June 18, 2024


Outstanding health & fitness

Wednesday, August 18, 2021 | California Healthline

Wildfire Victims Can Sign Up For Health Insurance Coverage: Covered California is opening a special enrollment period to allow residents of 11 wildfire-ravaged counties to buy health insurance coverage if they do not already have it. Survivors will have 60 days from the date the emergency was declared to sign up. Read more from The Sacramento Bee. Wildfire coverage continues below.  

Thousands Of LAUSD Students Test Positive For Covid: Baseline screening before the return of students to campuses around the Los Angeles Unified School District revealed more than 3,600 positive coronavirus cases, officials said on Tuesday, Aug. 17. More than 81% of the district’s students were tested. Read more from the LA Daily news and Los Angeles Times.

Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.

Sacramento Bee:
COVID-19 Cases Hit All-Time Highs In Rural California Hospitals As Delta Variant Rages

Seven small California counties have recently broken their all-time records for COVID-19 patients in hospital beds, as cases of the delta variant are growing explosively in rural parts of the state. Del Norte, Humboldt, Tuolumne, Nevada, Mendocino, Lake and Amador counties each since the start of this month have recorded their highest daily total for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, state health data show. (McGough, 8/17)

Los Angeles Times:
California Sees Signs COVID Delta Variant Surge Is Slowing 

California enters a crucial phase in its battle against the Delta variant this week — the reopening of schools — with some hopeful signs: The number of people being infected and falling seriously ill with COVID-19 is no longer accelerating at dramatic rates and even beginning to flatten in some areas. Many experts are optimistic over the progress, but some officials stressed it’s too early to know definitively whether the surge caused by the highly contagious strain is peaking. (Money and Lin II, 8/17)

Los Angeles Daily News:
LA County Reports 2,907 Coronavirus Cases, 30 Deaths On Tuesday 

As Los Angeles County reported 2,907 coronavirus cases and 30 deaths on Tuesday, Aug. 17, a new mask requirement at “mega events” including concerts and major sports events provided a sobering reminder that the region remains at “widespread” risk for more infections fueled by the unpredictable delta variant. Under the new masking requirement, issued in a revised L.A. County Public Health Order on Tuesday that will launch at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, masks are “required to be worn by everyone at all times except when actively eating or drinking” at big outdoor with crowds greater than 10,000. So, if you’re at a music or food festival, a car show, a pro sports event, a parade or big concerts, don your face covering. (Carter, 8/17)

Orange County Register:
Latest Surge Of COVID-19 Cases Won’t Tax OC Hospitals Like Winter Spike, Health Officials Say 

Though Orange County coronavirus cases appear on pace to match the pandemic’s first surge last summer, health officials say area hospitals are prepared to handle local COVID-19 patients who need care – and they expect new infections to level off or begin declining soon. The county was averaging about 700 new cases a day over the weekend, down from the previous weekend, and the number of daily cases has fallen since then, OC Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau said Tuesday. About 8% of tests are coming back positive, a figure that has been slowly declining. (Robinson, 8/17)

The Bakersfield Californian:
COVID Cases Continue To Increase In Kern County 

The Kern County Public Health Services Department reported 335 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with no new deaths. This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 118,360. The number of deaths remains 1,436. The 14-day case rate has also increased, the health department said. As of Tuesday, it stood at around 26.4 new cases per day per 100,000 residents, up from 22.3 last week. (8/17)

Fresno Bee:
94 COVID Cases Have Been Linked To Fresno County Christian Camp. Here’s How Many Kids

Fresno County health officials have connected 94 cases of COVID-19 to Hume Lake Christian Camp staffers and visitors so far this summer. That breaks down to 51 staffers and 43 campers through Aug. 13. Still, it was not clear Tuesday how many of them contracted COVID during their actual stay at the camp, which about 55 miles northeast of Reedley, according to the Fresno County Department of Public Health. (Miller, 8/17)

The Mercury News:
COVID ‘Roulette Wheel’ Has Bay Area Stage Troupes Scrambling

Throughout the long COVID-19 pandemic, performing arts venues and companies have had to continually revise their plans or expectations for reopening, particularly with indoor spaces. This spring, with vaccinations up and cases down, many theaters started announcing their fall seasons, and a few companies such as San Francisco Playhouse got up and running as soon as possible this summer. Between all the financial and psychological stresses of such a long closure, a lot of artists were understandably itchy to get back to doing what they do. (Hurwitt, 8/17)

