Latest California Healthline Stories
Paradise Residents Relive Trauma Of 2018 As Fire Takes Aim At Homes: Last year, Victoria Sinclaire and her family were the picture of triumph — the first residents in Paradise to move into a newly rebuilt home after the state’s most destructive wildfire burned theirs down in 2018. But on Wednesday, an explosive blaze that scorched an estimated 230,000 acres in 24 hours was inching closer to Paradise. “It’s that same feeling of being afraid,” she said. “I can’t seem to stop shaking. … It feels like it’s happening all over again, except this time I get to take my clothes.” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle and the Bay Area News Group.
California’s Air Quality Hits Bottom: Californians are experiencing the worst air quality in the nation as wildfires across the West produce dangerous levels of smoke that can damage developing lungs and increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Some preliminary studies show breathing particulate pollution from wildfires can make people more vulnerable to being infected by the coronavirus. Read more from the Fresno Bee and LA Daily News.
For Homeless, Wildfires Make Difficult Situation Even Worse: Susana de Sant’Anna hasn’t been able to take a full breath of air since about June 2015. That was when she was hospitalized in San Francisco with severe sepsis and an abscess of the left lung. After two lung surgeries, she burned through her savings and became homeless. Now, with wildfire smoke choking the city and the lingering threat of COVID, Sant’Anna spends her days hiding in a hotel room paid for by donations that she stretches by cutting back on food. “They’re saying people like me with vulnerabilities need to be in a safe place, but I don’t have a home,” Sant’Anna said. Read more from The Guardian.
Californians Warned To Take COVID Precautions At The Beach: As Southern California gets hit with another heat wave bringing triple-digit temps inland in coming days, the coastline is expected to be especially crowded through the Labor Day weekend. State Parks South Coast District Superintendent Kevin Pearsall said there’s no anticipated beach closures or parking lot restrictions for the State Parks system’s beaches, which includes the popular Leo Carrillo north of Malibu, Bolsa Chica State Beach, Crystal Cove and Doheny State Beach. People must wear masks if entering a park building that is open, Pearsall said. Read more from the Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times.
Walk-Up COVID Testing Wins Raves: Access to free and convenient coronavirus testing at transportation hubs in the Bay Area and beyond may be the key to slowing high infection rates among low-income Latinos, data released Wednesday from a three-week UCSF testing initiative show. Researchers offered free, walk-up testing in August at the plaza at 24th and Mission streets in San Francisco to gauge the effectiveness of testing in a transit hub. The initiative was successful and should be replicated elsewhere, researchers said. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.
New COVID-19 Reporting System Coming In October: California will create a new COVID-19 data reporting system that will better handle large numbers of coronavirus cases than the state’s current system, which malfunctioned in July. The state has signed a six-month, renewable $15.3 million contract with Optum Insight to build the system. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times.
Lawmakers Pass Flurry Of Health-Related Bills: California lawmakers on Monday wrapped up a legislative session largely defined by the pandemic as they approved new COVID-19 sick leave for food workers, added sweeping labor protections for laid-off hotel staff and made it easier for essential employees to file for workers’ compensation. The bills now head to Gov. Gavin Newsom. Read more from the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle and the Associated Press.
Color-coded COVID System Starts Today: Gov. Gavin Newsom's new color-coded reopening system for California counties, which he unveiled Friday, begins today. Under the new ranking system, counties fall into four color-coded categories — purple, red, orange and yellow — depending on the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of tests that come back positive, Newsom said. For example, in purple-tiered counties, where COVID is deemed most widespread, restaurants will only be allowed to operate outside. Restaurants in red-tier counties can operate at 25% capacity indoors. Read more from the Sacramento Bee, KCRA, SFGate, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle.
In Unprecedented Move, Nearly All Republican State Senators In Quarantine: Nearly every Republican in the California Senate was forced to stay away from the Capitol on Thursday as they quarantined after coming into close contact with a fellow senator who later tested positive for the coronavirus. The extraordinary move, during legislators’ pivotal final week in session, came a day after Sen. Brian Jones, R-Santee, tweeted that he had been infected with the virus. Read more from Dustin Gardiner of the San Francisco Chronicle and Melody Gutierrez and Taryn Luna of the Los Angeles Times.
California Will Continue Testing Despite CDC Guidance, Newsom Says: New guidance on coronavirus testing and travel issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drew strong pushback from California officials Wednesday. The CDC now says people without symptoms do not need to be tested, even if they were in contact with an infected person. “I don’t agree with the new CDC guidance. Period. Full stop,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. “We will not be influenced by that change.” Read more from Colleen Shalby and Phil Willon of the Los Angeles Times, Daniel Wu of the Bay Area News Group, Catherine Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle and Martin Espinoza of the (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat.