Latest California Healthline Stories
California Shutters Bars, Indoor Restaurants: Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signaled a major retreat in the state’s two-month effort to recover from the economic collapse caused by the coronavirus, ordering the closure of bars, indoor restaurants, movie theaters and many other recently reopened businesses across the state. With infections surging, Newsom also further tightened business restrictions in 29 counties that together account for about 80% of the state’s population. Those counties must now close gyms, houses of worship, hair and nail salons, offices for noncritical work sectors, shopping malls and barbershops. Read more from Dustin Gardiner, Erin Allday and Tatiana Sanchez of the San Francisco Chronicle and Melody Gutierrez of the Los Angeles Times.
Young People Who Smoke, Vape Have Higher Risk of Dying From COVID-19, UCSF Study Finds: Smoking was the most common risk factor for severe COVID-19 complications among otherwise largely healthy young people, according to a UCSF study published Monday in the Journal of Adolescent Health. For young men, smoking or vaping may more than double the potential of being hospitalized, needing intensive care or even dying from the virus. For young women, it could increase the possibility 1½ times. Read more from Mallory Moench of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Newsom Adds Firefighters, COVID Precautions As Fire Season Heats Up: The seemingly impossible task of gearing up for fire season in the midst of a surging pandemic fell with full force on California on Thursday, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to lay out the state’s battle plan. He announced the hiring of 858 seasonal firefighters to replace prison crews whose ranks were cut in half after several of those inmates tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting a quarantine at 12 Northern California conservation camps. Newsom also said state emergency officials are working with the hotel industry to make rooms available for people displaced by fires so that fewer evacuees would be sent to shelters. Features will include socially distanced beds, temperature checks, mandatory face coverings and individually boxed meals to prevent mixing between families. “We’ve got to keep [firefighters and evacuees] safe,” Newsom said. “We’ve got to keep these environments COVID-free.” Read more from Taryn Luna of the Los Angeles Times and Peter Fimrite, Alexei Koseff and Cynthia Dizikes of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Struggling For Cash, Stanford Cuts 11 Varsity Sports Programs: Stanford on Wednesday announced that it will eliminate 11 varsity sports at the conclusion of the 2020-21 academic season. In a statement, the university said the athletic program had been under review for some time, and while the coronavirus pandemic played a role in the decision, ultimately it was the cost of supporting so many programs that led to the move. The sports that will be eliminated are: men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball and wrestling. Athletic director Bernard Muir also addressed the elephant in the room: “The other unknown that we continue to try to get our arms around is whether we will have football.” Read more from Michael Lerseth of the San Francisco Chronicle.
‘A Herculean Task’: San Francisco Schools Unlikely To Reopen By Mid-August: It looks increasingly likely that few, if any, San Francisco students will be back full-time in classrooms this fall, but families won’t know for sure until the end of July -- less than three weeks before the scheduled first day of school. Reopening to all students will be virtually impossible by Aug. 17, given staffing and facilities challenges as well as shortfalls in funding to hire the necessary custodians and nurses and in critical supplies like soap and hand sanitizer, administrators and community members involved in the planning process told the San Francisco Chronicle. Alida Fisher, a parent of three city students and a community member on the district’s logistics committee, said that based on current conditions, there is no way that all students will be back in class in mid-August. “It’s an impossible task. It’s a herculean task,” she said. “I just don’t think we’ve got the human capital and the human capacity to do it.” Read more from Jill Tucker of the San Francisco Chronicle.
California Assembly Delays Return After 5 Test Positive For COVID-19: The California Assembly, already mired in a scheduling mess, announced that lawmakers and staffers would not be coming back to the Capitol next Monday as originally planned because five lawmakers and staffers tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an email obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. A new return date has not been set. The Legislature broke for an unprecedented emergency recess in March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and was away from Sacramento until May. After passing the state budget late last month, lawmakers left town again with the plan to return next week to finish the session, which ends Aug. 31. One assemblywoman, Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, wrote on Twitter on Monday that she tested positive for COVID-19 and will remain in quarantine with her daughter until a doctor instructs her otherwise. Read more from Alexei Koseff of the San Francisco Chronicle and Mackenzie Hawkins of the Sacramento Bee.
California’s COVID-19 Outlook Worsens Over July Fourth Weekend: Coronavirus hospitalizations continued to rise and more counties were added Sunday to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 watch list, which is now at its highest level since the pandemic began. The rate at which coronavirus tests in California are coming back positive has jumped 42% over the last two weeks, according to Los Angeles Times data. The Fourth of July marked the 15th consecutive day that California tallied record hospitalization numbers of confirmed coronavirus patients. Read more from Rong-Gong Lin II, Maria L. La Ganga and Kristi Sturgill of the Los Angeles Times.
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Doctors, Nurses Angry As Cases Soar: Hospitalizations have increased 43% in the last two weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, and many hospital workers aren’t the least bit shocked. “I’m not sure why everyone is so surprised that we’re surging again,” said one emergency room physician in Los Angeles County who wrote to the Los Angeles Times. “(The problem) never went away, and we opened up” while mask-wearing was being “politicized.” The physician called the situation “very frustrating.” Along the same lines, Erin McIntosh, 37, a rapid response nurse in the Inland Empire, said the last few months leave "us feeling like we’re not enough. I feel like this is all setting us up to fail.” Meanwhile, Riverside County intensive care unit beds nearly hit capacity Sunday. Read more from Anita Chabria, Emily Baumgaertner, Stephanie Lai, Taryn Luna and Kristi Sturgill of the Los Angeles Times.
Breaking News: Supreme Court deals a blow to abortion opponents, rejects Louisiana clinic law (Los Angeles Times)