Los Angeles Times:
COVID Canceled Their Quinceañera. This Year, It’s Back On 

A year and a half ago, Celia Barrios watched her business dry up. The COVID-19 pandemic had put quinceañeras on hold, leaving Barrios looking at $150,000 of lost revenue. But in the last few months, the celebrations — a coming-of-age rite for Latina 15-year-olds — are back. And some who missed out in 2020 are making up for it, even if they’re now 16 years old. (Mendez, 8/17)

Modesto Bee:
Modesto City Schools COVID-19 Cases First Week Of School 

Modesto City Schools reported a 0.109% positivity rate the first week of school. This translates to 27 COVID-19 cases among students, and seven among staff in the first week of full-time learning on campus at Modesto’s largest school district. There are 31,064 students and staff on campus total. (Isaacman, 8/18)

Sacramento Bee:
CA Students Return To School Campuses After Online Instruction 

The loss of learning opportunities during the past 18 months has been profound. That loss won’t be limited to the classroom. Thousands of students in California are returning to school campuses this fall, many of whom had limited or no time on campus during the turbulent 2020-21 academic year. That means they must learn the seemingly routine elements of being at school, such as how to behave at recess or eat in a cafeteria. (Morrar, 8/18)

Sacramento Bee:
School Safety Steps In Sacramento Region Amid COVID Spike 

Back to school is always a busy season, but this year, families face the additional burden of navigating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic amid a surge in cases due to the delta variant. California is rolling out rules – like a vaccine mandate for teachers that was announced last Wednesday – and policies meant to balance safety with keeping kids in classrooms as much as possible. Local schools are relying on policies from the California Department of Public Health to figure out how to maintain safety. For now, some areas are a bit murky, particularly as they pertain to extracurricular activities and quarantine procedures for vaccinated students, some officials said. (Jasper, 8/18)

Sacramento Bee:
Tips For Parents To Keep California Kids Healthy Amid COVID 

The Sacramento Bee checked in with Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious disease at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, to identify ways students and staff can remain safe and healthy on school campus. Blumberg, who said UC Davis has seen an influx of young COVID-10 patients since July, stresses the importance of masks and vaccinations for those who are eligible. (Morrar, 8/18)

What Impact Will The Pandemic Have On Early Literacy? 

The pandemic has touched many students with heightened stress, disruptions and remote learning hurdles, but experts say it may have the greatest impact on the youngest learners, those in the formative years of learning to read. Creating a language-rich environment on Zoom has been hard for teachers, and that may impact reluctant readers, who may not spend enough time reading at home. (D’Souza, 8/18)

San Francisco Chronicle:
How Bay Area Counties Are Preparing To Roll Out COVID Booster Shots

The Bay Area could soon see the return of mass COVID-19 vaccination sites and high demand for additional doses with the expected recommendation that most fully vaccinated people get booster shots. Local officials call it a prudent next step in the evolving course of the pandemic. Bay Area health officials said Tuesday that they are ready to scale up to administer boosters, once the anticipated recommendation comes down from the Biden administration, as they scramble to protect people against the wildly infectious delta variant that is driving the fourth coronavirus surge. An announcement from Washington was expected as soon as this week. (Vaziri, 8/17)

San Francisco Chronicle:
COVID Booster Shots: Here’s The Latest Info On When And How To Get Them In The Bay Area

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month recommended that people who are immunocompromised get an additional dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to be better protected from the coronavirus. On Tuesday, reports said that the Biden administration was likely to recommend a booster for everyone who is at least eight months out from receiving their second dose. (Echeverria, 8/17)

Bay Area News Group:
COVID Vaccine Boosters Seem Likely. How Will That Work?

The Biden administration reportedly plans to announce all fully vaccinated Americans should get a booster shot eight months after their last dose to bolster immunity against COVID-19. The news comes amid a massive summer wave of infections across the country, even in the highly immunized Bay Area, and around the world driven by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus. (Woolfolk, 8/18)

Modesto Bee:
COVID Vaccine Clinic Is Set For Beyer High In Modesto 

A leading medical group will provide COVID-19 vaccines at a free public clinic Friday at Beyer High School in Modesto. Sutter Gould Medical Foundation is teamed with Modesto City Schools to offer the two-step Pfizer vaccine and one-shot Johnson & Johnson. Stanislaus County is undergoing a surge of new cases and hospitalizations driven by the delta variant of the coronavirus. Tuesday, the county Health Services Agency reported 363 new cases and 215 COVID patients hospitalized in the county’s five hospitals, including 44 in intensive care units. (Carlson, 8/18)

San Francisco Chronicle:
TSA Says Masks Will Be Required On Public Transit, Airports Into The New Year

