COVID-19

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.

Mark Arax

As California’s stay-at-home directive in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the pace of life has slowed for many. FM 89's Kathleen Schock spoke with journalist and author Mark Arax, who said that now is the perfect time to discover or revisit the work of the Valley’s most famous writer, Willam Saroyan.

 

Pregnant women are especially impacted by COVID-19 as hospitals are allowing only one person in the birthing room with the mother. FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel spoke with 26-year-old Breyonna Gaines who is due today. Gains is a doula and recently graduated from Fresno State. Here’s her perspective. 

 

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: Today marks the 90th birthday of labor organizer and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta. We talk to her about her legacy of activism, and why our collective response to the coronavirus pandemic should be a united one.

Plus, we hear from journalist and author Mark Arax, who invites us to revisit the work of William Saroyan. 

We also learn why a Shark Tank entrepreneur who runs a pet product company in Chicago is now supplying medical masks to hospitals in the Valley.

Community Regional Medical Center

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a program today to provide health care workers with low-cost hotel rooms. But ahead of the announcement, some valley hospitals were already working to provide employee housing. 

City of Bakersfield Recreation & Parks Facebook

Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties have closed their parks to keep people home during the coronavirus pandemic. But Kern County parks are still technically open and with Easter coming up, some residents are worried.

ABC Television and Sony Pictures

Even before the coronavirus, Tiffani Quinto had some experience with pandemics.

“You know I lived through H1N1,” she said. “I was a buyer at the time at Valley Children’s. And it’s similar to that.”  

Now she’s the supply chain management contract coordinator for Community Medical Centers in Fresno. She says medical supply distributors operate on an allocation system based on a hospital’s previous purchase history.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Constructing the high-speed rail can’t be done from home, so to protect employees from COVID-19, workers are operating differently. 

Diana Gomez is the Central Valley Regional Director with the High-Speed Rail Authority. 

“They used to have big group safety meetings every morning,” Gomez said. “Instead of having the big group safety meetings they have smaller ones.”

There’s also a lot of hand washing and social distancing on the construction sites. Gomez said people don’t sit together during lunch like they normally would.

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood announced on Tuesday a dozen cases of COVID-19 among staff and inmates in the county jail. That’s why the county is now releasing some inmates without bail. 

 

Sheriff Youngblood announced on Facebook the judicial council is requiring the release of some inmates with low level misdemeanors and felonies, with no bail.  

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

What do you do if your printing business is suffering because of COVID-19? Well for one Fresno business, employees are going with the times.

Dumont Printing is still dealing in its usual trade: signage. But instead of company mailers and event announcements, it's making "Keep Distance" decals.

“Immediately we started selling social distancing floor graphics to try and help the small business who is still open and has blue tape on their floor,” said Susan Moore, Dumont’s president and owner. 

Screenshot OnwardCa.org

Bitwise Industries got a shout-out from Governor Gavin Newsom Thursday as he announced relief for small businesses. The Fresno-based tech company is creating a resource for those laid off due to the pandemic: OnwardCa.org

Fresno Convention Center

The Fresno Convention Center is the new site for an emergency field hospital, the county announced Friday. The effort is to take pressure off of local hospitals by treating COVID-19 patients whose cases are less severe. 

“At the end of the day we need to make sure our hospitals are kept open for those who need critical care the most,” said Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig. 

The county’s original plan was to use the fairgrounds but the state rejected that site because it did not meet current building codes. 

Courtesy of Angela Christiano

We recently asked a few students for audio postcards about how the pandemic is affecting them. Today, we’re going to hear Selma High School senior Mia Salinas who says she’s missing out on prom, her final season of track, and the chance to say good bye to her teachers and friends.

We also hear from Fresno State student Julianna Mazziliano. She’s in her second semester as a liberal studies major and works two jobs, both of which have cut hours due to the pandemic. She says she “didn’t pay $7,000 a year at Fresno State to just sit at home.” 

 

 

What’s it like to be on the frontlines of medicine during a pandemic? FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel got a firsthand account from Dr. Patil Armenian. She’s an associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno and she works at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. 

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: Lawyers are pushing to get their at-risk clients out of detention centers before they get sick with COVID-19. We hear about one woman’s unexpected journey.  

We also talk to educators about the challenges of distance education especially among the Valley’s most vulnerable students. And we hear from a few students about how school from home is going for them.

Later, we talk to an emergency room doctor about what it’s like to be on the frontlines. 

Fresno State

Nearly two weeks after the coronavirus forced Fresno State to transition to virtual instruction, FM 89's Kathleen Schock spoke to Bryan Berrett, Fresno State's director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, about how students and faculty are adapting.  

As state and local officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, lawyers across California are joining forces to get their at-risk clients out of ICE detention centers, including the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield.

Kern Medical / Kern County

This week Governor Gavin Newsom announced a program to bring more professionals into the medical field, including students and retirees. Bakersfield College also announced a similar pipeline to help its upper-level nursing students finish their education.

Shantelle Rubio is one of them. When she heard that her school was moving online to reduce the spread of COVID-19, she was stunned.

Google Maps

A nursing home in Visalia announced on Wednesday that six residents and two healthcare professionals have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Redwood Springs Healthcare Center is a nursing facility in the central San Joaquin Valley that currently holds 176 beds. The healthcare staff experienced the onset of symptoms while caring for two patients in one room, the nursing home said in a statement.

 

Courtesy of Faith in the Valley

For most people, rent is due the first of the month. The city of Fresno passed an ordinance that allows renters to cite the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for not paying rent this month, but the burden of proof is on the tenant. 

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