Daily Blog

BREAKING NEWS! LOS ANGELES COUNTY DINE-IN, SALONS, & BARBERSHOPS CAN OPEN IMMEDIATELY!

May 29, 2020

Hair salons and barbershops can reopen and in-person dining at restaurants can resume immediately, with safeguards, as Los Angeles County moves forward on the Roadmap to Recovery.

The State of California today approved the County’s request for a variance to state guidelines because the County has met the necessary public health thresholds to safely allow critical sectors of the economy and community to begin serving residents.

Los Angeles County is now in the advanced stages of Phase 2 of the State’s Resilience Roadmap.

If at any time, the County’s rate of infection and other key metrics return to unsafe numbers, the Department of Public Health can limit or close reopened sectors.
PLEASE continue to wear a facial covering when in public!

Following public health directives is critical as we go back to work, dine in at our favorite restaurants, and make that long-awaited trip to the barber or salon. Dining in restaurants and getting a haircut will be a different experience than we’re used to. Just as is required for all out-of-home activities, clients and staff will have to practice physical distancing and wear cloth face coverings. There will be limited capacity and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

Specific guidelines for customers at hair salons, barbershops and in-person restaurant dining are below:

For the DETAILED PROTOCOL visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus/.

Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code §120295; Los Angeles County Code § 11.02.080.)

Barbershops and hair salons
• Physical distancing measures will be in place.
• Employees and customers will be screened for symptoms, including cough and fever. Clients feeling unwell should reschedule their appointment.
• Everyone, including clients, must wear cloth face coverings while in the salon or barber shop and clients are encouraged to wear face coverings with earloops to ensure the face covering does not interfere with the hair service.
• Magazines, coffee and other amenities will not be available.
• Clients are encouraged to use credit cards and contactless payment systems. If electronic or card payment is not possible, customers should come with exact cash payment or check, if available.
• Stylists may only serve one client at a time.

Personal grooming that is still closed, or prohibited, at this time:
• Nail salons
• Spa services, including massage, facials and waxing

In-person dining in restaurants:
• Physical distancing measures will be in place.
• Employees and customers will be screened for symptoms, including cough and fever. Patrons feeling unwell should not eat at a restaurant.
• Outdoor seating and curbside pickup are prioritized.
• Reservations will be encouraged.
• Customers will be asked to wait for their table in their cars or outside the restaurant to prevent crowds from gathering.
• Diners must wear cloth face coverings when not eating.
• Bar areas will be closed.
• Occupancy capacity will be limited to 60% for the next three weeks.

Protocols will need to be placed for employee/public viewing at entrances.

For the detailed protocol regarding all types of business please visit:
http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus/.

Los Angeles County is under a “Safer At Work And In The Community” order and public and private gatherings of people outside of a single household unit are not permitted except for public protests and faith-based services, which are permitted to operate with limits on the number of participants.

Everyone must continue to follow physical distancing and infection control protocols and wear a cloth face covering when in contact with others not in your household (anytime in public).

Still closed are:
• Nail salons
• Gyms and fitness centers
• Beach piers
• Indoor entertainment venues including arcades, bowling alleys, movie theaters, live performance theaters, concert halls, stadiums, arenas, theme parks, gaming facilities and festivals
• Indoor museums, galleries and zoos

Click here for a detailed list of what’s open and closed in L.A. County

The new openings are part of a phased progression guiding the safe resumption of public life in Los Angeles County, including the resumption and reopenings that include: in-person faith-based services, in-store shopping at retail stores, bike paths, drive-in movies and other recreational pursuits.

COVID-19 News Briefs for May 29, 2020

May 29, 2020

 President Trump announced that the US will be terminating the relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting funds — he said that the WHO failed to adequately respond to the Covid-19 crisis and that Chinese officials pressured the organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered

 The US House of Representatives voted in favor of a bipartisan bill that will give small businesses more time to use emergency loans and let borrowers spend less of their loan proceeds on payroll. They also backed extending the deadline for spending the Paycheck Protection Program money beyond the current 8 weeks. The action comes as the Senate and White House also have backed extending the deadline for spending PPP money beyond the current 8 weeks, though they haven’t sounded supportive of relaxing the rule that requires that 75% of loan proceeds go toward payroll expenses

 Millions of American homeowners who are eligible for relief under the CARES Act were provided inconsistent or confusing information by more than 2 dozen banks that hold federally backed mortgages, according to a federal watchdog. Under the $2.7 trillion CARES Act, homeowners with government-backed mortgages are entitled to 180 days of forbearance and a 180-day extension — the debt is not forgiven but fees would be waived, and policy holders do not need to provide documentation to plead their case. Among the offenders were Bank of America, PNC, and JP-Morgan Chase Bank. Only 6 banks, including Wells Fargo, gave clear program information

 Amazon workers say that the company won’t tell them how many infections there are at warehouses and Whole Foods stores. So employees across the country have taken it upon themselves to do the tracking, fielding private messages, searching social media platforms for reports and updating numbers in Google documents. An Amazon spokesperson said the company does track the information but does not release them since it may contain outdated information

 New studies suggest that “herd immunity” for the coronavirus is not close — epidemiologists don’t know yet exactly where the threshold is but they expect to find it somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of the population. Even New York is still far below that with 20% of residents tested in a survey in early May showing any antibodies

 Civilian labs and the Pentagon say they’ve had trouble getting the sophisticated, automated machines that can run hundreds of diagnostic tests at once. 3 machine manufacturers — Hologic Inc., Roche, and Abbott Laboratories, have confirmed that demand is outstripping supply. Experts warn that the lack of machines will hold the US back from ramping up testing to better understand where the virus is spreading and how to stop outbreaks

 For the first time in its 124-year history, the Boston Marathon has been cancelled. Organizers plan to hold a virtual race with people running the 26.2 miles remotely

 91 drive-thru testing sites in California are being opened by CVS Health, with dozens in Southern California. The sites will provide self-swab tests to individuals meeting state and age guidelines, in addition to CDC criteria. Patients must register in advance to schedule an appointment on the CVS website, beginning today

 Northern California’s Sonoma County was one of the first in the state to begin reopening in early May and proceeded with outdoor dining, summer camps, drive-in religious services, and other activities to resume. However, cases began to rise (41 per 100,000 people from 20 per 100,000), forcing officials to slow the county’s efforts to reopen. One area officials are particularly concerned about is the increase in instances of the virus being transmitted between people who have recently returned to work. And in Lassen County, this remote area of 30,000 had no previous cases but just discovered 2 positive cases and have decided to walk back previously loosed restrictions on in-person restaurant dining, in-store shopping and salons

 LA County received permission from the state to reopen restaurants for in-person dining, and resume services at barbershops and hair salons, provided they can meet the county’s guidelines and safety protocols, marking a new phase in the region’s efforts to restart the retail economy. Earlier this week, the county reopened shopping malls, many retail businesses, and churches with strict social distancing rules

 LA County reported an additional 1,824 positive cases and 50 deaths bringing the totals to 51,562 cases / 2,290 fatalities. Of the 564,000 tests results processed, 8% were positive. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 24,261/1,112; Long Beach 1,741/NA; Carson 407/24; El Segundo 34/0; Gardena 256/22; Hawthorne 389/11; Hermosa Beach 29/2; Inglewood 583/55; Lomita 51/6; Manhattan Beach 77/3; PV Estates 42/1; Rancho PV 93/11; Redondo Beach 139/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 368/45

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


Terranea Resort to Re-Open on June 12, 2020

May 29, 2020

Terranea Resort is pleased to announce that with careful planning and consideration for the health and well-being of its guests and associates, the resort will reopen for overnight accommodations on June 12, 2020. As part of its ongoing commitment and in partnership with American Hotel & Lodging Association, California Hotel & Lodging Association, and Ecolab, Terranea has conducted a comprehensive review and enhancement of its existing high standards of service and care to ensure a safe and comfortable stay.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected and impacted by this global crisis,” said Terri A. Haack, President of Terranea Resort. “The health and well-being of our guests, associates and community is paramount and we are committed to providing the highest standards of care and safety as we welcome back our valued guests and associates to Terranea. Our team has been working diligently to determine how best to take care of our guests and each other and we are grateful to continue to serve as the ultimate California coastal escape to reconnect and rejuvenate. Reopening the resort on June 12 has special significance for us as it coincides with our 11-year anniversary; we could not be more delighted to open our doors once more and reunite with our dedicated associates and beloved community.”

Terranea has implemented the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Safe Stay industry-wide initiative, developed under the guidance of its Advisory Council, comprised of industry leaders representing all segments of the hotel industry, and in conjunction with public health experts to advance best practices for protecting against the coronavirus. Terranea is Clean + Safe Certified by the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA). Incorporating recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, and county health departments, CHLA has established standards for guest and employee cleanliness, workplace cleaning and safety, and changing guest experiences. In addition, the resort has developed enhanced standards of care and cleanliness, as well as training and protocols, in partnership with cleaning industry expert Ecolab, with over 100 years of experience in assisting hospitality, public health, food safety and hygiene services.

Available services and amenities for resort guests with overnight accommodation reservations include:
• The Resort Pool and Vista Pool are open with social spacing and monitoring.
• The Links golf course is open for advanced tee times.
• Food & beverage offerings for carryout/takeaway which can be enjoyed poolside or at select picnic and dining areas, and in-room dining for guestrooms or private patios and balconies.
• Adventure activities such as kayaking, guided coastal hikes, stand-up paddle boarding, falconry, and more, are also available with social spacing and monitoring.
• marea and pointe discovery retail boutiques will be open with limited guest access.
• Coastal trails and Beach Cove access is partially open and subject to government guidelines.
• All other facilities are temporarily closed until further notice.

Terranea is also extending travel planning flexibility for guests with a 24-hour cancellation and rebooking policy for Guestrooms and Suites; 72-hour cancellation and rebooking policy for Bungalows, Casitas, and Villas. Additional information regarding the new standards of care that guests may anticipate during their stay may be found at http://www.terranea.com/promise. Terranea will continue to gradually open more facilities as government and health officials release new guidelines; for timely updates and relevant information, guests are encouraged to visit Terranea.com/updates. For additional information, reservations, and special offers, visit www.terranea.com or call 866.261.5873.

COVID-19 News Briefs for Thursday, May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

 The US death toll from Covid-19 reached 100,000, the highest recorded in the world

 Japan placed no restrictions on residents’ movements or businesses from restaurants to hairdressers to remain open, and only tested 9.2% of the population, however, had deaths well below 1,000, by far the fewest among the Group of 7 developed nations. Even experts do not know why Japan was successful in taming the outbreak but said it may be due to several factors including: a culture of being health-conscious and mask-wearing; low obesity rate; relatively early decision to close schools; the role of contact tracers who swung into action after the first infections were found in January; its public health centers which employ thousands of nurses experienced in infection tracing; the early response experience gained by the much criticized response to the Diamond Princess cruise ship Covid-19 outbreak in February. However, while Japan has avoided the worst of the health outcomes, the loose lockdown hasn’t protected the country from sliding into a recession, and economic warnings that the second quarter of 2020 will be the worst ever recorded

 149 healthcare professionals in Mexico have died from Covid-19, according to the country’s health ministry — doctors account for 55%, nurses are 17%, and 28% include ambulance workers, maintenance staff, lab technicians, and others. More than 11,000 Mexican healthcare workers have tested positive. Doctors, nurses, and others have taken to the streets to protest a lack of sanitary protective gear and additionally, scores of assaults on health professionals have been reported, in some cases by distraught relatives of coronavirus victims

 Officials at the CDC and in multiple states have acknowledged that they combined the results of viral tests, which detect active cases of the Covid-19 essentially from the onset of infection, with antibody tests, which check for proteins that develop a week or more after infection and show whether a person has been exposed at some point in the past. Mixing the results makes it difficult to understand how the virus is spreading and can give the false impression that the rate of positive test results is declining. AP found at least 9 states mixing results at some point and it is not yet clear to what extent the practice is clouding the national picture

 The National Hockey League became the largest North American professional sports league to announce definitive plans for a return — they announced that 24 teams (not including Kings or Ducks) would return if and when medically cleared, for a unique playoff tournament in 2 hub cities. Official training camps would resume no earlier than July 1, and the season would conclude with the presentation of the Stanley Cup to the 2019-20 champion in the early autumn

 Roughly 2.1 million people applied for US unemployment benefits last week, a sign that companies are still slashing jobs even as more businesses reopen and rehire some laid-off employees. About 41 million people have now applied for aid since March, though not all of them are still unemployed. The Labor Department’s report includes a count of all the people now receiving unemployment aid — 21 million which is a rough measure of the number of unemployed Americans. The national jobless rate was 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression, and many economists expect it will near 20% in May. States are gradually restarting their economies by letting some businesses, from gyms, retail shops, and restaurants to hair and nail salons — reopen with some restrictions. As some of these employers, including automakers, have recalled a portion of their laidoff employees, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits has fallen

 Dr. Cody, a health officer for Santa Clara County, who is credited for the San Francisco Bay Area’s quick stay-at-home order which became a model for California and other states, criticized the state’s increasingly fast pace of lifting restrictions and said it’s important to wait 14 days after easing a restriction to see what effects it has on increased Covid-19 illnesses. She said if the overall rate of disease transmission remains stable in the Bay Area, officials will be able to continue easing restrictions on a regular schedule with at least 2 weeks between each phase

 California’s health department has issued new instructions to all skilled nursing facilities to test all residents and staff — this overrules a less strict LA County testing policy. About half of all coronavirus deaths in the state occurred in skilled nursing facilities

 Huntington Beach-based Wellness Matrix Group and its principals, that claimed they had a FDA-approved coronavirus home testing kit as well as an EPA-approved disinfectant, was sued in LA County Superior Court alleging fraud and dangerous business practices

 An extensive testing for coronavirus is underway in the vast LA County jail system with high infection rates emerging — 40% of 600 asymptomatic inmates at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic tested positive, as well as 60% of inmates with no symptoms in a dorm at the Men’s Central Jail. Sheriff Villanueva claimed that “herd immunity is starting to take place” and the number of inmates with symptoms has gone down

 Alarmed by a rising number of coronavirus infections among meatpacking workers in Vernon, the LA County Board of Supervisors gave local health officials and plant operators 1 week to review worker safety protocols and report back. More than 200 workers have tested positive at 9 facilities, including the Farmer John plant where the union which represents workers there had also called for it to be closed for cleaning and a review of safety protocols

 A Los Angeles County analysis of Covid-19 cases has found that the virus is increasingly ravaging predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods with higher poverty levels, while wealthier, majority-white enclaves that initially reported some of the highest infection rates, see much slower growth. Infection rates across South and Central LA and the Eastside have increased sharply and now lead all regions in the county, exceeding 600 infections per 100,000 people, the analysis shows. These areas include many essential workers, more crowded housing, and higher rates of underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease

 LA County reported an additional 1,094 positive cases/48 deaths. Totals are 49,774 cases/2,241 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 23,644/1,089; Long Beach 1,666/NA; Carson 400/24; El Segundo 34/0; Gardena 257/22; Hawthorne 383/10; Hermosa Beach 29/2; Inglewood 568/54; Lomita 50/6; Manhattan Beach 77/2; PV Estates 42/1; Rancho PV 92/11; Redondo Beach 138/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 363/45

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases

City of Torrance Re-Opening Updates

May 28, 2020

WHEREAS, the City Manager issued Public Order No. 2020-2 on March 18, 2020, that prohibited street fairs, block parties, parades, community runs and cycling events, closing swap meets and all Del Amo Fashion Center stores that are solely accessed from within the internal corridors of the mall, with the exception of certain food and beverage vendors and/or facilities, and
WHEREAS, the City Council ratified Public Order No. 2020-2 on April 7, 2020 in Resolution No. 2020-19; and
WHEREAS, on May 26, 2020, the County of Los Angeles Health Officer issued a new Safer At Home Order entitled “REOPENING SAFER AT WORK AND IN THE COMMUNITY FOR CONTROL OF COVID-19 MOVING THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES THROUGH STAGE 2 OF CALIFORNIA’S PANDEMIC RESILIENCE ROADMAP” that supersedes all prior Safer at Home Orders issued by the County of Los Angeles Health Officer; and
WHEREAS, the County’s May 26, 2020 Safer At Home Order allows, subject to physical distancing, cloth face coverings, and other safety protocols, the following changes:
​• Faith-based organizations my resume services with the number of congregants limited to 25% of the total maximum occupancy or 100 people, whichever is lower;
• All retail may open, including those located in indoor and outdoor retail shopping centers at 50% capacity;
• Flea markets, swap meets, and drive-in movie theatres may resume operations;
• Pools, hot tubs and saunas in a multi-unit residence or part of a homeowners association may reopen.
WHEREAS, the City would like to support its businesses and faith-based organizations to resume operations consistent with the County’s Safer At Home Order by modifying Public Order No. 2020-2.

COVID-19 News Briefs for Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May 27, 2020

 Latin American is now totaling more daily coronavirus infections than Europe or the US, according to WHO, with particular spikes in Brazil, Peru, and Chile. The US, approaching 100,000 deaths, is still the worst-hit single nation, but a new study found that Brazil, which has the second-most reported cases, could see deaths rise fivefold to 125,000 by August

 The Dow closed up 530 points yesterday, the first day since March 20 that traders were physically allowed back on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The traders, most of whose colleagues still work remotely, were required to wear masks, undergo temperature checks and social distance. They were also required to avoid public transit and sign papers absolving the NYSE if they caught the virus, potentially setting a trend for other high-powered industries as they attempt to get back to work

 2 months after Congress approved billions for dollars to replace school meals, only 15% of eligible children have received benefits. The Census Bureau reported that 31% of households with children lacked the amount or quality of food they desired because of affordability and the emergency Pandemic-EBT program was created to compensate for the declining reach of school meals by placing their value on electronic cards that families can use in grocery stores. However, collecting lunch lists from school districts, transferring them to state computers and issuing the cards have proved hard to quickly execute. California enlisted a nonprofit group, Code for America, which got philanthropic support to build an online application for families without cards, a group that includes 1.7 million children. The site went live on Friday morning and by mid-afternoon had applications for 370,000 children

 Amtrak is preparing to cut up to 20% of its workforce in the next fiscal year as the national passenger railroad continues to suffer from a huge decline in ridership as the coronavirus pandemic brought most travel to a halt

 Disney World will reopen its gates, ending a multi-month closure of the park. The theme park, which employs 70,000 people plans a phased reopening on July 11 of its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks and July 15 for EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. They will be implementing several safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In California, Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California, and other theme parks fall into Stage 3 of the state’s roadmap for reopening plan, and a reopen date has not yet been set

 The state announced that some counties can begin to reopen hair salons and barbershops, marking a transition to the third stage of California’s plan to ease stay-at-home orders. However, LA County which accounts for the bulk of Covid-19 cases and half of its reported deaths, is 1 of 11 the state has not yet allowed to push further in reopening

 The state corrections agency has implemented mandatory testing of all employees at the California Institution for Men in Chino as the number of inmates who have died from Covid-19 rose to 9, and 635 inmates and 58 staff have tested positive. The state prison system this week will begin to take in new prisoners for the first time in 2 months

 The California DMV will have 71 field offices open to the public effective Thursday, May 28. A current appointment at the specific office will be required to assist customers with limited transactions that require an in-person visit. Open offices: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/about/foopenings

 The Greek Theatre cancelled their summer season for the first time in 90 years due to the coronavirus pandemic

 The LA County Office of Education released a 45-page campus reopening framework for preschool through 12th grade and recommendations include: 16 students per class; a staggered school day which may include students spending half day at home; mask requirement; facing all desks the same way with 6-foot separation; having students eat at their desks; “alone” playtime activities; books sanitized daily or replaced by online reading; hiring additional bathroom attendants; renting storage pods for unusable furniture

 The LA County Department of Public Health released a new order, aligning the county with California’s latest guidelines and allowing for the resumption of faith-based services, in-store shopping at low-risk retail stores and other recreational activities with restrictions. LA County officials also said Tuesday they would ask the state to allow a quicker reopening of restaurants offering in-person dining and other businesses. A “variance” application will be submitted showing the county has met criteria including no more than 20 hospitalizations on any single day in the last 14 days, fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days, or less than 8% testing positive in the last 7 days. The county must also have contact tracing and testing available for 75% of residents. New data shows the county has met all of these thresholds

 LA County reported an additional 933 positive cases and 53 deaths. Totals are now 48,700 cases and 2,195 deaths. Of 517,000 test results received, 8% have reported positive. There has been a steady decline in hospitalizations — 6,283 people which represents 13% of positive cases. Regarding healthcare workers and first responders, 4,861 positive cases have been reported, an increase of 563 since last week. The majority of cases are in the skilled nursing facilities (44%) and hospitals (26%), with nurses representing 46% of all positive cases. Dr. Ferrer also announced that an Inspector General has been appointed to oversee the skilled nursing facilities in the county which has seen a decline in the number of deaths over the past weeks. LA County Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 23,086/1,070; Long Beach 1,605/NA; Carson 395/23; El Segundo 32/0; Gardena 253/21; Hawthorne 376/10; Hermosa Beach 29/2; Inglewood 112/4; Lomita 50/6; Manhattan Beach 77/2; PV Estates 42/1; Rancho PV 91/11; Redondo Beach 138/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 358/45

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


LA County Moves Toward New Standards for Re-Opening

May 27, 2020

In a major COVID-19 recovery milestone, Los Angeles County is moving toward new standards for a swift and safe reopening in alignment with the State of California guidelines. Among the activities now permitted under the change are faith-based services, in-store shopping at low-risk retail stores, drive-in movies and other recreational pursuits.