Passengers will be required to wear masks on the nation’s trains, buses, airplanes and airports through Jan. 18 under a federal mandate extended Tuesday by the Biden administration. The mask mandate by the Transportation Security Administration had been set to expire Sept. 13. The extension of the mandate on public transit and airports comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases across California and nationally due to the highly transmissible delta variant. (Cano, 8/17)

City News Service:
LA County Set To Order Masks At ‘Mega Events’ Like Dodgers, Rams, Chargers Games 

Everyone attending outdoor “mega-events” of more than 10,000 people — such as open-air concerts and baseball, football and soccer games — will have to wear a face covering in Los Angeles County under a new COVID-19 health order taking effect later this week. The new order, which will become effective at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, will require mask wearing in such outdoor settings except when people are “actively eating or drinking.” The order will apply to everyone, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. (8/17)

Los Angeles Times:
L.A. County To Require COVID Masks At Large Outdoor Events 

In the latest move aimed at impeding the spread of the coronavirus, Los Angeles County will require face coverings for anyone attending large outdoor events — such as concerts, festivals and sports games — regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19. The order, which goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, applies to outdoor events that attract crowds of more than 10,000 people. In those cases, attendees must “wear face masks at all times, except when actively eating or drinking,” the order states. That’s further defined as “the limited time during which the mask can be removed briefly to eat or drink, after which it must be immediately put back on.” (Money and Lin II, 8/17)

Los Angeles Times:
L.A. Council To Vote On Vaccinations For City Workers 

Los Angeles city employees would have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by early October unless they are granted an exemption for medical or religious reasons, under a new ordinance up for a vote Wednesday at the City Council. The proposed law permits people with medical conditions or “sincerely held religious beliefs” that prevent them from getting the shots to seek an exemption, requiring regular testing for such employees. (Alpert Reyes, 8/18)

Los Angeles Times:
In L.A., Vaccination Mandates With No Exemptions Gain Steam 

Los Angeles Philharmonic audience members will need to be fully vaccinated to attend concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall beginning Oct. 9. That announcement Monday by the orchestra is the latest in a wave of similar declarations by performing arts groups signaling a hardening line on vaccination rules in the Southland: No longer is a negative coronavirus test an alternative to proof of vaccination at some venues — and that applies even to kids under 12, who are not yet eligible to receive the shots. (Gelt, 8/17)

The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat:
Sonoma County Approves COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate For County Employees

Sonoma County’s elected leaders Tuesday approved an order requiring about 4,400 county workers to get fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing, a move intended to slow rampant spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The action by the area’s largest employer came two weeks after county public health officials said they will require all area first responders — law enforcement, fire and emergency medical employees — to be inoculated by Sept. 1 or deal with weekly virus testing. (Espinoza, 8/17)

Bay Area News Group:
Mayors Encourage Others To Join In Vaccine, COVID Test Mandates For City Workers

With COVID-19 on the rise again, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe and Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk have joined forces to challenge other Bay Area mayors to require city government employees to get vaccinated or take weekly tests. The two East Bay mayors announced their effort Tuesday during a news conference at Antioch City Hall, saying they hope such mandates will drive up vaccination rates to help fend off the delta variant. (Prieve, 8/17)

 Law Enforcement Union Pushing Back On Vaccine Requirements 

A growing number of employers in California are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for workers — including local governments, but many law enforcement officers remain hesitant. The city of Sacramento is moving to impose a vaccination requirement for its employees, and refusal could result in possible termination. Despite this, a local police union is pushing back, and it’s a scenario that’s similarly playing out across the state. (8/17)

San Diego Union-Tribune:
Rage Over Vaccine, Mask Mandates Boils Over During County COVID-19 Meeting 

What started more than a week ago with a protest against COVID-19 restrictions outside Rady Children’s Hospital spread into the county administration center Tuesday. More than 100 public speakers from across the region threatened the San Diego County Board of Supervisors with retribution for local leadership’s support of increasing mandates that require masking and proof of vaccination or regular testing in many workplaces from school districts to health care facilities. (Sisson, Brennan and Durham, 8/17)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Caldor Fire In El Dorado County Explodes To 30,000 Acres, Rips Through Grizzly Flats, Injures 2

A vegetation fire that began several days ago in El Dorado County exploded into a 30,000-acre monster Tuesday, leveling parts of the town of Grizzly Flats and threatening to incinerate other nearby communities. The speed with which the Caldor Fire grew — from 6,500 acres to 30,000 within hours — underscored the unpredictability and high danger faced by communities nestled in the forests of the Sierra foothills. (Tucker, Hernandez and Fracassa, 8/17)

