COVID-19

Joel Martinez

As COVID-19 cases in the San Joaquin Valley continue to climb, the Fresno County Department of Agriculture recently secured nearly one million masks to help protect the county’s agricultural workers.  

 

Melissa Cregan, the agricultural commissioner for the county, said the masks came from California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and the Office of Emergency Services.

 

“We’ve probably received over 800,000 of the face coverings and we’ve distributed probably over 700,000 of those,” said Cregan.  

 

Fresno State / Fresno State Official Facebook

 

As coronavirus cases are surging, so are reports of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. But even as mental health professionals are needed more than ever, those who graduated from one Fresno State nursing program are being told to return to school.

 

City of Fresno Facebook

The Fresno City Council voted Tuesday to approve its billion dollar budget, just in time for the July 1 deadline. However, it will have to be reconsidered in three months. 

Office of the Governor of California Twitter page

On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars to close in seven California counties, including four in the San Joaquin Valley: Fresno, Kern, Tulare and Kings. He also recommended bar closures in eight others. Health officials in Kern County, however, say the order was made without consulting them.

 

Fresno Alliance

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department reported 507 positive COVID-19 cases at the county jail on Monday. That’s almost a quarter of the total jail population, but testing has still been limited to one part of the facility. 

The sheriff’s department reported its first cases of the coronavirus on June 19th. That’s when 13 incarcerated people who were being transferred out tested positive for COVID-19. The 13 had been housed in the jail’s north annex. 

Fresno County Department of Public Health

California was one of many states to set a record this week for the number of new cases reported in a single day. For a closer look at what’s been happening in our seven-county coverage area of the San Joaquin Valley, we bring you this update for the week of June 19-26, 2020. Meanwhile, you can always find up-to-date information for your county here.

The outlook

Courtesy of Patrick Contreras

This week we spoke to a musician who, like others, lost a lot of work when the pandemic hit: Performances were postponed, or cancelled altogether. Patrick Contreras, a Fresno violinist, started to offer front lawn concerts to make ends meet, and the idea has taken off. He says he’s heard from other musicians across the country, asking how he’s made it work. 

Every Neighborhood Partnership Facebook

When COVID-19 struck, Every Neighborhood Partnership teamed up with local agencies in the Valley to expand food distribution, provide access to diapers and formula, and help struggling families make ends meet. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the Fresno-based organization’s executive director, Artie Padilla, about his approach to community service. He says he focuses on what’s working in a community, rather than on what is broken.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and Fresno County’s Registrar of Voters settled a lawsuit this week that will allow a church with Black Lives Matter banners to  host a ballot drop-box.

Prisons and detention centers across California continue to be at risk for more COVID-19 outbreaks. An ACLU attorney representing detainees at the ICE processing facility in Bakersfield says a staff member there has tested positive for the virus.

In a case conference for a class action lawsuit against the Mesa Verde Detention Center, ICE’s attorney said a medical provider at the facility had tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s according to Angelica Salceda, an ACLU lawyer in the meeting. She said the woman went to get tested on her own accord. 

Families United for the End of Life Without Parole

Although businesses are reopening, reports of new cases of COVID-19 are still on the rise throughout the San Joaquin Valley. You can find up-to-date information for your county here. Below is an update for the week of June 15-19, 2020.

The outlook

Maria

 

Before the pandemic hit, 59-year-old Maria had steady work cleaning houses in Merced and Winston. But COVID-19 changed everything.

“When the governor told everyone to shelter in place, the homeowners called me and told me not to go to their houses until this is all over,” she said.  

That meant a huge loss in income. Maria made pretty good money, about a thousand dollars a week. But she says her clients were all older people who feared contracting the virus.

Fresno Unified School District Facebook

The Fresno Unified School District announced Thursday that on-campus instruction will resume August 17. 

Superintendent Bob Nelson said based on parent survey results, the district expects 75 percent of kids to return to school in the fall. However, school will be a little different.

City of Fresno Facebook

Nearly a hundred people made public comments Monday afternoon during the Fresno City Council’s budget hearing on the city’s police department. 

Most called for the council to defund the police and redirect the money to other services like mental health. Council President Miguel Arias said thousands more residents expressed their opinions via email. 

California Department of Public Health

As of Thursday, June 11, 20 San Joaquin Valley residents had died of COVID-19 in the past week, bringing the total to 217 fatalities out of 10,304 total cases. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock talks with health reporter Kerry Klein about where these cases are occurring.

For a COVID-19 snapshot in the Valley, check for our daily updates here.

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.

Estevan Parra

June is Pride month, but this year the worldwide event will largely be celebrated virtually in light of COVID-19. To learn more about the impact of the pandemic on the LGBTQ community, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke to Estavan Parra, the LGBTQ and gender coordinator for the Cross Cultural and Gender Center at Fresno State.

City of Fresno Facebook

The Fresno City Council announced Thursday it’s creating a police reform commission. Council President Miguel Arias said the commission will be headed by former council member and police officer Oliver Baines.  

The news came after the council sat through a workshop about social and economic justice led by the Fresno State NAACP. 

Fresno County Department of Public Health

With a total of more than 200 deaths and 8,000 cases tallied so far, the burden of COVID-19 continues to grow in the San Joaquin Valley and foothills. This week, the rise in numbers has put three Valley counties on the state’s watch list.

The state’s goal for each county is for less than 8 percent of all COVID-19 tests to turn out positive, a measure called the “positivity rate.” But in Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties, the positivity rate is above 10 percent.

Govenor Gavin Newsom Facebook

Many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, but some have found assistance through a multi-million dollar state government program called Expanded Subsidized Employment, or ESE. However, Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget proposal cuts the funding to that program. 

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