Kerry Klein

Reporter

Kerry Klein is a radio and print reporter who’s covered issues ranging from air and water quality to renewable energy and space exploration. After stints at KQED, the San Jose Mercury News, and NASA, she freelanced for outlets like The Atlantic, Science and Stanford Magazine. In 2015, she was awarded a grant from the Public Radio Exchange to report a national story on the health effects of noise pollution.

After growing up near Boston, Kerry graduated from McGill University with a B.S. in geology. When she began working as an exploration geologist and geothermal energy analyst, radio reporting was a distant and unlikely future. But she found meaning in media while hosting a talk show at a Montreal public radio station and later while producing a podcast for Science Magazine. She subsequently studied science journalism at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is excited to be exploring community health and the rich diversity of the San Joaquin Valley here at KVPR.

When she’s not in front of a computer or microphone, Kerry can be found biking to the rock climbing gym, practicing her violin, or sewing a retro cocktail dress.

Ways to Connect

Tulare County Sheriff's Office

 

Slowly and steadily, COVID-19 is loosening its grip on the San Joaquin Valley. New cases are dropping, intensive care units are becoming less impacted, and every day, thousands more people are being vaccinated against the virus.

On this week's Valley Edition: Thousands of migrant workers come to California each year to do temporary labor in the Valley and send money back to their families. What has the pandemic been like for them? We go to Delano to talk to some workers from Mexico who have been living in a hotel for the past four months. 

 And, we speak with four registered nurses who work in ICUs throughout the San Joaquin Valley about the toll of treating COVID-19 patients over the last year. 

 

 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has filed a new complaint against the Tulare County Jail for its living conditions during the pandemic, alleging that the jail is failing to adequately test for COVID-19 and that its social distancing policy violates inmates’ constitutional rights. Filed last Thursday in federal court, the supplemental complaint is the latest development in a lawsuit originally brought against the jail last summer.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Ever since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began, every week has brought news of extremes, with success stories followed by supply problems and other hiccups in access and distribution. This week was no different, and included supply disruptions due to winter storms as well as an unexpected boost from the governor.

On this week's Valley Edition: Farm workers across the San Joaquin Valley are showing high levels of interest in getting the COVID-19 vaccine but they say information about where to go is scarce. 

 

But there is plenty of medical mistrust within communities of color and the reasons are complex. We talk about why.

 

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

When news of the pandemic first reached the men incarcerated at Avenal State Prison in central California, inmate Ed Welker said the prevailing mood was panic. “We were like, ‘Yeah, it’s going to come in here and it’s going to spread like wildfire and we’re all going to get it,’” he said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

 

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that the San Joaquin Valley will get a major boost to its COVID-19 vaccine allocation. That’s due in part to the region’s food and ag workers, who now are also receiving some priority access to the vaccine.

Valley counties will now be receiving thousands more doses each week, amounting to an average increase of 58%, thanks to a change in how the state is distributing vaccines.

 

 

On this week's Valley Edition: How the business community in Fresno’s Tower District has adjusted to the pandemic, and the incoming tenants that could change the face of the neighborhood. 

Plus, Black business owners are finding strength through community as they work to adapt their operating models to the pandemic.

 

We also hear about the Fresno State Art Song Festival, where poetry, musical composition and singing converge. 

 

County of Kern Facebook page

 

Shipments of more than 15,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine promised to the San Joaquin Valley have been delayed this week, thanks to severe weather that has snarled shipping and distribution networks in the central and eastern parts of the country.

“All of our doses for last week were held up because of weather,” or about 6,000 doses, said Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan during a media call on Friday.

Early on in the pandemic, the state of California put an emphasis on equity in its pandemic response, requiring specific levels of testing and outreach in disadvantaged census tracts in order for counties to advance through the state’s reopening blueprint.

Now, obstacles to vaccine access have introduced the potential for new disparities, and newly published state data shows what many have feared: that the vaccine isn’t being distributed equitably among racial and ethnic groups.

When Governor Gavin Newsom stopped in Fresno earlier this week, he was widely anticipated to announce that Fresno would be the site of the state’s newest mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The clinic, which he had alluded to earlier in the week, is expected to be run in partnership between the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and it would bring in thousands of vaccine doses each day beyond what the county already receives from the state.

On this week's Valley Edition: A small initiative in Fresno County to help a few elderly women stay safe during the pandemic keeps expanding. Now, Save Las Senioras delivers groceries to over 60 recipients in rural areas.

Plus, we remember Cookseyville, one of the Valley’s most celebrated Black settlements. 

 

And one year after fire destroyed Porterville’s library, a handful of tiny libraries are springing up in its place. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

During a visit to Fresno on Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said vaccinating the Central Valley against COVID-19 is a “top priority.”

 

Though Newsom was widely expected to announce a new federal government-partnered mass vaccination clinic in the city during his stop at the Fresno Fairgrounds, he instead shared that the state had selected a COVID-19 testing site at Reedley College to be converted into a community vaccination clinic.

 

On this week's Valley Edition: A new study out of UC San Francisco shows which essential workers are most at risk of death due to COVID-19. At the top of the list: food and agriculture.

Plus, what are the limits of free speech, especially when that right collides with the spread of potentially dangerous misinformation on social media?

And we hear about the Fresno Philharmonic’s Digital Masterworks Series. 

Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.

 

Joel Martinez

Since the start of the pandemic, 43,000 Californians have officially died due to COVID-19. But a new research paper by a team of epidemiologists at the University of California, San Francisco suggests that the true death toll due to the virus is likely much higher, after studying deaths in California over an 8-month period from March to October.

 

So far, San Joaquin Valley residents have received nearly 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine—a sum that may sound high, but falls far short of the average per capita rate reported elsewhere in California. Plus, for the second week in a row, a low vaccine supply has kept many of the Valley’s mass vaccination clinics either open far below capacity, or closed entirely to people seeking to receive their first dose.

 

On this week's Valley Edition: Restaurants have had to ride the wave of pandemic shutdowns and reopenings for the past ten months. We look at how one business in Madera is surviving and what’s happening to its employees.

 

Plus, when a local newspaper closes shop, how does that affect voting behaviors and political corruption? 

 

And we’ve got another segment of StoryCorps San Joaquin. A grandson remembers his  pioneering grandmother who spent her summers living and working in a fire lookout station.

In a surprise move this week, Governor Gavin Newsom lifted shelter-in-place orders for our part of the state, even as San Joaquin Valley residents continue to die of COVID-19 by the hundreds each week. The decision came as a surprise to health officials in at least Fresno County, who said they appreciate that case numbers are finally trending in the right direction but warned against reckless behavior that could drive them back up again.

Fresno Alliance

So many people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Fresno County Jail that the total number of cases now exceeds the entire incarcerated population.

According to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, nearly 4,000 inmates and staff members have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic started, a total that the New York Times ranks as the largest of any single correctional facility in the country.

 

Community Medical Centers

 

Fresno County has the capacity to administer at least 30,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine weekly, according to county health officials, and yet its two mass vaccination clinics will not be open to new appointments next week. The recent revelation of no national vaccine stockpile has disrupted local supply, in Fresno and throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

 

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