News

Courtesy of Faith in the Valley

For most people, rent is due the first of the month. The city of Fresno passed an ordinance that allows renters to cite the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for not paying rent this month, but the burden of proof is on the tenant. 

Eleven States Don't Track Or Reveal COVID-19 Hospitalizations

Mar 27, 2020
American Public Media

The worst-case scenario for COVID-19 is that hospitals become overwhelmed with patients. If too many people become seriously ill too fast, there won't be enough ICU beds and ventilators for everyone who needs them, public health officials nationwide are warning, which could cause many more deaths from the virus.

Credit: The Big Fresno Fair

 

The Fresno Fairgrounds will soon be the site of a makeshift hospital set up to treat potential COVID-19 patients whose cases are less severe. The effort is to take pressure off of local hospitals. 

“We want to prepare for the potential of this virus just having a tremendous impact on our hospitals. So fairgrounds will become a location where we can accept patients that are not in need of critical care that maybe only hospitals can provide,” said County Supervisor Nathan Magsig. 

Gena Lew Gong

We’ve recently asked our listeners for audio postcards about how the pandemic is affecting them. Today, we’re going to hear from poet Lee Herrick and writer Lisa Lee Herrick who sent a voice memo from their home.

We also hear from Bakersfield resident Randy Villegas who is sheltering in place. Clovis resident and Fresno State lecturer Gena Lew Gong starts us off with a voice memo describing the threats and racism many Asian-Americans are experiencing right now.   

On this week’s Valley Edition: With COVID-19 cases growing at exponential rates, how are local governments, hospitals and nonprofits dealing with the pandemic? We find out how the virus is shaping preparedness plans in the short and long term.   

And we share personal accounts of how the coronavirus is impacting the lives of the Valley’s residents, and how they’re coping.  

Plus, a single mother of two who is living in a homeless shelter with her family gives us some words of hope.

 

Fresno County Jail (file photo)

It’s hard to practice social distancing when you’re in jail and the close quarters increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus. That’s why one Fresno attorney is trying to get his vulnerable client out.

Armando Toro, 62, has diabetes and high blood pressure. These pre-existing conditions put him at a higher risk of becoming severely ill if he’s infected. 

Advocates are pushing to expand a cash back tax credit program that would provide more money to people who may be employed, undocumented, and still living in poverty.

As people begin to feel the loss in income due to the coronavirus outbreak, advocates are urging Governor Gavin Newsom to use a portion of California's Emergency COVID-19 Funding to expand the tax credit program, CalEITC. 

CalEITC has expanded every year since 2015, but continues to exclude ITIN taxfilers or undocumented taxpayers. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

As COVID-19 case numbers rise, one Fresno-based company has pledged $100,000 to help with grocery shopping.

Volunteers from Bitwise Industries have made close to a hundred trips in Fresno, Madera and Tulare Counties delivering groceries and medications to elderly and immune-compromised people. Vice President Terry Solis said it’s part of the company’s new “Take Care” initiative.

 

Solis said she’s taking the necessary hand-washing and social distancing precautions.

The Fresno Unified School District and all Fresno County Public Library branches are temporarily closed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But despite those closures, one Fresno librarian is still bringing story time to her students, via the web.

 

 

Colleges across the state are going to online classes, and for many students, that means heading home to parents. But for some students, that’s not an option.

Take the 69 students at Fresno State who are current or former foster care youth. They’re all part of an academic support program called Renaissance Scholars. Academic advisor Adriana Vasquez says her students are anxious.  

  

On this week's Valley Edition: With children home from school and concern about COVID-19 on the rise, how do parents protect the mental health of their kids? We talk to pediatric psychologist Dr. Amanda Suplee for some guidance.

We also speak with Fresno County Director of Behavioral Health Dawan Utecht, UCSF Fresno emergency room physician Dr. Manavjeet Sidhu, and University of California, Merced economist and professor Ketki Sheth to answer some of the mental health, physical health and economic questions sent in by listeners about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tower Yoga Website

As residents and business owners take on the city of Fresno’s “shelter in place” recommendation, which went into effect Thursday, many are turning to the web to keep their services going. 

The city released a list of “Essential” and “Non-Essential” businesses. Officials are advising residents to cease trips to non-essential businesses, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Grocery and hardware stores made the “Essential” list, but bars and hair salons did not. 

Madi Bolanos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As state and local officials advise older Americans to stay indoors and away from crowds amid coronavirus concerns, supermarkets are working to accommodate their needs. 

 

This week, Vallarta, an American supermarket chain that caters to Latino customers,

Valley Children's Hospital

 

With children home from school and concern about COVID-19 on the rise, how do parents protect the mental health of their children?

According to Valley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Amanda Suplee, honest communication, using age-appropriate language and building a strong routine in the home are some ways to support the emotional life of children during these uncertain times.

The current COVID-19 crisis has disrupted just about every aspect of our lives, and the situation is no different for the staff of Valley Public Radio. We have experienced an unprecedented interruption of our normal operations, yet every day our team members continue to work hard to bring you the national, statewide and local programming you rely on. Our programming remains on-air, and while several station events including our wine tasting will be rescheduled, we remain committed to keeping you informed and inspired during these challenging times.

Madi Bolanos

The city of Fresno issued a voluntary shelter in place order Wednesday to go into effect Thursday at midnight. Residents are being asked to leave their homes for essential services only.  

Due to the Coronavirus crisis, we have temporarily suspended our local broadcasts of Clearly Classical and Young Artists Spotlight, and have directed nearly all station employees to work from home. As a result, we have temporarily replaced those locally-produced programs with network classical music programming from our friends at Classical 24, which is a national, live-hosted classical music program from American Public Media and PRX.

Fresno County Public Library Facebook

Many public and private establishments across the San Joaquin Valley are closing temporarily in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This comes after increasing recommendations from federal, state and local officials to maintain social distancing.

Fresno, Tulare and Kern Counties have closed all of their library branches. Fresno’s libraries will be closed until April 14; Kern County libraries will be closed until April 13; and Tulare County libraries will be closed until the end of March. However, patrons can continue to use online library resources. 

Ezra David Romero / KVPR

The spread of COVID-19 is forcing many people to work from home, but for farmworkers that’s not an option.  

Take Eucebia and Alejandro; the couple asked to go by their first names only. They have three kids and no savings. In the past two weeks, they’ve been asked to leave two picking jobs, first in almonds, then in grapes. The second job at Fowler Packing only lasted two days before the contractor told them to leave.

“She said that there wasn't going to be any work, that everything had been canceled,” Eucebia said. 

Stephanie Erikson

The National Park Service announced that while Yosemite remains open, its visitor centers, hotels and restaurants are now closed in response to COVID-19 concerns.

 

Scott Fiester with the Mariposa Chamber of Commerce said the temporary closures in Yosemite are the latest blow to Mariposa businesses already reeling from sharp travel declines in response to COVID-19.

 

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