COVID-19

In accordance with Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent order, the Fresno Unified School District announced Friday, it will be shifting to online instruction for at least the beginning of the fall semester. Some parents will have a choice between two online options.

 

Valley Children's Hospital / Kaweah Delta Healthcare District

As hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to rise, Valley Children’s Hospital has made a creative offer: It will accept pediatric patients from area hospitals to make way for adults suffering from COVID-19. This COVID update for the week of July 13-17 features excerpts from a conversation with David Christensen, Chief Physician Executive of Valley Children’s Hospital.

Fresno County Behavioral Health Department

 

In June, 17 people in Fresno County died by suicide, a number that the Fresno County Behavioral Health Department revealed is the highest of any month since at least 2017. It’s made all the more stark by the fact that early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, suicides had dropped significantly.

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.”

Arynne Gilbert, Kelly Rauch, Kristie Leyba and Peggy Munoz

 

K-12 districts throughout the Valley have been grappling with how to educate students in the fall without contributing to the spread of COVID-19. To learn more about how Fresno Unified School District teachers are reacting, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with elementary music teacher Peggy Munoz, Roosevelt High School applied medical science teacher Kelly Rauch and English teachers Kristie Leyba from Edison High School and Arynne Gilbert from Sunnyside High School.

 

Schools in most California counties are unlikely to open by the start of the school year under a new plan announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom today.

The thirty counties on the state’s monitoring list would be prohibited from allowing in-person instruction at schools ... until they are no longer on the list.

Newsom included a carveout for elementary schools to reopen, but only if a superintendent requests a waiver and a local health officer approves it.

Newsom expects remote learning to engage students despite challenges with getting kids computers and internet access.

On Wednesday, the Clovis Unified School District voted to allow parents to choose between sending their kids to school five days a week or participating in online-learning. While many parents say they are on board, some parents are torn. 

 

Elvira Galindo’s daughter will be a freshman at Clovis North High School this fall. She said when she heard the district’s decision, she was shocked. 

 

 

On Tuesday, a federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against McFarland and the company GEO barring them from populating a new detention center. The order comes after a lawsuit highlighted misconduct. 

In April, the McFarland City Council voted to turn two empty state prisons into for-profit detention centers run by the GEO group. The council’s decision violated state laws according to Grisel Ruiz, the supervising attorney for the lawsuit. 

 

Kaweah Delta Health Care District

 

Earlier this week, Kaweah Delta Healthcare District reported a record high of 68 COVID-19 patients in its hospital beds. Soon, however, the Visalia hospital and at least two others in the San Joaquin Valley will be receiving help from the armed services.

 

Kern Medical / Kerry Klein

 

As COVID-19 case counts rise across California, prompting a new wave of business closures from Governor Gavin Newsom, hospitals are slowly approaching their capacities. Although Bakersfield’s Kern Medical is currently nearing as many patients as it can handle, it has plans to expand.

 

Patil Armenian / Community Regional Medical Center

Earlier this spring, even as hospital workers received new guidance for personal protective equipment and learned to strip off their work clothes before entering their homes, Dr. Patil Armenian, an emergency physician at Community Regional Medical Center and UCSF Fresno, told KVPR that the experience felt like “the calm before the storm.”

 

Kerry Klein

The COVID-19 caseload continues to climb across the West, and in recent press calls, health officials in both Fresno and Kern Counties have expressed concern about the ability of hospitals to keep up with rising healthcare needs and potential surges.

Patrick Macmillan

Palliative care improves the quality of life for patients facing serious illnesses and these days, that includes COVID-19. FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel spoke with Dr. Patrick Macmillan, the chief of Palliative Medicine at UCSF Fresno, about what his work is like right now and how he uses music to cope with stress. She produced this audio postcard.

Whitney Pirtle, Tania Pacheco-Werner and Chet Hewitt

Earlier this week, the New York Times published an analysis of national data that found that Black and Latinx Americans are three times as likely to catch COVID-19 compared to whites. To discuss the implications of those findings, and what it means for the battle against the virus here in the San Joaquin Valley, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Whitney Pirtle, assistant professor of sociology at UC Merced, Dr.

 

As positive case numbers continue to climb, FUSD announced Thursday plans to reopen schools in the fall. However, parents will have the option to continue online learning for their children or send them back to a school campus.

 

Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson announced parents must fill out a survey choosing which learning environment is best suited for their children before July 31st.

 

 

 

People detained at a Bakersfield ICE Processing Facility began a hunger strike last Friday, after learning a nurse who worked there tested positive for COVID-19. Detainees are demanding ICE release them or provide a healthier environment.

 

Roughly 70 people across all four dorms at the Mesa Verde Detention Center are hunger striking, said Susan Beaty, a fellow with Centro Legal in Oakland. She says she’s worried not enough people are being tested for COVID-19.

 

Gavin Newsom Facebook page

In the past week, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars, restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses to close their indoor operations in 19 California counties—five of which are here in the San Joaquin Valley. But as we’ve learned with this rapidly-evolving situation, that’s not all that’s changed in the last week. For a closer look at what’s been happening in our seven-county coverage area of the Valley, we bring you this update for the week of June 26-July 3, 2020.

On this week’s Valley Edition: We take you inside a church in Fresno where the priest is considered a healer by some and by others, a sexual predator. 

We talk to the KQED journalist who reported the story about how she gained the trust of the alleged victims, and the reaction from the congregation now that the report is out. 

Plus, an update on why bars and indoor dining are on hold in many counties. Listen to those stories and more in the podcast above. 

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.

 

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