In aligning its Health Officer orders with the state’s California Pandemic Resilience Roadmap, the County emphasized its commitment to keeping residents “safer at work and safer in our communities.”

The updated Health Officer Order, to be issued today by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, is part of a phased progression guiding the safe resumption of public life in Los Angeles County, including the recent reopening of beach bike paths and permission for car parades honoring graduates.

The change also sets the stage for the County to request a variance from the state to permit swifter reopening of some sectors.

Examples of activities now permitted under the changes enacted today:
• Faith-based organizations may resume services, with the number of congregants limited to less than 25% of the building’s capacity, or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower.
• All retail, including those located in indoor and outdoor retail shopping centers may now open for business at 50% capacity.
• Flea markets, swap meets and drive-in movie theaters may resume operations.
• Pools, hot tubs and saunas that are in a multi-unit residence or part of a homeowners association may now open.

The Health Officer Order also provides guidelines for public protests. In-person protests are permitted as long as attendance is limited to 25% of the area’s maximum occupancy, or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.

The order emphasizes that physical distancing requirements, cloth face coverings and other safety protocols must be observed as the recovery progresses.

“Aligning Los Angeles County’s health orders with that of the State’s is going to provide immediate relief to our communities. This important step will enable our residents and businesses to have greater clarity and consistency as we continue to take positive steps towards reopening Los Angeles County,” said Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

“With the greenlight from Governor Newsom, people can go back inside our houses of worship and retail shops, with common sense guidelines in place,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “I am hopeful that we can continue to work with the Governor to restore life in Los Angeles County in safe, measured ways — getting people back to work and doing everything within our own power to prevent the spread of this virus.”

“This is another big milestone for LA County as, step by step, we begin safely reopening our communities and economy,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said. “But reopening does not mean going back to business as usual. As long as community members follow safety rules, we can continue to make more progress. Our houses of worship can once again welcome people inside. Shopping malls and communal flea markets can get back to business. I am so proud of all the progress we’ve made to protect our loved ones from COVID-19. Given our resilience and collective sacrifice, we are ready to take the next step to reopen our economy.”

“Los Angeles County’s newest openings are crucial to communities throughout Los Angeles County,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “As we push forward toward recovery, committing to an alignment with Governor Newsom’s plans, we also need to keep prioritizing the recovery of underserved and disadvantaged communities, including communities of color. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on inequity in our health and housing systems; we now have a golden opportunity and obligation to chip away at these inequities. We must strive to make Los Angeles County stronger than it was before.”

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said, “If you decide to go in person for a religious gathering or you must go to a store, be sure to wear your face covering. That’s an important way you are showing up for your family, friends and community. Without people’s willingness to wear face covers, practice physical distancing, and diligently follow public health guidelines, we will not be able to meet our goal of reopening as fully as possible as quickly as possible. I am happy to see us expand activities that people can engage in, but there is no way to overstate the importance of public cooperation in making this reopening work.”

The updated order allows people to take part in all permitted activities while continuing to practice physical distancing and wearing a cloth face covering when in contact with others. Although these updates are being enacted today, Los Angeles County residents are still encouraged to remain in their residences as much as practical and limit close contact with others outside their household both indoor and outdoor.

Gatherings of people not from the same household are still prohibited, except for faith-based services and in-person protests.

Additionally, people 65 years old or older and all people of any age with underlying health conditions should remain in their residences as much as possible. People in these categories should only leave their residences to seek medical care, exercise or obtain food or other necessities. Telework should continue as much as possible.

The County Public Health Department will continue to monitor COVID-19 data indicators closely and may, after consultation with the Board of Supervisors, adjust orders to reflect specific County needs.

Marine Mammal Care Center Releases Rehabilitated Sea Lions

May 27, 2020

In partnership with Terranea Resort, the Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC) rehabilitation team released two rehabilitated sea lions back into their natural habitat with a five-star send off at Terranea’s Beach Cove in advance of World Oceans Day on June 8.

“We are delighted to share this positive recovery as part of our ongoing mission to care for and protect Los Angeles marine life,” said MMCC President Amber Becerra. “Terranea is a special place for us, it is located on the former site of Marineland of the Pacific and the original Marine Mammal Care Center was located there to rehabilitate marine life that needed treatment in the Los Angeles area. We have partnered with Terranea for more than 10 years as part of their commitment to sustainability and protecting our precious coastal habitat.”

To date, the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur has treated and helped rehabilitate more than 8,000 marine mammal patients. The MMCC facility serves all Los Angeles county beaches where they provide care to injured or sick sea lions or sea lions stranded on the 70 miles of beach; with the goal to rehabilitate and release them back to their ocean habitat.

“We are honored to share this longstanding partnership with MMCC for marine mammal releases and support of the organization since opening in 2009,” said Terranea Resort President Terri A. Haack. “We are committed to protecting and stewarding this unparalleled coastal setting and supporting the education of our visitors and guests to enhance awareness and encourage additional support for our partners in the community.”

Video credit Ash Adams.

COVID-19 News Briefs for Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

 5.5 million coronavirus infections have been reported around the world — more than 1.6 million in the in the US, where the death toll is nearing 100,000

 A University of Virginia professor who runs the Center for Open Science said that scientists are still trying to understand Covid-19 and basic questions are not fully answered including how deadly is the virus, how contagious, are there different strains with different clinical outcomes, why Covid-19 creates a devastating disease in some people while leaving others without symptoms or even knowledge that they were infected

 There’s increasing concern that people infected with Covid-19 who show no signs of illness are playing a large role in the transmission. Identifying these “silent spreaders” is becoming more important as states ease the stay-at-home orders. Of 402 residents and workers testing positive for coronavirus at LA County nursing homes, 345, or 86% of them had no symptoms of the illness, LA County Health Director Dr. Ferrer said last week. The White House’s Dr. Birx has emphasized the importance of masks and social distancing and added that it is also important to proactively test asymptomatic people, such as residents and workers in nursing homes and workers at meatpacking plants and in agriculture, since the virus can spread rapidly in the right conditions

 Pharmaceutical giant Merck announced 2 separate efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine and a business partnership to create a promising antiviral drug that can be taken as a pill. The company joins a crowded field of drug makers, biotechnology companies and governments racing toward a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 and competing for funding to support the development of products

 The pandemic is proving to be a boon for bike shops in America and around the world — bicycles are selling out and officials are trying to take advantage of the momentum by expanding bike lanes and launching “slow street” programs by closing streets to cars to create a safer outdoor space for pedestrians and cyclists

 The CDC is issuing a warning that rodents that have been starved of restaurant scraps the past 2 months, are exhibiting unusual and aggressive rodent behavior including rat swarms, brutal fights and even cannibalism. Preventive actions recommended include sealing up access into homes and businesses, removing debris and heavy vegetation, and keeping garbage in tightly covered bins

 Some states have seen a small increase of coronavirus hospitalizations, and the former FDA commissioner said it is probably due to reopening measures. In 10 states, the number of new cases is on the decline, while it seems to be steady in 22 states. But in 18 states, including Georgia, Arkansas, California, and Alabama, the number of new cases is rising

 The WHO announced that it would temporarily drop the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine testing from its global study of experimental Covid-19 treatments. This followed a paper published last week in the Lancet that showed people taking the drug to treat coronavirus were at higher risk of death and heart problems. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are approved treatments for people with malaria or autoimmune diseases including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

 Car rental company Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday because of their financial situation made worse by the Covid-19 shut-down. Hertz had already let go of 14,400 employees, cut spending in marketing and consolidated some outlets, as many of its half a million rental vehicles in the US stand idle

 Crime has dropped dramatically in cities across the US because of the pandemic which is keeping more people at home, however, one exception is car break-ins. According to the Associated Press, vehicle larcenies in New York were up by 63% and Los Angeles saw an increase of nearly 17% as unused cars are increasingly becoming a target for thieves

 Six Flags has planned its first theme park reopening for June 5 with limited capacity — the Frontier City, Oklahoma park will use an online reservation system to manage attendance, employ thermal imaging for temperature checks, and screen bags using touchless technology. Employees will wear masks and park guests older than 2 will be required to wear nose and mouth coverings during their visits

 3 groups have sued Governor Newsom over his executive order to send mail-in ballots to California’s 20.6 million voters in November. He had issued the order as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, making California the first state in the nation to temporarily shift to all-mail voting

 California health officials said Monday that, subject to approval by county public health departments, all retail stores could reopen for in-store shopping under previously issued guidelines. And today, the governor moved to resume salon services, marking the transition in many parts of the state to Stage 3 of the reopening plan. It was unclear whether LA County health officials would adjust their reopening guidelines in light of the state’s announcements

 San Diego State researchers are enlisting an army of volunteer citizen scientists for a new effort to learn more about how Covid-19 spreads and mutates on common surfaces outside of a controlled laboratory. They are collecting 10,000 samples from throughout the community and analyzing viral data along with temperature, time of day, and demographic and socio-economic information to determine where Covid-19 is the most or least dangerous in the environment. Other local efforts are underway in San Diego to determine transmission through the air and the presence of the virus in sewage samples

