COVID-19

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.

 

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 to End 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

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