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

 

On this week's Valley Edition: A street medicine team in Bakersfield educates people experiencing homelessness about COVID-19, and debunks myths about the vaccine. 

 

Plus, writer Mark Arax tells us about his research into the history of the Confederacy in the Central Valley.

 

 

A COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Fresno County Fairgrounds is now equipped to administer 1,500 shots per day, according to county officials during a press conference on Tuesday.

The clinic, which began operating at reduced capacity on January 6, is open to healthcare workers in Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination schedule, as well as individuals 75 years or older. Appointments are required.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

 

More than six percent of Californians have now contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began, but in one San Joaquin Valley county, the case rate is almost twice as high.

Department of State Hospitals

In late December, Clementine Sanders called her son at Coalinga State Hospital to make sure he had received her Christmas card. That’s when his bunkmates informed her that her son, 58-year-old Shannon Starr, had died three weeks earlier. “I was just totally shocked,” she says. “Nobody called me.”

Since then, she says, none of her messages to staff or reception have been returned. “I still wasn’t notified and I still haven’t heard from the [hospital],” she says.

 

Valley Children's

 

A month after COVID-19 infections began to surge following the Thanksgiving holiday, the virus continues to devastate the San Joaquin Valley. Hospitals are reporting more patients with COVID-19 than ever, intensive care units continue to report only a handful of open beds each day, and hundreds of healthcare workers who could otherwise be caring for patients or staffing medical facilities are currently unable to work after either testing positive for the virus or entering quarantine following a close exposure.

 

On this week's Valley Edition:  Why a state program that provides free COVID-19 hotel rooms to farmworkers is going largely unutilized.  

Plus Pulitzer Prize winning journalist John Branch tells us how wildfires and climate change are endangering California’s most iconic trees.

And a cornerstone of the Armenian community, Hye Quality Bakery, has closed its doors.

With the latest COVID-19 surge, we know that hospitals are in crisis: Patients are being cared for in hallways and conference rooms, nurses and doctors are being forced to take care of larger patient loads than usual, and field hospitals are being opened to take care of those who aren’t in need of critical care.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

 

It’s a Tuesday afternoon in downtown Fresno, and a line of cars has wrapped around the block from the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission to Chukchansi Stadium. A petite karaoke singer belts out George Harrison on the sidewalk, while the drivers, masked and corralled into reserved parking spots, wait for Testing Tuesday to begin.

Community Medical Centers

The first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Valley this week, and for many of us, the milestone represents a light at the end of a very long and traumatic tunnel. Healthcare workers with high patient exposure will be the first to receive this initial delivery of 17,000 doses, and the Valley is slated to receive tens of thousands more by the end of December.

@careforkids on Twitter

As the first 327,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine begin arriving in California, most San Joaquin Valley hospitals expect their initial shipments within the next few days.

@oaklandabosol on Twitter

As COVID-19 infections continue to rise throughout the San Joaquin Valley, they’re also ravaging the Valley’s prisons. That’s why two advocacy groups have planned protests this weekend outside prisons in Kings, Fresno and Kern Counties.

Kaweah Delta Health Care District

Five days into a regional stay-at-home order, COVID-19 infections in the San Joaquin Valley are soaring and hospitals are scrambling to make space on floors already crowded with flu patients. On Thursday of this week, the California Department of Public Health estimated that intensive care units in the San Joaquin Valley reported fewer than 2 percent of their beds were available, all while more people are dying of the virus than they have in months.

Daren Miller

In early October, complications from diabetes forced Bessie Miller into the operating room. The former state employee and well-known advocate for West Fresno had needed round-the-clock oxygen for years, and because of poor blood circulation, calf injuries that wouldn't heal eventually left her legs in need of amputation.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

As COVID-19 caseloads climb throughout the state and country, many counties in our region, including Tulare and Fresno, are now reporting record-high numbers of patients with COVID-19 in area hospitals.

Fresno County Sheriff's Office Zoom call

In a press call on Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that regional stay-at-home orders are imminent. He explained that these orders would be triggered locally when intensive care units in a particular region’s hospitals become so crammed that they’re more than 85 percent full. The nine counties of the San Joaquin Valley make up one of the state’s five designated regions.

For months, even as other parts of the U.S. hit record after record for newly reported COVID-19 cases or the number of patients being treated in hospitals, virus infections in California and the San Joaquin Valley had been holding steady. In the last few weeks, however, the numbers suggest our local bout with the pandemic has taken a turn for the worse.

On this week's Valley Edition: Governor Gavin Newsom announced California was pulling the emergency break on its reopening plan due to the state’s rising COVID-19 numbers. We go to Firebaugh to get the reaction of this small Fresno County farming town that has fought hard to keep cases low. 

Plus, we discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh following the six-week war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

And we talk with award-winning journalist Farai Chidaya about her new podcast, Our Body Politic.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Ed Welker is relatively new to Avenal State Prison. He’s been incarcerated there only since March. But when he was recently moved to a new dorm in a different yard, he saw a familiar face. “One of the officers that are working right now in the building that I’m in, in the 2 yard, is the regular building officer over on the 5 yard, where I just came from,” he says.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

More than 3,300 inmates and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Avenal, which is the highest total of any prison in California and possibly in the entire country. So far, the virus has killed eight of the prison’s incarcerated men.

https://covid19.ca.gov

A rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted another round of business restrictions in most California counties, including those in the San Joaquin Valley.

 

Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that 29 counties would be rolling back into the purple, most restrictive tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, including Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Merced Counties, which had been in the red tier for weeks.

 

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