 A lawsuit was filed Thursday in LA County Superior Court accusing a Glendale nursing home operator of a coronavirus response so improper that it amounted to elder abuse, negligence, and willful misconduct. The family of a 77-year old man who died after contracting Covid-19, accused the nursing home of preventing staff from wearing masks and gloves during the pandemic, downplaying the threat of the virus, and withholding information about exposure to Covid-19 inside the facility

 A team of researchers from UCLA and other universities is developing a breathalyzer-like tool that would rapidly test for coronavirus. If the design is successful and meets federal criteria, the test kits could be produced as early as this fall

 The union that represents workers at the Vernon Farmer John meatpacking plant called Monday for the immediate closure of the facility where 153 workers have tested positive for Covid-19. This is the largest outbreak in LA County to occur outside a nursing home, prison, or other industrial setting, according to the county’s public health department. The facility has 1,800 employees

 LA County remains the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in California, however there are encouraging signs — the county’s 3-day average number of hospitalized coronavirus patients has declined 15%, while its 7-day average of deaths per day is down 3%, according to the county’s public health department

 The LA County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint an inspector general to oversee local nursing homes, which have accounted for more than half of all coronavirus deaths nationwide

 The city of LA opened its largest coronavirus testing site today at Dodger Stadium, where up to 6,000 people can be tested daily. The tests are free and the drive-through facility will have big screens showing videos demonstrating how to administer a self-test to help prepare those waiting in line

 LA County reported an additional 1,843 positive cases; 27 deaths. Totals are 47,822 cases; 2,143 deaths. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 22,567/1,051; Long Beach N/A; Carson 387/22; El Segundo 31/0; Gardena 249/21; Hawthorne 369/9; Hermosa Beach 29/2; Inglewood 553/53; Lawndale 110/3; Lomita 50/6; Manhattan Beach 77/2; PV Estates 42/0; Rancho PV 90/11; Redondo Beach 138/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 357/45

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


All Retail In California Now Open for Business

May 25, 2020

La County Supervisor Janice Hahn just posted to her Twitter page:

ALL retail stores statewide will now be able to reopen for in-store shopping under the same rules Target and Walmart have been able to operate under throughout this crisis.

Ms. Hahn is setting herself up to be the hero of this debacle. Don’t fall for it.

COVID-19 News Breaks for Monday, May 25, 2020

May 25, 2020

 Much of the country remains unlikely to venture out to bars, restaurants, theaters, or gyms soon, according to a new survey by the Associated Press. Only 42% of those who went to concerts, movies, theaters, or a sporting event at least monthly say they’d do so in the next few weeks. And about half of those who regularly went to restaurants, the gym, or traveled, would feel comfortable doing so again. In Georgia, where the governor lifted restrictions a month ago, many business owners in Atlanta and in towns hard-hit by Covid-19 kept their doors shut and reopening does not yet seem to have led to a significant rebound of their economy

 Efforts to bring people back to work and keep them safe could be complicated by rules on disability and age bias, which have prompted a flurry of activity on Capitol Hill. The US Chamber of Commerce is seeking broad liability protections for employers in the event workers or customers get sick, while the AFL-CIO filed a lawsuit demanding the federal OSHA issue tough emergency standards to better protect workers. Special protections already are offered by the Americans With Disabilities Act and The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, making the issues involving workers more vulnerable to Covid-19 more complex

 More than 2.5 million US grandparents are raising their grandchildren due to the opioid crisis and other social issues. These “grandfamilies” are often considered a better alternative to children being placed in non-relative foster care, however, often experience unique challenges with significant economic and social impacts. More recently, an additional worry is contracting Covid-19 and what may happen to their grandchildren if they fall sick

 In response to the coronavirus crisis, funerals including full military honors for veterans at national cemeteries, were suspended, leaving some families only able to watch burials from their cars or delay the funeral for weeks. VA cemeteries will return to normal operations when they can adhere to local health guidelines, can allow atrisk populations to attend, and when military personnel are available to provide military honors

 “The Match: Champions For Charity”, a TV golf exhibition that included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning, raised $20 million for Covid-19 relief

 The California Department of Public Health announced that retailers can reopen their doors to shoppers as long as county health officials approve and the businesses follow safety guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Hair and nail salons, deemed to be at a higher risk, are not included. While Orange and San Bernardino Counties received the green light to reopen more businesses over the Memorial Day weekend, LA County officials had not planned to open until at least July 4

 The state also released new health guidance for religious services, saying houses of worship must limit total attendance to 25% of a building’s capacity and should stop passing around offering plates, among other precautions. However, the health authorities strongly recommend that places of worship continue to use remote services and other activities for those who are vulnerable to Covid-19

\ LA County reported 1,047 additional cases and 12 deaths. Totals are 46,018 cases and 2,116 fatalities. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 21,819/1,036; Long Beach 1,582/NA; Carson 380/21; El Segundo 32/0; Gardena 246; 20; Hawthorne 363/9; Hermosa Beach 28/2; Inglewood 543/53; Lawndale 107/3; Lomita 48/6; Manhattan Beach 77/2; PV Estates 41/0; Rancho PV 86/11; Redondo Beach 138/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 356/44

Memorial Day — a day on which we remember the sacrifice and valor of those who died in military service for our country. Thank you to all those who serve — whether it’s in war or during a pandemic.

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


COVID-19 News Briefs for Sunday, May 24, 2020

May 24, 2020

 The global number of coronavirus cases reported is 5.3 million, with 343,000 deaths. In the US, 1.6 million cases and 97,424 fatalities from Covid-19 have been reported

 3 billion people around the world have nowhere to wash their hands with soap and clean water at home, according to the nonprofit group WaterAid. The organization expressed concern that global funding is being rushed toward vaccines and treatments without any commitment to basic prevention including water and sanitation

 The White House has announced a ban on travel to the US from Brazil due to the spread of coronavirus in Latin America’s hardest-hit country. The ban applies to foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the 14 days before they sought travel to the US. Travel has already been banned from Europe and China

 Researchers said the antiviral drug remdesivir alone is not likely to be sufficient to treat very ill coronavirus patients and future strategies should evaluate antiviral agents in combination with other therapeutic approaches to continue to improve patient outcomes. The data, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed the drug shortened the course of illness from an average of 15 days to about 11 days, but it was not a cure and it did not act quickly. The study also showed that it’s important to start treatment early, before the disease progresses to require mechanical ventilation

 The US Commissioner of the FDA urged Americans observing Memorial Day weekend to follow federal guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, saying the deadly virus “is not yet contained”

 Governor Newsom’s ban on in-person church services was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and is likely to further anger pastors who claim that California is trampling on religious freedoms. More than 1,200 pastors vowed to hold in-person services on May 31, Pentecost Sunday, defying the state moratorium. However, religious leaders throughout the Bay Area urged places of worship to instead hold online gatherings

 Compared to cities nationwide, Los Angeles’ rate of Covid-19 cases and deaths has been relatively low — 2,000 deaths in LA County compared to New York City which is the same population size with a death toll of over 20,000. However, LA County continues to have a high case count compared to the rest of the state. The county reports 426 out of 100,000 people who have tested positive, compared to 270 in San Francisco. LA County also has had 20 fatalities per 100,000, compared to 4 in San Francisco. Analysts are investigating and have not found that LA County residents skew older or have higher rates of health conditions. Other differences being looked at include LA’s delayed stay-at-home order (mid-March versus the Bay Area’s slowdown in late February), LA being 10 times more dense than the rest of the state, and having a higher rate of poverty than every other urban area in California.

 State officials have now cleared 45 counties to resume in-restaurant dining and in-store shopping, including Orange and Riverside Counties, 2 of California’s largest population centers

 LA County health officials have identified Covid-19 cluster outbreaks at 9 industrial facilities in Vernon, including a meat packing plant where more than 150 employees have become infected. The largest outbreak was at the Smithfield plant where Farmer John meat products are packed. Of the 1,837 employees at the plant, 153 of them have tested positive for Covid-19 since March and 41 of them have since recovered and returned to work. The company has offered testing to all workers.

 LA County reported 940 new cases and 14 deaths. Totals are now 44,988 positive cases; 2,104 fatalities from Covid-19. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 21,336/1,033; Long Beach 1,553/NA; Carson 373/21; El Segundo 32/0; Gardena 234/20; Hawthorne 356/9; Hermosa Beach 28/2; Inglewood 534/53; Lawndale 102/3; Lomita 48/6; Manhattan 76/2; PV Estates 41/0; Rancho PV 86/11; Redondo Beach 135/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 353/44

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


COVID-19 News Briefs for Saturday, May 23, 2020

May 23, 2020

 The WHO warned that South America is becoming the new epicenter of the pandemic and Brazil has overtaken Russia in its number of coronavirus cases, registering 330,890 infected people — second only to that of the US. Brazil also recorded 1,001 deaths on Friday alone, raising the country’s total to 21,048 fatalities. Despite having a robust public health care system, Brazil’s response to the pandemic has been criticized as chaotic and contradictory. Covid-19 surges are also being reported in Ecuador and Argentina

 Covid-19 has spread to every continent, including Africa which just topped 100,000 cases. However, Africa’s mortality rate is low compared to other parts of the world. Its young population might explain the low numbers, and the WHO added that many governments there were quick to impose confinement measures which helped slow the spread

 The British government announced that people arriving in the UK next month will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days and could face an unlimited fine if they fail to comply

 China reported no new coronavirus deaths or symptomatic cases on Saturday, the first time that both tallies were 0 on a given day since the country’s outbreak began. There were 28 asymptomatic cases reported, 2 of which were imported. The announcements came as authorities in Wuhan, where the outbreak began, are aiming to test all of the city’s 11 million residents to get a truer picture of the epidemic, most crucially of people who have the virus but show no symptoms

 South Korea’s major cities have shuttered thousands of bars, nightclubs, and karaoke parlors after identifying them as new sources of infection — a coronavirus cluster of 215 cases was traced to nightlife facilities this month. Hong Kong also closed its night clubs and karaoke establishments in April due to an outbreak, and in Japan, entertainment workers were issued more stringent health guidelines that cover nightclubs and hostess bars

 As the official number of US deaths from Covid-19 approaches 100,000, White House officials are questioning whether the toll is inflated by the inclusion of people who died of other conditions while infected by coronavirus. Most experts say the numbers are probably an undercount

