Latest From California Healthline:
A high-profile commission created by Gov. Gavin Newsom will convene for the first time Monday to discuss how to get every Californian covered. But don't expect the state to adopt a single-payer system anytime soon. (Rachel Bluth, 1/27)
Good morning! Here are your top California health stories for the day.
San Francisco Activates Emergency Operations Center As Coronavirus Cases Continue To Climb In China: San Francisco Mayor London Breed and city health officials reiterated there have been no confirmed cases in San Francisco, but Dr. Tomás Aragón of the public health department said that the city is “actively preparing for confirmed cases.” Aragón added that people in the Bay Area have a “low risk of becoming infected” unless they recently were in Wuhan or came into contact with a confirmed case. Read more from Dominic Fracassa of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Also on Monday, the United States government announced that it is evacuating diplomats and staff from its Wuhan embassy and will fly them in a chartered plane to southern California’s Ontario Airport, about 38 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, on Wednesday morning. All passengers will be screened for symptoms in Wuhan prior to departure and will be monitored upon arrival in California. Read more from Lisa M. Krieger of the Bay Area News Group, and Audrey Garces and Michelle Wiley of KQED.
And a glitch with a new tool to track the coronavirus caused some consternation when it pinpointed a case in the Fresno area rather than in two Southern California counties, as public health officials had announced over the weekend. Read more from Cathie Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.
Covered California Deadline Looms, With Individual Mandate Penalty Lurking Behind It: For those who enroll by the Friday deadline, benefits will take effect on Saturday. After that, only those with a qualifying life event, such as a job change or a move, can sign up. California for the first time is requiring all residents to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18, or 2.5% of one’s annual income, whichever is higher. Many Californians don’t know about the state mandate or state financial assistance, according to a December survey by Covered California. Fifty-six percent of uninsured residents and 38% of insured residents were not aware of the requirement to buy insurance, the survey found, and 62% of uninsured residents were not aware financial help is available. Read more from Catherine Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Below, check out the full round-up of California Healthline original stories, state coverage and the best of the rest of the national news for the day.
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More News From Across The State
San Francisco Chronicle:
Court OKs Trump Administration Bans On Immigrants Who Use Public Benefits
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to start enforcing its ban on legal status and work permits for noncitizens who accept public benefits, such as food stamps and Medicaid, while legal challenges continue from immigrant advocates and states including California. The justices voted 5-4 to suspend an order by a federal judge in New York blocking the policy change, which had been scheduled to take effect in October. (Egelko, 1/27)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Another Patient Files Suit Amid SF’s Laguna Honda Hospital Abuse Scandal
Another patient at Laguna Honda Hospital has filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco facility in the wake of a widespread patient abuse scandal, alleging misconduct by hospital staffers. The suit, filed last week in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleges that employees took photos of the plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, while she was naked, and used the photos for non-medical purposes, distributing them among one another, “exposing (her) to intentional embarrassment and ridicule.” (Cassidy, 1/27)
Los Angeles Times:
CIA Psychologist Says He Threatened To Kill 9/11 Plotter's Son
A CIA psychologist testified here Monday that he told self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed that if there was another attack on America, he would kill Mohammed’s son. James Mitchell, who designed, oversaw and often carried out the harsh interrogation program in the CIA’s secret black-site prisons, said that in retrospect the threat was probably made in poor judgment but added that “I wanted him to remember it.” (McDermott, 1/27)
CA Black Market Marijuana Vape Pens Cut With Additives
California black market marijuana retailers have sold vape cartridges that were cut with undisclosed additives — including one chemical linked to a deadly outbreak —according to a state law enforcement department. The Bureau of Cannabis Control in December seized more than 10,000 vape cartridges during a series of raids on illicit marijuana retailers in the Los Angeles last December, one of several dozen raids that the bureau conducted in 2019. (Sheeler, 1/27)
CA Senate Paid Thousands To Clean Vaccine Protester’s Blood
The California Senate paid at least $70,000 to clean and disinfect its chamber after an anti-vaccine activist threw a menstrual cup that splattered lawmakers with blood in September. According to invoices obtained by The Sacramento Bee through the Legislative Open Records Act, the Senate paid $8,700 to ForensiClean, a Sacramento company that specializes in the “removal of blood and other potentially infectious material,” and $62,595 to NRC US Holding Company, an agency that sends response teams to manage “spill and high hazard” situations. (Wiley, 1/28)
The Associated Press:
US Attorney Announces $145M Settlement In Opioid Case
A San Francisco-based health information technology company will pay $145 million to resolve criminal and civil charges that it helped set up an electronic health records system that encouraged physicians to prescribe opioids to patients who might not need them, federal prosecutors in Vermont said Monday. Vermont U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan said the company Practice Fusion, Inc., took kickbacks from a major opioid company in exchange for using its software to influence physicians to prescribe opioid pain medication. (Ring, 1/27)
Capital Public Radio:
DNA Links Father To Death Of Baby, Four Other Infants In Yolo County Cold Case
A Delano man has been charged with killing five of his infant children, including one he is accused of dumping in slough outside the city of Woodland.In March of 2007, a fisherman with a bow and arrow was on the banks of a slough between County Road 22 and Interstate 5 east of Woodland. The angler missed his target, but the arrow hit something solid and stuck. When he pulled it up, he discovered it was a box, held down by weights. (Moffitt, 1/27)
Los Angeles Times:
Bill Could Force Utilities To Pay Customers For Power Outages
California utilities could be banned from charging for electricity during power shut-offs and required to reimburse their customers for spoiled food or other financial losses under legislation that cleared the state Senate on Monday. Senate Bill 378, opposed by Pacific Gas & Electric and the state’s two other largest utilities, is a response to the power shut-offs that left millions in the dark last year, a tool the companies began using to reduce the risk of their electrical equipment starting wildfires. (Luna, 1/27)
The New York Times:
Chinese Officials Race To Contain Anger Over Virus
The Chinese government scrambled to contain not only the coronavirus epidemic but also growing expressions of public fury over the management of the crisis as the death toll rose on Tuesday to at least 106. China’s National Immigration Administration on Tuesday encouraged Chinese citizens to reconsider the timing of overseas travel to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, it said on its WeChat account. That came as the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged American citizens to avoid nonessential travel to China. (Buckley and Myers, 1/27)
Trump Is Facing His Biggest Outbreak Emergency — And Experts Are Worried
When Ebola was spreading in West Africa in 2014, Donald Trump took to Twitter. “STOP THE FLIGHTS!,” he blasted in all capital letters. “NO VISAS FROM EBOLA STRICKEN COUNTRIES.” He even cast doubt on the honesty of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tweeting: “Ebola is much easier to transmit than the CDC and government representatives are admitting. Spreading all over Africa — and fast.” (Fox, 1/28)
CDC: 110 People In U.S. Under Investigation For Wuhan Coronavirus
Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a call that officials are expected to soon announce travel recommendations amid the growing outbreak. As of Sunday, there are more than 2,000 confirmed cases worldwide — the majority in China — and 56 have been confirmed deaths. The CDC is advising against nonessential travel to Wuhan, and it recommends people traveling more broadly throughout China take enhanced precautions. (Ehley, 1/27)
The Washington Post:
Coronavirus Live Updates: Asia Faces Massive Economic Hit From Outbreak
Global markets saw heavy losses on Monday with the Dow plunging 1.6 percent. That trend is continuing across Asia on Tuesday as markets are opening down after the Lunar New Year’s holiday. Both South Korea and Japan’s markets have dropped nearly 3 percent. (Shih and Denyer, 1/28)