Sacramento Bee:
Town Of 7,000 Braces As Caldor Fire In CA Burns Nearby 

Officials told residents in Pollock Pines, the most populous community in the vicinity of Caldor Fire, to evacuate late Tuesday as the Caldor Fire raged a few miles away in the rugged woods and canyons of El Dorado County. The late-evening order followed a tense day. Restaurant owners and other business owners in the community of 7,000 said they were staying alert for evacuation orders as the fire, which exploded overnight, filled the air with smoke. (Kasler, 8/17)

At Least Two Injured, Buildings Destroyed As Caldor Fire Grows Near Pollock Pines 

The Caldor Fire in El Dorado County took off overnight on Monday and continued its explosive growth throughout Tuesday, destroying buildings in Grizzly Flats, prompting the evacuation of Pollock Pines, and injuring at least two civilians. The fire has burned 22,919 acres of 11 p.m., up from 6,500 Tuesday morning. Earlier estimates had been more than 30,000 acres, but Cal Fire said it has been moving too quickly to provide an accurate, updated fire perimeter map. (8/17)

Chico Enterprise Record:
Dixie Fire: Overnight Wind Shifts Prompts More Evacuation Orders

An evacuation order for the community of Mineral was issued at 10 p.m. by the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday night, making the area the latest to be threatened by the Dixie Fire. The sheriff’s office said Mineral residents could evacuate to the Veterans Hall in Los Molinos and should leave Mineral westbound on Highway 36. (Blake and Couchot, 8/18)

San Francisco Chronicle:
PG&E Begins Power Shutdowns In Northern California Amid Elevated Wildfire Threat

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. began cutting power to thousands of customers in Northern California Tuesday in an effort to avert starting new any new wildfires. PG&E had warned Sunday that it was considering preemptive shut-offs as weather forecasts predicted the confluence of dry offshore winds, “extreme to exceptional” drought conditions and extremely dry vegetation. The company’s equipment has been linked to some of the most destructive wildfires in California history, and it instituted public safety shut-offs in 2018 to try to lower that risk. (Hernandez, 8/17)

Map: Here’s Your Current Air Quality Report For The Bay Area 

The map below, updated hourly, shows air quality levels across broad areas in the Bay Area. AirNow is also running a pilot project that adds data from low-cost sensors to a fire and smoke map. The Bay Area air district lists current and recent AQI from individual monitoring stations. Here is how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke. (8/17)

Los Angeles Times:
MWD Declares Water Supply Alert Amid Worsening Drought 

Southern California’s powerful water agency on Tuesday issued a supply alert, calling on the region to conserve vital resources and prepare for continued drought — a move that brings the state’s largest population center closer to the tough water restrictions imposed on communities elsewhere. The move comes one day after U.S. officials declared the first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River, which is a key source of water for the region. (Smith and Wick, 8/17)

Former Rep. Doug Ose Drops Out Of California Recall After Heart Attack

Former Rep. Doug Ose has ended his California gubernatorial campaign after suffering a heart attack just weeks ahead of the election. “While I’m told I should expect a full recovery, additional procedures and potentially surgery are required, and it has become clear that I must now focus my attention on rehabilitation and healing,” Ose said in a statement. “Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do. It is what is: my campaign for governor is over.” (White, 8/17)

Sacramento Bee:
Anthem, Dignity Health Reach Agreement On Fees And Contract

Leaders of Anthem Blue Cross said Tuesday that they have reached an agreement with Dignity Health on a new contract, settling a disagreement that had severed relationships between thousands of Californians and their Dignity doctors. The two health care companies were unable to come to an agreement over fee increases, and Dignity informed Anthem it was terminating the contract as of July 15. However, many customers said they did not receive letters notifying them of that split until days later. (Anderson, 8/17)

Sacramento Bee:
A Pill For COVID-19? UCSD Scientists Say They’re Able To Deliver Remdesivir In A Capsule

Scientists at University of California, San Diego, have developed a way to put remdesivir and other intravenous COVID-19 treatments into a capsule that patients could safely take orally at home, according to a paper in an online issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Since the pandemic began, scientists worldwide have been seeking a treatment that people infected with COVID-19 can take before they are so severely ill that they have to go to a hospital, and the need for it remains pressing as many people are opting not to get the vaccine and are falling ill with variants of the respiratory illness. (Anderson, 8/17)

San Diego Union-Tribune:
UC San Diego Pulls In Record $1.54B Behind Research Tied To COVID-19 

UC San Diego pulled in a record $1.54 billion for research during the fiscal year ending on June 30, a 6 percent increase directly tied to studies involving the pandemic. It was the 12th straight year that UCSD has obtained at least $1 billion for research and maintains the school’s status as one of the 10 largest research universities in the country. Campus officials say UCSD got more than $55 million to study everything from how COVID-19 spreads to the development of vaccines to fight the virus. (Robbins, 8/17)

Here’s What The Historic Increase In Food Assistance Could Mean For Californians 

The Biden administration has approved updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), giving families who currently receive governmental assistance additional funds to help feed themselves and their families. The recently approved funding is the largest single increase in benefits to date. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday released a re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP benefits, administered by CalFresh in California. (Treisman, 8/18)

Los Angeles Times:
California’s Unemployment System A Vulnerability For Newsom 

Nearly a year after a “strike team” appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended an overhaul of California’s unemployment benefits system, hundreds of thousands of jobless residents continue to experience delays in getting payments and the state is still grappling with the loss of billions of dollars to fraud. And while the state Employment Development Department has made some progress in adopting change, the festering problems have become a leading issue for the campaign seeking to recall Newsom from office on Sept. 14. (McGreevy, 8/18)

San Diego Union-Tribune:
Small But Growing Program Offers A Home, Family To Adults With Developmental Disabilities

At the top end of a sunny street in Lakeside lives the Cox family. There’s mom and dad, Paige and Dan Cox, two friendly Rottweilers and three adult men with developmental disabilities who live harmoniously as siblings. Trent Cox, 28, was adopted by the Coxes as a baby; Nathan Wilhelm, 28, moved in seven years ago as a foster “son”; and Bruce Kopstein, 58, arrived with his Wurlitzer piano nearly five years ago. For Trent, whose two older sisters moved out when he was in his early teens, having two “brothers” to share his life with in recent years has been a big plus in his life. (Kragen, 8/17)

Los Angeles Times:
In South L.A., Turning To Black Midwives To Give Birth 

Allegra Hill knew she wanted to be a midwife long before she knew exactly what the term meant. Her mother had delivered her with the help of a midwife, and “every birthday I would hear my birth story … and how giving birth was the best day of her life,” Hill said. But as Hill moved through college, the path to becoming a midwife wasn’t clear. So she settled for a job in advertising — until another family birth rekindled her dream. (Banks, 8/18)

Bay Area News Group:
San Jose Lead: Santa Clara County Pursue Early Closure Of Reid-Hillview Airport

Residents living near Reid-Hillview Airport who have long complained about the loud buzz of aircraft flying overhead, feared that a plane could come crashing into their home and stressed about leaded aviation fuel poisoning their children received a major victory this week. After hearing more than three hours worth of comments from community members, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday night to pursue an expedited closure of the 180-acre general aviation airport in East San Jose, as well as a ban on the sale of leaded aviation fuel at the facility. (Angst, 8/18)

San Francisco Chronicle:
San Francisco Plans To Buy Four Properties To House Homeless People Across The City

San Francisco is pursuing purchasing four properties, scattered across the city, by the end of the year to turn into housing with supportive services for homeless people. The city reviewed dozens of potential sites and settled on a motel in the Outer Mission, an apartment building intended for student housing in SoMa, a single-room occupancy hotel in the Mission and a tourist hotel in Japantown. Nonprofits will run the sites and provide services such as a case manager to deal with tenant issues and connections to treatment for substance use or mental health. (Moench, 8/17)

San Francisco Chronicle:
S.F. Is Closing Its Homeless Hotels. But With More Federal Funding On Tap, Advocates Are Pushing Back

The Biden administration is expected to announce Tuesday that it will fully reimburse states for certain COVID-19 expenses through the end of 2021, which means emergency shelter — like San Francisco’s homeless hotel program — will continue to be completely covered, an administration official confirmed to The Chronicle. The decision comes at a critical time for San Francisco, which recently began winding down its hotel program that sheltered thousands during the pandemic. Federal officials originally planned to yank emergency funding Sept. 30, but the administration decided to extend that deadline amid a troubling surge in delta variant cases across the country. (Thadani and Kopan, 8/17)

The Mercury News:
Lawsuit Demands Oakland Crack Down On Homeless Camps

Fed up with homeless encampments that have taken over streets, parks and open spaces, a group of Oakland residents is suing the city. In a lawsuit filed this week, grassroots group Neighbors Together Oakland is demanding that the city enforce the encampment management policy the City Council passed last October. By failing to enforce the policy and find shelter for people sleeping outside, city staff have put Oakland’s housed residents and unhoused residents of the camps in danger, according to the lawsuit. (Kendall, 8/18)