 More than 300,000 people passed through US airport security checkpoints on Thursday, the first time since March. It’s also the first time in 8 weeks that daily traffic at checkpoints was more than 10% of the number of people screened last year, according to data from the TSA. The Department of Homeland Security announced that there will likely be longer air travel security lines as they adjust staffing with more people flying and there will be new efforts to reduce person-to-person contact during security checks — travelers will scan their own boarding passes and will also be asked to pack food in a separate bag, so fewer bags will have to be searched by officers. TSA officers will be wearing masks and travelers will also be encouraged (though not required) to do so

 A minority of business are no longer accepting cash, fearing it could be a transmission vehicle for Covid-19. Some experts predict the pandemic will accelerate a steady flight by American consumers away from dollars and cents

 As states begin to reopen, a wave of unpaid utility bills for Americans still out of work are coming due, and it could also drive up rates for everyone — advocates are warning that many households won’t be able to resume paying their utility bills, much less repay their deferred bill. Low-income advocates are asking Congress for a national moratorium on shut-offs for the length of the national emergency and a 6-month grace period to allow people to pay the bills once it ends. Many utilities in California have voluntarily suspended shut-offs but there are already dire signs — Southern California Edison, which provides electricity to 15 million people, has seen an increase of 150,000 customers who have fallen behind on the bill payments in the space of 1 month

 California’s unemployment rate nearly tripled mid-March to mid-April as the state lost an unprecedented number of jobs across all sectors of its economy. 2.3 million payroll jobs were lost and the state’s 15.5% jobless rate is higher than the nation’s because of its reliance on tourism, hospitality, and entertainment businesses frozen by the pandemic

 LA County reported an additional 2,032 positive cases and 41 deaths, total are now 44,055 cases and 2,090 fatalities. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 20,919/1,027; Long Beach 1,513/NA; Carson 369/21; El Segundo 32/0; Gardena 231/21; Hawthorne 355/9; Hermosa Beach 28/2; Inglewood 529/53; Lawndale 99/3; Lomita 48/6; Manhattan Beach 76/2; PV Estates 41/0; Rancho PV 86/11; Redondo Beach 134/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 350/44

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases

Healthcare Heroes Parade

May 23, 2020

Yesterday, the community was invited to join a Parade for Healthcare Heroes at Providence Little Company of Mary and Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

“In Torrance we are so fortunate to have two, award-winning medical centers taking care of our needs day in and day out. But, the dedicated service of our medical professionals has never been more important and apparent as it has since the Coronavirus Pandemic has assaulted members of our community.”

Mayor Patrick J. Furey
City of Torrance

Now, more than ever, it is important for us to support our healthcare workers and other essential workers, however we can. Gratitude and gratefulness is what I have in my heart towards the ones who are sacrificing their comfort on behalf of the community’s health, especially here in Torrance. I am proud to come alongside leaders in the community to express our utmost thanks to our ‘Healthcare Heroes’ today by caravanning – but every day in heart!

Donna Duperron, President & CEO
Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce

It looks like it was a great time! Enjoy the pics!

COVID-19 News Briefs for Friday, May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020

 Covid-19 has infected more than 10,000 healthcare workers in hard-hit Iran which is also dealing with the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East, with 7,249 fatalities among more than 129,000 confirmed cases. A 5-year civil war had already caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis there and the WHO fears the virus is also spreading to other vulnerable populations in the rest of the Middle East

 The widespread interruption of routine immunization programs around the world during the coronavirus pandemic is putting 80 million children under 1 year old at risk of contracting deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases, according to a report today by the WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Many public health experts say they are worried that deaths from diseases including cholera, rotavirus, and diphtheria could far outstrip those from Covid-19 itself

 Using the blood of Covid-19 survivors in treatments shows promising results — and does not appear to increase the risk of dying from the disease, according to initial results of a nationwide clinical trial. The findings also offer an early hint that the treatment may indeed save lives, as well as give healthcare workers and first responders protection known as “passive immunity.” The supply of this convalescent plasma is growing as more people recover from Covid-19, and a vaccine is not expected to become available until 2021

 77 Nobel laureates have requested a probe into the National Institutes of Health’s recent cancellation of a $3 million grant to an American group researching coronavirus in China. They argue that such work is vital for fighting the pandemic

 President Trump announced today that he was designating churches essential businesses so that they can immediately reopen. Hours later, Governor Newsom said he would provide plans on Monday for reopening California churches amid mounting pressure to allow in-person religious services both from protesters and President Trump

 The White House administration also sent a warning letter today to Mayor Garcetti saying the Department of Justice is concerned the city may pursue “an arbitrary and heavy-handed approach” to stay-at-home orders

 White House coronavirus expert Dr. Birx gave a mostly upbeat assessment of the nation’s progress but said today the Los Angeles metropolitan area, which includes Orange County, is continuing to see problems, and said she’s asked the CDC to investigate. She also noted persistent Covid-19 cases in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

 Facebook announced that many of its 48,000 employees will soon be allowed to work from home permanently, and within a decade half the workforce will be remote. CEO Zuckerberg did say that working from home is for experienced employees rather than new college grads who will need in-person training

 State lawmakers rebuked California’s Employment Development Department (EDD), charging that it has failed to address public outcry over delays in answering calls and processing unemployment benefit claims from residents now out of work due to the coronavirus crisis. The EDD was in the process of modernizing its computer system when the pandemic hit and hopes to award a major contract in the fall. However, the modernization of the 30year system is expected to take 7 years

 A month after vowing to test all nursing home residents and staff for Covid-19, LA County health officials have completed the effort in about a third of nursing homes and have dramatically scaled back testing plans. The change, which calls for testing only a small sample of residents in nursing homes that have not had an outbreak, is outlined in a letter county health officials sent to nursing homes last week. Health officials said the decision is the most efficient way to get a quick handle on what is happening in the homes, but some experts fear the move could allow the virus to continue to spread undetected, resulting in more fatalities among a vulnerable population that is already the hardest hit by the pandemic. The Covid-19 death toll at county residential facilities topped 1,000 this week, with the vast majority at nursing homes

 LA County reported an additional 35 deaths and 1,072 positive cases. The totals are now 2,049 fatalities and 43,052 cases. Dr. Ferrer noted that 93% of the recent deaths had underlying health conditions and that 1 in 3 residents in LA County has an underlying health condition. Therefore, she strongly recommended that anyone who has a health condition try to stay at home as much as possible and contact a provider at the first indication of illness, even a mild symptom. There have been 412,000 test results recorded for the county and 9% have tested positive. Dr. Ferrer also gave an update on fatalities for race and income: Deaths per 100,000 people are 100 for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders; 26 for African-Americans; 22 for Latinos; 16 for Asian-Americans; and 13 for White; 41 per 100,000 people for areas of high poverty; 11 for areas of low poverty. While the county is moving in the right direction regarding number of positive cases, deaths and other metric, Dr. Ferrer acknowledged that much more work needs to be done to immediately address the disproportionate levels of illness and deaths among lower income and black and brown populations. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 20,391/1,001; Long Beach 1,495/NA; Carson 363/20; El Segundo 32/0; Gardena 226/21; Hawthorne 341/9; Hermosa Beach 28/2; Inglewood 525/52; Lawndale 99/3; Lomita 48/6; Manhattan Beach 76/2; PV Estates 41/0; Rancho PV 83/11; Redondo Beach 132/8; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 344/44

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


Regional Alert Regarding Beaches & Bike Paths

May 22, 2020

1. BEACHES AND BIKE PATHS ARE OPEN FOR RECREATIONAL USE
LA County Beaches and Bike Paths including the Strand are open for recreational use. Here are the safety protocols and additional information about beach visits:

• #BYOM—Bring your own mask. Everyone needs a face covering while out of the water IF there are other people outside of your household are nearby. Infants and children under the age of 2 should not wear cloth face coverings.
• Practice physical distancing. Stay at least six feet away from other people who are not in your household. Avoid crowded areas or crowding around others at the beach.
• Swim near an open lifeguard tower and check-in with lifeguards for ocean conditions and hazards.
• Gatherings of any size or other events are STILL not allowed on the beaches including athletic competitions, youth camps, or recreational programming.
• Chairs, umbrellas, canopies, coolers, grills, concessions, and food vending are not allowed.
• Piers, volleyball courts, and boardwalks are closed except for the purpose of customers accessing retailer’s curbside and door side and essentia l businesses along the boardwalk.

You can read the latest Health Officer Order by visiting http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=

LA County Beach Bike Path Now Open

May 21, 2020

Supervisor Janice Hahn broke the news on her Twitter and Facebook pages this morning, posting a photo of a lone bicyclist and the caption, “LA County’s beach bike paths are now open! Welcome back.”


COVID-19 News Briefs for Thursday, May 21, 2020

May 21, 2020

 The Mexican border city of Tijuana is the center of a coronavirus surge that has already been responsible for 392 deaths. The Mexican Red Cross, with 13 ambulances, handles the majority of emergency calls in the city of 1.8 million people and is averaging 40 Covid-19 calls a day. Tijuana’s mortality rate is twice the national average and hospitals are low on medical supplies while also facing staffing shortages as health workers fall ill

 The pandemic in the US has now surpassed 5 million reported cases, and 328,000 deaths. New research from Columbia University suggests that starting lockdowns one week earlier would have saved 36,000 lives, but advocates of reopening argue that shutting people in keeps them from routine checkups and worsens other health issues

 More than 35,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 have occurred at long-term care facilities in 37 states across the country, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The data showed an increase of more than 5,000 deaths from last week. New York and New Jersey alone make up nearly one-third of the coronavirus deaths reported in these facilities

 2.4 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, which makes roughly 38.6 million people who have now filed for jobless aid because of the coronavirus crisis

 Reuters Health reports that a new model of how far saliva can travel after a cough suggests that current guidelines recommending that people keep 6 feet away from others may not be sufficient on a breezy day to avoid droplets containing Covid-19. Separately, the CDC is updating it guidelines now saying the virus “does not spread easily” by touching surfaces or objects, but the virus is mainly spread person to person through droplets from an infected person’s nose and mouth

