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Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 18 women this week detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield. But neither the women nor their attorneys were given advance notice to make accommodations. 

Lilian Marquez, 45, was detained at Mesa Verde for 11 months. But on Wednesday, she and another woman were released without explanation. 

Central Valley Meat Co.

 

Rural Kings County has seen a large spike in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks. The majority of those cases can be traced back to the Central Valley Meat Company in Hanford.

As of Wednesday, Kings County reported 211 cases of the coronavirus; 138 of them are connected to the meat packing facility, which is still operating.  County Supervisor Doug Verboon says he’s not surprised by the spike.   

It got into the facility, said Verboon. “Someone got the virus and took it into the workplace and it spread pretty fast there.”

U.S. Census Bureau Website

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the census is still taking place. But so far only half of the families in the San Joaquin Valley have responded. In contrast, 58 percent of California residents have responded to the census as of Monday.

Mariposa County confirmed its first coronavirus case last Tuesday. Within two days, the total number jumped to 13. Despite the rapid increase, county officials said they’re containing the spread using contact tracing.

Health Director Dr. Eric Sergienko said his department was ready to act when the first case showed up. Within 24 hours, a team of two nurses and three sheriff’s detectives tracked down more than 20 people, all of whom had been in contact with the first patient when she was contagious. Twelve of them had the virus.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s hard enough for any kid to shelter in place. They can't go to school, do team sports, or physically hang out with their friends. But for foster kids already struggling to maintain relationships, social distancing can be even more challenging. 

Renee is 15 years old, loves the “Twilight” series, and wants to be a social worker when she grows up. 

City of Fresno Facebook

The city of Fresno is extending its shelter-in-place order through the end of May. The extension includes a provision requiring residents to wear face coverings when working or out on essential business, like grocery shopping. 

Courtesy Mark Arax

This week on the debut episode of the special series "The Time of Our Life", Mark Arax reads William Saroyan's The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse, originally published in 1940 as part of My Name Is Aram, a collection of short stories by Saroyan. Arax also shares recollections of his interactions with Saroyan, who was a family friend.

Eva Scow's YouTube Channel

As we go into the weekend, we wanted to leave you with a new tune, and maybe some inspiration. Fresno musician Eva Scow has been sheltering in place like the rest of us, but says she’s using the time to write more of her own music. She’s been experimenting with recording and production, and she just released a song called “Mambo” on YouTube, where she plays all of the instruments. 

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.  

Valley Fever: A Terror In The Body, A 'Wimp' In The Soil

Apr 28, 2020
Lauren J. Young / Science Friday

The following excerpt is adapted from a segment about the fungal disease valley fever from the April 24, 2020 episode of the WNYC Studios show Science Friday. Read the rest of the piece here, and hear the full Science Friday segment including an interview with FM89's Kerry Klein here.

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.

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.

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.” 

  

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom placed an executive order restricting water shutoffs retroactively from March 4th. That’s good news, community advocates say, but it doesn’t help those whose water was already shut off. 

Jonathan Nelson is the Policy Director for the Community Water Center. He says Newsom’s   order will help people who are worried about paying future bills. But what about those whose water has been shut off for over a month?

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.

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