at DSUSD on Wednesday and things didn’t get off to the best start, as the district announced they had a server issue in the morning, which has since been resolved:

Working together in this new world of distance learning takes patience and understanding. First day of school with first…

Posted by Desert Sands Unified School District on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A survey of children’s advocacy centers across the country shows a dramatic drop in reported child abuse cases, with 40,000 less from January to June in 2020 than in 2019.   Officials believe that the pandemic has given teachers, doctors, and others fewer ways to detect it. “We have absolutely no reason to believe the actual incidence rate has declined,” said the executive director of the National Children’s Alliance. “What we really believe is that there are 40,000 fewer kids that haven’t been saved from abuse.”

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security released a report on who should be the first to get a vaccine, if and when one becomes available.  Their findings shouldn’t surprise: Frontline healthcare workers, emergency services personnel and those most vulnerable to the virus should be the first to get any eventual coronavirus vaccine, along with the people working to make and distribute the vaccine.

Morongo Casino is reopening their poker room this week. The casino will allow no more than seven players at tables; seats will be divided by plexiglass dividers; cards will be sanitized after every hour of play; and furniture will be cleaned between players. There will also be sanitizing stations throughout the space.

UPDATE! Poker will be REOPENING this FRIDAY, at NOON! Please visit to view our “Rules of the…

Posted by Morongo on Tuesday, August 18, 2020



The election is 75 days away:

  • You can register to vote here.  
  • Sign up for updates on your mail-in ballot here.
  • Sign up to be a poll worker in Riverside County here.

On that last bullet up there, A 2018 study from Pew Research Center showed the majority of U.S. poll workers, 58 percent, were over 60 years old.  They are at a high-risk group during the pandemic. If you can, consider being a poll worker. 


Stay cool.  Stay safe.  Wear a mask.

Thank you for your continued support of Cactus Hugs.

Anything we missed? Let us know about it.