 Exposure Notification, an Apple and Google system that helps authorities develop an app to notify users if they come into contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, was released yesterday. Users who have downloaded the app for their region will be able to update their status if they test positive and the iOS and Android system will then notify other users who have been exposed to that person. Some governments have criticized the system because it doesn’t let authorities store data on who has the virus and track where it is spreading, so Apple/Google are allowing the optional collection, including zip codes and user phone numbers for health departments if users give permission

 A Florida Department of Health manager claims she was fired for refusing to manipulate Covid-19 tracking data as officials moved to reopen the state. Data reporting has turned into a sensitive political issue as some states have moved aggressively to restart their economies despite warnings from health officials that moving too soon could spark a new rise in coronavirus infections

 A US Census newly launched weekly survey found that more than half of California’s households have seen a loss of income due to the coronavirus crisis and nationally, 1 in 5 adults survey said they had slight or no confidence in their ability to pay their rent or mortgage in June. The survey results also showed an outsized financial impact on low-income, low-education, and minority households

 Pier 1 Imports is liquidating its business — the home furnishing chain had filed for bankruptcy in February, trying to reorganize and find a buyer, but the coronavirus crisis halted those plans

 California recorded 132 new coronavirus fatalities on Tuesday — the most in a single day since the pandemic began. The total deaths reported is now over 3,500. However, the number of new cases have dropped from the previous week and hospitalizations have fallen 15% from 6 weeks ago

 Many smaller California counties have reopened in recent weeks but businesses are hindered by the constraints of operating at reduced capacity to meet social distancing requirements and question whether that model of few customers can be sustainable in the long run. And customer traffic has been light in some shops and eateries — restaurateurs are worried that customers still have safety concerns

 After a 2-month hold on the intake of new inmates because of the Covid-19 pandemic, California’s prisons are expected to resume processing next week. Even with early releases of more than 3,500 inmates and lack of intake, outbreaks of Covid-19 have been reported in prisons across the state and the nation. Correction officers say that medical staff are now conducting surveillance testing in all state prisons to detect outbreaks in their early phases

 LA law enforcement officials and police across the country are reporting a surge in tips about online sex abuse as children spend more time on computers amid the stay at home orders. Officials say that sexual predators have ramped up their efforts to solicit pictures and videos, and The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children took in 4.1 million reports of child cyber abuse in April, a fourfold increase over April 2019

 LA County reported 1,204 positive cases and 46 deaths which now totals 42,037 cases and 2,016 deaths in the county. 14% of positive cases had to be hospitalized — this represents a slight decrease in hospitalization rates. Other positive signs include: the average rate of transmission (infected person infecting others) going from 3 people to 1 person; serology (antibody)random study done in April reflecting 4.1% of population with Covid-19 and a follow up study in May showing 2.1%; continuing to move in right direction regarding decrease in 7-day and 3-day averages in number of positive cases; meeting most targets regarding PPE for healthcare workers, number of diagnostic daily tests given, and contact tracing goal of responding in 1 day. Dr. Ferrer credited people following health guidelines and asked everyone to continue to wear face coverings, wash hands, and keep 6 feet away from others as people start to go back to work and are away from home more. City Breakouts (positive cases/deaths): City of LA 19,941/984; Long Beach 1,400/NA; Carson 361/20; el Segundo 32/0; Gardena 220/21; Hawthorne 341/9; Hermosa Beach 28/2; Inglewood 517/52; Lawndale 94/3; Lomita 48/6; Manhattan Beach 74/2; PV Estates 41/0; Rancho PV 81/10; Redondo Beach 131/7; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 14/0; Torrance 345/43

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, Reuters, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


Retail Businesses Now Open in Manhattan Beach

May 21, 2020

SHOP IN MANHATTAN BEACH STARTING TODAY!

Thanks to the incredible support of the community, retail shopping in Manhattan Beach will look different starting TODAY!

This morning, THE Manhattan Beach City Council unanimously approved the following motion made by Steve Napolitano:

“I move that the City of Manhattan Beach support the elimination of the curbside only restriction for our retail businesses immediately.”

Effective immediately, retail businesses in Manhattan Beach who decide to allow customers into their stores, should operate under the same LA County Department of Health COVID Guidelines as other essential retailers.

This is extremely exciting news and local businesses can’t thank the City Council enough for their vote of confidence in their ability to open safely while protecting customers and employees.

Stay home if you’re sick, practice social distancing, and you will only be allowed inside if you wear a mask. Not all retailers will be ready to allow customers inside right away; please politely respect their wishes and know that they want to see you, but also want to make sure that everyone feels safe when that happens.

Most of all, please come and SHOP IN MANHATTAN BEACH!

County Supervisor Urges Governor to Open Retail Businesses

May 21, 2020

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is urging Governor Newsom to allow retail businesses statewide to reopen under the same health protocols that “essential” retail businesses have been allowed to operate under.

Under the State of California’s stay at home order, “non-essential” retailers are closed and have only recently been allowed to open for curbside pick-up only. Meanwhile, “essential” retailers like Target, Walmart, and Costco have been allowed to stay open for in-store shopping with safety protocols in place because they sell groceries and other essential items in addition to non-essential products.

“What seemed to be a necessary measure at the early onset of this crisis has unintentionally created winners and losers in this ‘pandemic economy,’ with large retail businesses able to operate, while small retail businesses are struggling and limited to curbside pickup,” said Supervisor Hahn. “This needs to change.”

In a letter to Governor Newsom, Supervisor Hahn urged that these restrictions be adjusted to the smaller retail shops that are losing business everyday to big box stores. She has proposed updating the State’s public health order to immediately allow all retailers to open with:
• Limited capacity
• Face covering or mask requirement for employees and customers
• Physical distancing

“If these measures are working to keep essential retail businesses like Target, Home Depot, and Costco open and safe, they can certainly be applied to all retailers,” continued Hahn.

See full letter from Supervisor Janice Hahn to Governor Gavin Newsom below:

The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor
State of California
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom:

Thank you for your leadership during this unprecedented crisis. I have no doubt that it is because of your hard work, your reliance on the guidance of health experts, and your love of and concern for this state’s residents that we have been able to flatten the curve and save lives.

We are now in the process of reopening, balancing the economic needs of our state’s businesses with the stark reality that the virus is still with us and that we do not have a vaccine or reliable treatment. You have put forward a thoughtful, data-driven plan to reopen our state and I hope that LA County can work with you to reopen our economy as quickly and as safely as possible.

I think there is an important step we can safely take now to shore up a huge sector of our economy and that is allowing retail statewide to reopen with health and safety protocols in place.

Retailers across my district that have been deemed “non-essential” have been baffled that they have only been permitted to reopen for curbside pickup while “essential” businesses like Target and Walmart have been fully operational with in-store shopping. Many of these small businesses are not set up for online orders and curbside pickup has not been a good fit for them. They want to reopen for in-store shopping in a way that protects the health of their employees and customers, and I have heard from nearly all of the 27 cities that I represent about ways to support them in doing this.

I am proposing that you amend the state’s health order to allow all retailers to open with these important guidelines:
• Limited capacity
• Mask requirement for employees and customers
• Physical distancing

If these measures are working to keep essential retail businesses open and safe like Target, Home Depot, and Costco, they can certainly be applied to all retailers.

Thank you again for your stewardship of our great State through these extraordinary times.

Sincerely,

JANICE HAHN
Supervisor, Fourth District
County of Los Angeles

A Message from John Post

May 20, 2020

Hello Friends,

I am asking for your production support with this new book.

I hope you are all well and safe during this crazy time in our lives. Social distancing and mask wearing may be a new lifestyle? We will get through this.
The John Post Gallery has been closed due to COVID-19 since March but I am still moving forward with new projects and for the past year I have been working on a new photo-book to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Manhattan Beach Pier.
The Manhattan Beach Pier will be 100 years old this year and I have been photographing it for 50 years, so there is no better time
to make this photo-book of the Manhattan Beach Pier happen.

The book ‘A Tribute: Portrait of a Pier through a Lifetime of Photography’, and the first photo-book of the Manhattan Beach Pier will be a hardcover book with a minimum of 100 pages and my third book of the South Bay.

Due to the current printing and financial situation I have been in need of twelve Individuals, businesses or families to assist me with funding and at this time I am still looking for seven (7) more sponsors at $2500 each to cover the production costs.

All sponsor funding will go to production, printing and promotion of the book and a percentage of the book-profits I plan to donate to a local organization.
Each Sponsor/Patron will be highlighted in the book for special recognition and more.

I hope you find this project worthy and I can interest you in being one of my last seven (7) sponsors for this special photo-book to celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary of the Manhattan Beach Pier?

If you would like to participate as a sponsor please forward me an email with your phone number asap or by May 29 and I will follow up with more details.
Thank you in advance for your interest in participating with this new book. Stay well.

Sincerely,

John Post
johnmpost@earthlink.net JohnPost.com 310.376.4448

Here is a copy of the book cover…

COVID-19 News Briefs for Wednesday, May 20, 2020

May 20, 2020

 The South Korean Center for Disease Control said that patients who retested positive after recovering from Covid-19 were no longer infectious — the recovered patients retested positive because the test, known as a diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, falsely identified dead viral matter as active Covid-19 infection. The Korean CDC concluded that coronavirus survivors therefore do not need to be quarantined for 2 weeks after hospital release as they are not infectious after recovery. It is unclear whether the country and PCR test manufacturers are working to fix this testing flaw, however, these finds could represent an important development in determining survivor immunity, which the US CDC says is still not yet understood

 French authorities have shut some schools just a week after many students returned because 70 new coronavirus cases were detected in classrooms. Also, in Iran, weeks after easing restrictions to help the economy, cases are spiking in 8 provinces — health experts said the resurgence was due to reopening before cases were consistently falling and before widespread testing and contact tracing was established

 Many companies, especially small businesses, have struggled to get coronavirus relief loans, and in a high-profile hearing yesterday, several senators criticized the Federal Reserve Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, for the execution of the stimulus program. In addition, there is growing concern with the design of the program. In much of the rest of the world, governments have temporarily paid the salaries of workers in order to prevent millions of layoffs. The US has instead created a complicated mix of different stimulus policies, including loans to businesses and checks to individuals, and has had a much sharper rise in unemployment that other countries. Many jobless Americans have also lost their health insurance in the midst of a medical pandemic. The House and Senate may be changing its approach and working on legislation which includes a new paycheck subsidy program, similar to other countries. At the hearing, Secretary Mnuchin expressed confidence that the economy will rebound late this year, while Fed Chair Powell was less certain, saying a true recovery won’t occur until Americans believe it is safe to dine out, shop, and travel

