COVID-19

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.

Rolando Castro

Mendota currently has 8 confirmed cases of the coronavirus but Mayor Rolando Castro says he thinks the number is higher.

Rural farm towns like Mendota are home to large populations of undocumented people. Many of those undocumented residents think getting tested will lead to other problems, Castro says. 

“They’re worried because of their legal status, that they’re undocumented, so they don’t want to get tested because they think that they’re going to be held by ICE or held by somebody and be deported,” said Castro.  

California Center on Teaching Careers

 

California faced teacher shortages long before schools closed due to COVID-19. Seventy-five percent of the state's school districts say there are not enough qualified teachers to meet student needs according to the Palo Alto-based Learning Policy Institute.

To help districts fill the gap, the state turned to Silicon Valley for inspiration.

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.

Roxana Espinoza Trigueros

 

 

Last June, Roxana Espinoza Trigueros and her wife Carolina Espinoza Trigueros applied for asylum in the United States after living in Mexico for three years. The women said they were discriminated against for being a couple.   

Once they were notified that their application was being considered, they went to an office in San Isidro near the border. There, they spent 11 nights in a room they said was referred to as the “llelerar” or the freezer.

 

 

These days, do you ever find yourself looking out the window of your house or apartment and wondering ‘how are my neighbors doing during this pandemic?’ I was thinking a lot about my neighbor Dorothy Jones so I reached out to her. She turns 100 this year and she still lives in her Fresno High home.

When Dorothy calls me back, she gets my voicemail. She leaves this message: “Well Alice, I’m delighted we’ll be seeing you. The fact that we’ll be sharing some thoughts and visitation is exciting!”

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.

Donald Barclay

One of the most important tools to fight a pandemic is a well-informed public, but much of the information online is questionable or outright false. FM89's Kathleen Schock discussed how to separate fact from fiction with Donald Barclay, a UC Merced librarian and the author of Fake News, Propaganda and Plain Old Lies. 

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.

Last week, over 200 people inside a Bakersfield Detention Center participated in a hunger strike, according to advocates. Now ICE is threatening to suspend detainee privileges and it’s had a chilling effect on some of the strikers. 

Pablo Ramirez has been detained in Mesa Verde for six months. He joined the strike last week to help show a united front against the conditions inside the detention center. 

Fresno County Jail (file photo)

So far, only one inmate at the Fresno County jail has a confirmed case of the coronavirus. And as the pandemic continues, law enforcement are taking precautions to try and keep the case numbers low.

Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office says the inmate wasn’t symptomatic when he was booked Friday, but told a probation officer that he had tested positive a week earlier. 

Fresno State history professor Ethan Kytle has been reviewing news reports about a pandemic, but not this one. He’s been reading the Fresno Morning Republican. That’s the newspaper that covered the Spanish Flu in 1918.

On this week’s Valley Edition: Maria Hinojosa, host of NPR’s Latino USA, talks about her upcoming memoir, and what it’s like to launch and run a non-profit media group. 

Plus, we hear from Fresno State history professor Ethan Kytle who’s been tracking coverage of a different pandemic: the 1918 Spanish Flu. How did Fresno respond back then? The answer might surprise you.  

We also hear from California’s Lt. Governor as she updates us on the state’s response to COVID-19.

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Office of the Lieutenant Governor

With recent data indicating that the COVID-19 curve is flattening in some parts of California, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke to the state's Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis about the planning process to reopen the economy and efforts to increase testing capacity.

California Committee for Immigrant Liberation

 

 

Over one hundred people detained at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Center in Bakersfield are on an indefinite hunger strike, according to Susan Beaty, a fellow with Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland. Those detained are demanding access to masks, soap and other protective items.  

 

The strike started at a women’s dorm on Thursday night, Beaty said. The next day, a men’s dorm and the other women’s dorm, joined the strike.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno County Public Health lab was damaged in a flood back in 2019, so the county was sending its potential COVID-19 specimen to Tulare County’s Public Health Lab for analysis. But a partnership with Fresno State now means Fresno County will be able to process tests locally. 

 

Standing outside of the Jordan Agricultural Research Center, Fresno State President Joseph Castro announced that the center will become a testing facility for COVID-19. 

 

A federal Judge has ordered the release of four more people considered high risk candidates for COVID-19 at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility. The four people are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against ICE that demands the release of 12 high-risk candidates detained at the Mesa Verde ICE Detention Center and the Yuba County Jail.

Shantay Balch

Shantay Balch of the B.L.A.C.K. Wellness and Prosperity Center says community advocacy groups are seeing a daily increase in requests for basic supplies, including diapers.  

 

“Calls are nonstop to agencies,” she said, including her own, First 5 Fresno County and the Fresno EOC.  “They’re just nonstop. Diapers. Diapers, formula, water, beans and rice.” 

Specifically, she said, diaper sizes 4, 5 and 6. She said some parents have even resorted to putting small adult diapers on their toddlers.

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