Coronavirus

Kaiser Fresno Medical Center/AFL-CIO Websites

Amy Arlund, a registered nurse who works in the ICU at Kaiser Fresno Medical Center, spoke with Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock in May about the loss of one of her colleagues to COVID-19. With ICU capacities in the Valley now at the breaking point, Schock checked back in with Arlund to see how she is holding up.

Fresno Madera Continuum Of Care Facebook Page

Street2Home was announced in 2018 as an initiative by the city and county of Fresno to coordinate homelessness mitigation across organizations. But in a report released Monday, the Fresno County Grand Jury found it doesn’t have a staff, or board yet. 

The superintendent of Immanuel Schools said Wednesday he’s pleased to no longer be arguing the legality of keeping his K-12 private school in Reedley open. That’s due to a recent settlement among Immanuel, Fresno County, and the state attorney general’s office.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Community Chorus stopped singing in March just ahead of shelter-in-place orders and the county’s adoption of COVID-19 restrictions. Seven months later, the group reunited in person to sing, not in a concert hall but in a parking lot.

On Tuesday evening, dozens of cars drove into the Calvary Chapel parking lot in Central Fresno. They parked in neat rows close to the church buildings before a small stage and sound system. 

On this night, they’re singing via FM transmitter, like at a drive-in movie theater.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

With public schools still operating remotely, one subject particularly challenging to teach online is music. Despite the limitations, choir teachers in Fresno County are brainstorming new ways to instruct, even through a screen.

On one Thursday morning, halfway through the high school choir class that Jacob Bailey is teaching on Zoom, he leads the students through a warm up.

“Reach up nice and high to wake up that voice a little bit,” Bailey tells the students while stretching. “Wake up those ribs.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Jordan Pulido lost his grandmother to the coronavirus, and says the pandemic has derailed most of his plans for his last year at Fresno State. 

The 22-year-old is studying music education, and this year, he was supposed to perform in the university’s rendition of “Carmina Burana,” travel to Italy, and participate in the Disney College Program in Florida during the fall semester. 

Instead, he’s been home, avoiding outings as much as possible to protect his family. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: COVID-19 cases are soaring at Avenal State Prison, and inmates there say postponed visitations, rule changes, and constant bed moves are taking a psychological toll. 

Plus, honey bees have already been hit hard by disease, drought and development. Now, the Creek Fire has killed millions more. 

We also continue our election coverage, and delve into more propositions. 

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Andrew Nixon - file photo / Capital Public Radio

Most counties in the San Joaquin Valley have been on the state’s COVID-19 watch list for months, and are still restricted under the state’s new rating system.

Fresno County officials announced the results from January’s homeless point-in-time count Wednesday, including a significant rise in unhoused individuals. 

This year’s annual point-in-time count found 3,251 people experiencing homelessness throughout Fresno County. That’s about a 50 percent increase from 2019, when the number of people counted was 2,131. However, more people than usual were counted in shelters.

Facebook Screenshot, Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau

Fresno County has filed an injunction against the Reedley-based private, Christian schools that began in-person classes earlier this month, despite prohibitive state guidelines. 

Supervisor Steve Brandau held a press conference Monday afternoon to oppose the lawsuit against Immanuel Schools, which serve kindergarten through twelfth grade students.

“It isn’t because Immanuel is a private school, a Christian school or anything of the sort. I feel the same way about any school, private or public,” said Brandau.

On this week’s Valley Edition: A well known Hmong filmmaker who documented the lives of Hmong communities all over Asia died of COVID-19 in July. With his funeral this week in Fresno, his family recalls his legacy. 

Plus, a century after white women gained the right to vote, we explore the history of the 19th Amendment, and how it changed the U.S. forever. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: One Clovis woman hasn’t left her house since visiting Southern California in March. We hear how she’s been sheltering in place with three disorders that put her at risk of severe COVID-19.

And distance learning is a new experience even for seasoned public school teachers. But what about educators who have just started their careers? What’s it like for them? 

And later, we speak to a Guardian reporter who is investigating how agricultural workers have been hit hard by COVID-19. 

Fresno Unified School District Livestream

The Fresno Unified School District announced its finalized plans Monday for distance learning.

In a virtual press conference, School Board President Keshia Thomas made one thing clear:

“The distance learning families experienced this past spring will not be what families experience this new school year.”

On this week’s Valley Edition: We’ll hear firsthand accounts of how COVID-19 has impacted conditions for those working in the fields.

We also talk to a reporter who spent three weeks in Kern County’s corner of the Mojave Desert. Her new podcast investigates false promises of wealth in California City. 

And, we discuss what will happen to Valley renters out of work because of COVID-19 and potentially facing homelessness when the state’s eviction moratorium is lifted.

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above. 

Courtesy of The Wonderful Company

The largest agricultural employer in the San Joaquin Valley announced today that it’s providing $1 million in grants to support COVID-19 relief in rural communities. 

Fruit and nut powerhouse The Wonderful Company says the form of that relief will be decided by community non-profits applying for grants. 

Premier Hospitalist of Bakersfield Facebook

Over the past few months, we’ve talked to a number of doctors and nurses about their experiences during the pandemic. Today we’ll hear from Dr. Amy Mehta. She’s a pulmonary critical care physician at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel spoke with her earlier this week.  

 

This week on Valley Edition: We learn more about an organization in Fresno that’s buying crops from small farmers to help offset the huge losses growers are experiencing due to COVID-19.

Plus, a man currently incarcerated at Avenal State Prison describes the toll that COVID-19 has taken on life behind bars, including months without seeing loved ones. 

 

And documentary filmmakers tell us what it’s like inside the Mesa Verde detention center in Bakersfield.

 

The Darling Hotel and Katie Flinn

Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the owners of two local businesses to find out how they are adapting their business models in light of COVID-19. She interviewed the owner of COIL Yoga, Katie Flinn, who switched her classes to online and permanently closed her Fresno studio in May. Shock also spoke with brothers Matt and Bob Ainley, co-owners of the Darling Hotel which opened in downtown Visalia on July 1.  

Kelly Bearden and Rich Mostert

As businesses throughout the Valley struggle due to COVID-19, many small businesses and entrepreneurs are turning to their local Small Business Development Centers, or SBDCs, for help accessing capital and reimagining their business models. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Rich Mostert, director of the Valley Community SBDC and Kelly Bearden, director of the CSU Bakersfield SBDC, about how small businesses in the Valley are meeting this moment.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

 

People experiencing homelessness often rely on the hospital emergency room for medical care. In Porterville, Vera Miles has done it multiple times. She’s lived under the trees along the Tule River in Porterville for five years. The 60-year old shares the space with her partner. She says she isn’t worried about getting the coronavirus.

 

“I think we're safer down here than anywhere actually,” says Miles. “With this going on, I'd rather be here.”

Pages