Community Regional Medical Center

Laurin Paskin, Bridgette Wilson, Connie Green and Ashley Bowers

Now that vaccines have become more widely available, it’s easy to forget that ICUs are still full of COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives alongside battle-weary nurses who have been deep in the trenches of this pandemic for nearly a year.

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: We unpack what happened on Tuesday by looking at partisanship in the San Joaquin Valley and discussing how the election will shape California’s future. 

Plus, we take you to the small farming town of Mendota to find out how Latinx businesses there are doing during the pandemic. Some have only survived by taking out loans. 

 

And, two sisters in Fresno share stories about their peacemaking father for San Joaquin  StoryCorps. 

Adventist Health

Nearly eight months in, the COVID-19 pandemic is still looking grim: Nationwide, the virus has killed more than 230,000 people, and this week, for the first time, more than 100,000 cases were reported in a single day. Twice.

Community Regional Medical Center

As the COVID-19 caseload climbs, it’s becoming clear that some groups are more at risk than others. Early research out of the Fresno region shows one family of diseases may make Hispanics particularly vulnerable.

The family is liver diseases. Dr. Marina Roytman, a liver specialist at UCSF Fresno and Community Regional Medical Center, says people with liver conditions generally can’t handle the disease as well as others. “Clearly…we are seeing the correlation that underlying liver disease is predictive of a more severe COVID course,” she says.

Courtesy of Tali Whelan

Tali Whelan is a registered nurse. 

“I have worked the long 12-hour shifts in the past, and so I know how difficult it can be to be on your feet for so long and constantly on the go,” said Whelan. 

She normally works in a dermatology office, but right now, because it’s not busy, she’s on furlough. So she started a one-woman, local chapter of Front Line Appreciation Group, or FLAG.

 

 

What’s it like to be on the frontlines of medicine during a pandemic? FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel got a firsthand account from Dr. Patil Armenian. She’s an associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno and she works at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. 

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Law enforcement and health professionals in Fresno are reeling after three people overdosed last week on the opioid drug fentanyl. 

The men snorted what they thought was cocaine, said Fresno Deputy Police Chief Pat Farmer in a press conference on Monday. The three men, who took the drug together on January 7, felt something was wrong but fell unconscious and were discovered by a neighbor.

UCSF

As we reported earlier this summer, the Fresno area could soon be home to two medical schools. While that may seem like a great opportunity for creating home-grown doctors, research suggests local residencies and fellowships could be more important for keeping doctors here. But the Valley lags behind the state in those training opportunities, too.

If there’s one word that epitomizes the state of health care today, it’s change. Nowhere is that more clear than in the San Joaquin Valley’s hospital landscape, where longtime friends have turned into bitter rivals.

But what’s behind the shifting alliances that have divided much of the Fresno health care market in recent years? The answer could be one word, networks.

Earlier this year, Craig Wagoner the CEO of Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center made an announcement that might have puzzled a lot of people.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Valley Children’s plan for a new medical education program for pediatric residents and fellows might lead to the breakup of a long running partnership in local medicine.

The new program will train doctors to become pediatric sub-specialists at the hospital, and will establish a fellowship program. The hospital’s choice to have its own residency program means that the hospital’s 40 year medical education partnership with UCSF – Fresno could come to an end.