 New research has bolstered the hypothesis that summer’s heat, humidity, abundant sunshine, and opportunities for people to get outside should combine to inhibit — though certainly not halt — the spread of coronavirus. Swimming in a chlorinated pool should be safe if people maintain a 6-foot distance and face coverings should be worn, except while in the water. It was emphasized that people still can spread the virus in warm climates if they do not take precautions

 Pfizer, which is partnering with a German pharmaceutical company to develop a coronavirus vaccine, says it should have initial analysis from the clinical trial in June. The company is in stage 1 of testing the potential vaccine on 360 volunteers and stage 2 will add 8,000 volunteers. Pfizer says this vaccine is the first of its kind — produced without any actual biological material from the virus, and instead using a manufactured protein that tells your body to create antibodies to fight off the virus. A typical vaccine takes 10-15 years to take to market, however, Pfizer is hoping to roll one out by the end of the year and if the clinical trial is successful, would handle manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine. In anticipation, they are investing to allow the production of millions of doses in 2020 and hundreds of millions in 2021. Several other companies are also working to develop and test coronavirus vaccines

 The Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, now has the highest Covid-19 per capita infection rate in the US, surpassing even New York and New Jersey. It is also a sign of the disproportionate impact on minority communities — with a population of 173,667 and reported coronavirus cases of 4,002, the Native American territory has 2,304 cases per 100,000 people. New York has a rate of 1,806 cases per 100,000

 The US Justice Department sent a letter warning that California could be violating religious freedoms in its plan to reopen the state after the coronavirus stay-at-home order. They questioned why religious work was not considered essential while other sectors, including the entertainment and e-commerce industries, were allowed to continue operating. Federal officials also criticized the reopening plan for allowing restaurants, shopping malls, offices and manufacturing facilities to open under Phase 2 while religious institutions could not reopen for in-person services until Phase 3, which would occur later

 Assaults on workers at retail stores who are trying to enforce government mandates to wear a face covering have prompted some chains to be more lenient with patrons who flout the rules, or resort to calling law enforcement to handle. Retail chains are being forced to weigh public health requirements against the risk of putting their workers in harm’s way

 California’s coronavirus disaster relief website was flooded, causing it to crash on Monday, the first day undocumented workers could apply for a 1-time payment of $500 per individual or $1,000 per household if impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. $75 million was appropriated to assist a projected 150,000 workers who must show they have endured hardship due to the crisis

 Preliminary USC serology findings reported that nearly 5% of LA County residents might already have had coronavirus. The first large-scale study tracking the spread of Covid-19 found that 4.1% of adults have antibodies to the virus in their blood, an indication of past exposure. This translates to roughly 221,000-442,000 people, and the county had reported fewer than 8,000 at that time. The findings also suggest the fatality rate is much lower. But even though the virus may be more widespread, the infection rate still falls far short of herd immunity that, absent a vaccine, would be key to go back to normal life. Stanford researchers also found that the coronavirus appears to have circulated much more widely in Santa Clara County than previously thought

 There are growing signs that the coronavirus outbreak is ebbing in California, even as the death toll climbs to 3,400 and remains at an average of 500 per week. The number of newly identified Covid-19 cases across the state has declined last week from the previous week — notable given the amount of increased testing. And hospitalization has dropped more than 15% from the peak 6 weeks ago. However, health officials worry about a resurgence of disease in the fall and warn that Covid-19 may be with us until a widely available vaccine is developed

 The Los Angeles Surge Hospital, opened in April on the grounds of the shuttered St. Vincent Medical Center to treat coronavirus patients, will close in June after seeing relatively few patients — it was set up to handle 270 patients a day, but never had more than 25 at a time. The state had signed a $16 million lease for the site. Seton Medical Center in Central California, which was used to exclusively treat Covid-19 patients, is also ending its agreement with the state

 The LA County Board of Supervisors announced that the goal is to more fully reopen the economy by July 4, but said that it will be more difficult here than in other parts of the state less hard hit by the Covid-19 outbreak. While deaths continue to be a major problem, officials said other measurements such as hospitalizations have been going down. The mission is to safely reopen retail businesses, restaurants, and malls but they noted that it will rely on data and science. Officials have also been aware of the devastating economic toll the stay-at-home orders are taking with more than 1 million unemployment claims and most layoffs among lower-income jobs, with the restaurant industry seeing 80% of jobs lost

 LA County reported 1,324 new cases and 57 deaths in the last 24 hours — totals are 40,857 cases and 1,970 deaths. City Breakouts (cases/deaths): City of LA 19,505/958; Long Beach 1,362/NA; Carson 359/20; El Segundo 32/0; Gardena 212/21; Hawthorne 329/9; Hermosa Beach 28/2; Inglewood 503/50; Lawndale 93/3; Lomita 46/6; Manhattan Beach 74/2; PV Estates 42/0; Rancho PV 81/10; Redondo Beach 128/7; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 13/0; Torrance 345/43

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


BCHD Board Meetings Go Online

May 20, 2020

The Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) Board of Directors will conduct its upcoming public meetings virtually to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining BCHD programs and services. The next regular board meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, Wednesday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 24.

This comes following the Board’s special meeting on May 6 which was conducted via a call-in and videoconferencing platform and available to the public. During that meeting, the Board approved a special fund to provide emergency grants for health initiatives in the Beach Cities.

“COVID-19 has caused many organizations and businesses to take their work and meetings online, and we are no different,” says Tom Bakaly, CEO for BCHD. “We have continued working to help the community during this pandemic, holding many meetings virtually. Now, as part of this ‘new normal,’ we will conduct board meetings online as we prepare for the upcoming fiscal year and continue working for our healthy beach community.”

The June 17 Board meeting is a makeup for the March 25 meeting, which was postponed at the outset of COVID-19 and L.A. County’s Safer at Home health order. The May 27 and June 24 meetings are taking place as originally scheduled.

Members of the public and media are invited to attend the Board meetings via call-in or videoconferencing platform. More information on BCHD Board of Directors meetings, including how to join each meeting, make a public comment, agendas and supporting documents are available at https://www.bchd.org/board-directors-meetings .


COVID-19 News Briefs for Tuesday, May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020

 The World Health Organization held its global health gathering virtually and the US renewed its accusation that the UN health agency had failed at its mission of information-sharing and transparency in confronting the coronavirus pandemic, specifically regarding China. The governments of France, Germany, and South Korea expressed support for WHO, however, at the urging of the European Union and others, the WHO agreed to an independent review of its coronavirus response. China also announced a $2 billion contribution to WHO and urged world solidarity — China’s contribution, which was $86 million last year, has traditionally been dwarfed by the US, however, the White House announced last month it would suspend its contribution of $550 million annually

 The remote Amazon Tikuna tribe members suspect Covid-19 arrived this month after some returned from a boat trip to pick up government benefit payments. Dozens of tribe members have developed symptoms of coronavirus and 2 have died. The 5 government workers for the community of 4,000 are not treating the sick because they lack protective equipment and coronavirus tests. Brazil has Latin America’s highest Covid-19 death toll and the country’s hardest hit major city per capita is Manaus, which is in the Amazon

 Carbon emissions globally, compared to 2019. dropped 17% because of the strict lockdowns and scaled back economic activities triggered by the pandemic. Scientists say it could be the largest drop recorded, however, is unlikely to have a long-term impact once countries return to normal unless governments prioritize investments and infrastructure to reduce harmful emissions

 Researchers reported positive early results from a vaccine under development by Cambridge-based Moderna, in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and they plan to begin the next phase of testing in July. The optimistic announcement yesterday led to a 1,000 point leap in the Dow Jones industrial average, however, the market dropped 391 points today. Moderna’s vaccine is one of many being tested

 The FDA issued a warning against use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for Covid-19 outside of the hospital setting or a clinical trial due to risk of heart rhythm problems. This follows President Trump’s announcement that he has been using the drug to prevent Covid-19

 The US death toll from Covid-19 climbed over 90,000 on Monday with more states and cities announcing plans to reopen. The number of confirmed cases nationwide hit 1.5 million and experts have cautioned that this is probably an undercount because of testing lapses

 Federal authorities are urging governors to use extreme caution in deciding when to allow visits at nursing homes, saying such a move shouldn’t come before all residents and staff have tested negative for the coronavirus for at least 28 days

 While big hospitals in large cities like New York have been overwhelmed with a surge of Covid-19 cases, hundreds of smaller and rural hospitals have suffered from a massive drop in patients as nonessential procedures and emergency room visits plummeted, which generally account for 70-80% of revenue. The American Hospital Association reports that hospitals and health systems across the US face unprecedented financial challenges in the coming months with an estimated loss of $200 billion from Covid-19 expenses from March through June

 A congressional oversight commission report said that the US Treasury has only paid out $37.5 billion of the $500 billion CARES relief funding to help businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic. None of the $46 billion for the airline industry and businesses crucial to maintain national security has been allocated and only 1 of the 5 programs created to help states and local governments is operating

 Across the military, uncertainty about future jobs or college opportunities is driving more service members to reenlist or at least postpone their scheduled departures, and taking advantage of newly developed, short term extensions being offered by the military. As of last week, the Army exceeded its retention goal of 50,000 soldiers, and the other armed services are expected to hit their target numbers. The reenlisting will offset shortfalls in recruiting cause by the Covid-19 crisis

 The first American jury trial via videoconference is taking place in Texas — the judge began livestreaming jury selection on YouTube yesterday and coaching potential jurors on the ins and outs of using Zoom. Next, the jury will hear a shortened version of the case and deliver a non-binding verdict

 Uber is slashing another 3,000 jobs and closing dozens of offices, part of a series of moves resulting from the coronavirus crisis. 3,700 employees in customer support and human resources were cut earlier this month and reductions now represent 25% of the total workforce

 About half of the 15,000 hotel and motel rooms that California has leased for mostly homeless people to slow the spread of Covid-19 are now occupied. Project Roomkey was launched in early April to get homeless people off the streets, however, the occupied rooms account for fewer than 5% of the 151,000 people who sleep on street corners, under bridges, and in emergency shelters across California. In some counties, the largest impediments have been delays in preparing leased rooms for occupancy, and in other counties, it has been a shortage of staff to care for homeless residents, providing services such as food services, security, nursing, and case management

