Coronavirus

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.

Courtesy of Diana Vidales

Over the next month, many students will be graduating from college, but without the traditional pomp and circumstance or cap and gown. So we asked two students and their mothers about missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and what songs come to mind when they reflect on their journey.  

We spoke to Greyson Canterbury and his mom Kim Canterbury who live in Visalia. Greyson is a Fresno State Dean’s Medalist and is planning to go to Sri Lanka as a Peace Corps Volunteer, though the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed those plans.  

On this week’s Valley Edition: How are students in the San Joaquin Valley keeping up with their studies from home? We talk to education reporters about the challenge of distance learning and how access to technology deepens educational inequity.

Also, many college graduations are taking place this weekend and over the next month. What’s it like for students without the traditional pomp and circumstance?

Plus, we hear from a small town mayor about leading a mostly farm worker community through the pandemic.

Fresno State

Nursing facilities have been hit hard by coronavirus outbreaks, and have changed visitor policies to reduce the spread of the disease. So how can older adults still maintain social connections? 

Helen Miltiades, director of Fresno State’s Gerontology Program, says families are visiting their older relatives at nursing homes by standing outside and waving at them through the safety of a window. 

Courtesy of Benfie Liu

A couple weeks ago, we told you about how the Central California Blood Center is collecting plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. Since then, a number of people have stepped forward to donate, including Benfie Liu. 

Liu is 29 years old and a medical resident at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia. She works in emergency medicine, but she never expected to encounter a pandemic, let alone get the virus. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: How are people in the Valley staying fed during the pandemic? We hear about the growing reliance on food pantries, and also get an update on business from local restaurants.

And despite the pandemic, the 2020 Census is still happening. Community organizations are figuring out new ways to reach the hardest-to-count areas, from online messaging to working with churches. 

Rudy Parris Facebook

This weekend, why not tune into a concert from home? Visalia musician Rudy Parris has been hosting live stream performances on his Facebook page every Friday and Saturday night for the past six weeks. He plays a little of everything: country, classic rock, and even his own songs. Parris is known for his time on the competition show, “The Voice,” and has spent the last year singing with the Buckaroos, the backup band of Bakersfield country legend Buck Owens.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 18 women this week detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield. But neither the women nor their attorneys were given advance notice to make accommodations. 

Lilian Marquez, 45, was detained at Mesa Verde for 11 months. But on Wednesday, she and another woman were released without explanation. 

U.S. Census Bureau Website

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the census is still taking place. But so far only half of the families in the San Joaquin Valley have responded. In contrast, 58 percent of California residents have responded to the census as of Monday.

Mariposa County confirmed its first coronavirus case last Tuesday. Within two days, the total number jumped to 13. Despite the rapid increase, county officials said they’re containing the spread using contact tracing.

Health Director Dr. Eric Sergienko said his department was ready to act when the first case showed up. Within 24 hours, a team of two nurses and three sheriff’s detectives tracked down more than 20 people, all of whom had been in contact with the first patient when she was contagious. Twelve of them had the virus.

City of Fresno Facebook

The city of Fresno is extending its shelter-in-place order through the end of May. The extension includes a provision requiring residents to wear face coverings when working or out on essential business, like grocery shopping. 

Eva Scow's YouTube Channel

As we go into the weekend, we wanted to leave you with a new tune, and maybe some inspiration. Fresno musician Eva Scow has been sheltering in place like the rest of us, but says she’s using the time to write more of her own music. She’s been experimenting with recording and production, and she just released a song called “Mambo” on YouTube, where she plays all of the instruments. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: How do we navigate our complicated emotions in the middle of this global health crisis? We talk with Fresno-based author Armen Bacon about how our collective feelings look a lot like grief. 

We also hear from a high school student in foster care about the struggles of social distancing, from not seeing her siblings to missing out on classroom interaction. 

Later, the Kern County Public Health Department reacts to a call to reopen the economy after two Bakersfield doctors drew national attention. 

Kern County Public Health Department Facebook Page

This week throughout the San Joaquin Valley calls to lift the stay-at-home order grew louder among some elected officials, business leaders - and even two Bakersfield physicians. So how are public health officials reacting to the growing push to reopen local economies? To find out, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Kern County Public Health Department epidemiologist Kimberley Hernandez and public information officer Michelle Corson.

Armen Bacon

Author and former Fresno Bee columnist Armen Bacon is known for exploring her emotional life through her writing. She spoke to FM89's Kathleen Schock from her home in Fresno about how to navigate our emotions during the pandemic and the ways our reactions to COVID-19 resemble the grief process.

Fresno County Department of Public Health Facebook

In lieu of its regular media briefing Friday, the Fresno County Department of Public Health held a virtual town hall where community members could submit their own questions about the coronavirus. The meeting was live-streamed on Facebook. 

One person asked via the comments how to get a test if they’re uninsured. Dr. Rais Vorha, interim health officer for the County, said that based on his understanding and the federal government: “The testing will be covered, that shouldn’t stop you from getting tested.”

Central California Blood Center Facebook

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient as an experimental treatment for those sick with the coronavirus. The treatment is based on the concept that the recovered person now has antibodies to fight the disease.

On this week’s Valley Edition: COVID-19 is disproportionately hurting vulnerable communities like seniors, agricultural workers and the homeless population. We talk to those working to protect the most defenseless among us. 

Plus, we hear from a woman who was born just after another deadly pandemic, the 1918 Spanish Flu. She remembers her parents talking about it, and the Great Depression that followed. 

We’ll also hear the story of a couple applying for asylum during the coronavirus outbreak. Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Lisa Blecker, Kristen Beall Watson and Laura Moreno

COVID-19 is disproportionately hurting vulnerable communities like seniors, ag workers and the homeless. To learn about efforts to protect these at-risk populations, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Lisa Blecker, pesticide safety education program coordinator for the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Laura Moreno, chair of the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care, and Kristen Beall Watson, CEO of the Kern Community Foundation.

Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency Website

The majority of the 25 Coronavirus deaths in Tulare County are due to an outbreak at a Visalia nursing home. In fact, nearly half of the county’s 441 COVID-19 cases are nursing home related.

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