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As State Reopens, A Look Back At Loss, Adaptation, Resilience – Final COVID-19 Update For June 18

California Governor Facebook Page

After 15 months of pandemic-related restrictions, California is back open for business. In downtown Clovis, reactions ranged from cautious optimism to elation.

“I still think we should keep our precautions, just to be on the safe side,” says emergency room nurse Angelica Martinez. She’s grateful she hasn’t contracted COVID, but knows the risks aren’t completely gone.


Business owner Sherri Cooley’s teenaged children have struggled with social restrictions and distance learning. “I’m super grateful,” she says, happy they can receive some recognition for being vaccinated as early as they were eligible.


“It’s about dang time,” says videographer Nick MacNeill, who had to pivot from documenting weddings and quinceañeras to reviewing products for Youtube.


Jeff Pascua took a job as a truck driver for the Salvation Army after his photography and event production business evaporated during the pandemic. Now, “it’s like, ‘ok, I can breathe,’” he says, sitting with a cup of coffee outside a café.


The pandemic isn’t over, but it seems to be under control. And so, because of that, this is our final weekly COVID update. To commemorate the occasion, we followed up with a few people we’ve featured in this segment during the past year, to see how they’re doing and learn what they’ll carry with them from this upside-down experience. This interview includes excerpts of conversations with Kern High School District lead social worker Kimberly Reynolds, Fresno trucker owner-operator Sunny Grewal, Tulare County citrus grower Eric Bream, and UC Merced health psychologist Jennifer Howell.


Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot for Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Tulare Counties (note that some numbers may have changed between the interview and publication):


As of June 17:

As of 1 week previous, June 10:

As of 4 weeks previous, May 20:

You can always find up-to-date information for your county here.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.