 Parents fear that their children are losing vital learning opportunities with school campuses closed due to the coronavirus, and these academic struggles appear linked to economic hardship and possibly race, according to local and national surveys. In LA, fewer than half of families with public school students said distance learning has been successful — and more than half also reported 1 or more family members losing jobs. A separate national survey found that 15% of K-12 parents don’t think their children will be prepared for school next year

 Last week, LA County officials released data showing the infection rate has fallen from March — instead of every patient infecting an average of more than 3 people, every person in LA County now infects 1 person. Officials believe the drop is tied to stay-at-home orders imposed in late March

 For LA County, there were an additional 1,183 positive cases and 76 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. This brings the total to 39,573 cases and 1,913 deaths. It was noted that 52% of all deaths were reported in skilled nursing facilities and there are currently 398 facilities under investigation for at least 1 positive case and 32 investigations have been closed. So far, 358,000 tests have been conducted and 9% have come back positive. Because more people are going back to work, Dr. Ferrer emphasized the following: all those who can continue to work remotely should try to do so; employers should be doing a symptom check, provide employees with face coverings, and make sure there are frequent breaks to wash hands; high-touch areas should be cleaned often; work facilities should be cleaned at least daily; customers for nonessential retail locations cannot enter the stores and all customers must also wear face coverings when picking up product; all workers should wear face coverings and stay at least 6 feet away from each other; if employees feel ill they should be sent home; if employees express fear/frustration/anxiety/depression, should be able to talk to employer or contact a mental health professional. City Breakouts (positive cases/deaths): City of LA 19,020/929; Long Beach 1,305/NA; Carson 351/20; El Segundo 32/0; Gardena 209/21; Hawthorne 317/8; Hermosa Beach 27/2; Inglewood 495/49; Lawndale 92/2; Lomita 46/6; Manhattan Beach 74/2; PV Estates 42/0; Rancho PV 81/10; Redondo Beach 128/7; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 13/0; Torrance 341/43

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


Hawthorne Councilmember Pledges City Council Salary to COVID-19 Relief Efforts

May 19, 2020

While the novel coronavirus continues its sweep across the United States, state and local officials are tasked with keeping their constituents safe as communities begin the slow process of opening back up. Finding inventive ways to supply residents with ample protective gear and sanitization products has become a top priority.

During a recent Hawthorne City council meeting, Councilmember Haidar Awad pledged his city council salary to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. Awad earmarked his budgeted salary starting January 2020 for COVID-related issues, such as purchasing masks for the residents of Hawthorne. The monies will be kept in a city fund and be allocated to replenish the supply and disperse face masks accordingly. Awad continues to defer his city council salary as he has done since assuming office in December 2015.

This comes at a time when municipalities and cities are faced with a lack of proper protective gear to outfit its citizens as restrictions and stay-at-home orders begin to loosen. In an effort to support the city’s reopening efforts and discourage further spread of the coronavirus, Councilmember Awad recently announced that he secured a COVID-19 testing center that opened May 6th.

The new COVID-19 testing center is now taking appointments and is located at the Betty Ainsworth Sports Center in Hawthorne. These tests will also be available to the neighboring communities of Lawndale, Lennox, El Segundo, West Athens, and other South Bay cities.

Awad joined other local officials to offer up words of encouragement to his constituents, “This new testing center is a vital component to reopening Hawthorne, Los Angeles County, and California as outlined by Governor Gavin Newsom’s six indicators to modify the Stay at Home order,” Awad said, “Hawthorne is an ideal location for such a center, and I’m encouraged to have brought COVID-19 testing to our residents who have had limited access until now.”

Signup for appointments online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting .

Signup by phone by calling (888) 634-1123.

All County of Los Angeles testing sites: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/

For more up-to-date information, visit the website at http://www.haidarhawthorne.com.

Important Update from Redondo Beach Pier Association

May 19, 2020

Redondo Beach Pier & International Boardwalk will remain CLOSED until Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

The following Redondo Beach Pier restaurants are OPEN FOR TAKE-OUT/TO-GO ORDERS ONLY. El Torito is also offering curb-side pick-up and delivery options.

Please call order in ahead, send one person to pick-up order, wear a mask and maintain 6′ feet distance while picking up order and take food home to enjoy.
Temporary 15-minute parking is available for food order pick up ONLY.

El Torito – Mexican
https://locations.eltorito.com/store/redondo-beach
100 Fisherman’s Wharf, Suite G, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 376-0547
Open 11:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M., Monday – Friday
Open 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M., Saturday – Sunday
Serving Brunch 9:00 A.M – 1:00 P.M., Saturday – Sunday

Jade Snow – coffee, frozen desserts, snacks
100 Fisherman’s Wharf, Suite B, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
‎(310) 683-2205

The Shrimp Lover – Seafood, Cajun, Thai
theshrimplover.com
125 W. Torrance Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 374-6555
Open 12:00 – 7:30 P.M. Daily

Quality Seafood – Seafood
qualityseafood.com
130 S. International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 372-6408

For additional information, visit the website at http://www.redondopier.com/.

South Coast Botanic Garden is Hiring!

May 19, 2020

There are a lot of exciting things happening at the South Coast Botanic Garden right now, some of which they aren’t quite ready to announce…. BUT, they are ready to announce that they are hiring for both Garden Rangers and Visitor Experience Associates. Both positions are ready to hire as soon as possible, but the Visitor Experience Associates applications deadline is May 22!

Does This Sound Like You?
You have natural enthusiasm, a positive, solution-focused attitude, customer service savvy, a good sense of humor, and a herculean work ethic.

You thrive in a fast-paced, evolving environment, and look forward to helping our Garden continue to be a place of respite in nature for all.

You have a love of nature and would delight in working at one of the most beautiful places in Los Angeles.

You are an excellent communicator and thrive by engaging with people from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and personalities.

You are dependable and available to work a flexible schedule, including weekends, evenings, and holidays.

If yes, please visit https://southcoastbotanicgarden.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Job-Description-Visitor-Experience-Associate-SCBGF-5.15.2020.pdf to apply to become a Visitor Experience Associate!

Redondo Beach Public Library Extended Closure

May 19, 2020

The Redondo Beach Public Library will be closed through June 30.

This temporary loss of access to the in-person learning opportunities that the Library provides to the community is a necessary action at this time due to Covid-19. Digital services will remain available to patrons 24/7 and can be found at http://www.redondo.org/library under Electronic Resources and Downloads and Streaming.

Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

COVID-19 News Briefs for Monday, May 18, 2020

May 18, 2020

 In separate warnings, the prime ministers of Italy and Britain announced to their citizens that the world needs to adapt to living with the coronavirus and cannot wait to be saved by the development of a vaccine, which may be months, if not years away

 Professional soccer matches in Germany resumed over the weekend which took place in an empty stadium but the games were widely broadcast around the world. Players were warned not to spit, shake hands, or hug one another and team staff wore masks on the bench and seats and equipment were disinfected. Germany had won praise for its widespread testing amid the pandemic

 A US leading public health expert said a coronavirus vaccine is possible by year’s end, but not something to “bank on.” White House aides have said there are various vaccine prospects being worked on but they’ve also tried to de-couple significant progress toward an immunization protocol from the need to return to workplaces, schools, and public life, as many states are moving to do

 JCPenney said it would close 240 stores after filing for bankruptcy which they blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic. They are the fourth national retailer to file this month, following J.Crew, Neiman Marcus, and Stage Stores

 If the economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic lasts past Memorial Day, about half of all small businesses in the US could be in danger of failing, an April survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found. More than 6 in 10 could fold if it lasts until Labor Day

 Researchers believe there is a large undercount of Covid-19 fatalities — the CDC released findings that 5,300 people might have died in New York City from March to May of undiagnosed Covid-19 and that by April, nearly 1,000 Californians died of the virus without its detection. The search for missed cases is crucial to discovering the origin in the US and understanding its rate of spread and deadliness. This data also feed public policy and politics — California started to allow counties to reopen basing decisions on coronavirus deaths in the prior 2 weeks and if the numbers are incorrect, it can lead to bad decision-making about reopening, according to pathologists who advocate efforts to test backward in time for the virus

 The coronavirus has prompted over two-thirds of American believers of all faiths to feel God is telling humanity to change how it lives, according to a new poll by the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The findings also indicate that people may be searching for deeper meaning in the devastating outbreak. Overall, 82% of Americans say they believe in God, and 26% say their sense of faith or spirituality has grown stronger as a result of the outbreak

 US health officials warn that with summer approaching, extreme heat may worsen the death toll for the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions who stay at home because of Covid-19. Recent research suggests that communities most vulnerable to extreme heat have some of the lowest rates of air conditioning and the highest rates of poverty. Many senior centers have been closed because of social-distancing rules, however, officials said it is important for older people and those in poor health to know they shouldn’t sit at home alone all day during a heat wave with some communities planning to open emergency cooling stations

 NASCAR held its first race since the Covid-19 shutdown, in Darlington, South Carolina with no fans in the stands. They had developed a health plan which included masks, temperature checks, and advance limited roster submissions that was approved by South Carolina and North Carolina. As other states begin to open, the series added more races with 20 events across 7 states between now and June 21.

 As states begin to reopen, local health departments charged with tracking down everyone who has been in close contact with those who test positive for Covid-19 are still scrambling to hire the number of people to do the job. Under California’s criteria for a broader reopening, counties should have 15 people trained in contact tracing for every 100,000 residents. The state is helping to train 10,000 to 20,000 tracers, but most counties are falling short

 Governor Newsom acknowledged that more California communities are in a position to slowly reopen businesses and today loosened rules linking infection rates to allowed activities — roughly 53 of the state’s 58 counties can now move further into the second of 4 phases toward reopening, but it is not expected to mean immediate changes in LA County, which outpaces other parts of the state in confirmed cases and deaths

 The ACLU filed class action lawsuits on behalf of federal prisoners at Lompoc and Terminal Island, claiming that officials mishandled coronavirus outbreaks at the facilities where a combined total of 1,775 inmates have been infected, with 10 deaths

 Though the number of cases continues to rise in LA County, the rate at which new coronavirus cases are reported appears to have reached a plateau even as testing has increased. The average number of deaths reported each day has declined slightly. And LA has avoided a sharp surge in hospitalizations that could risk overwhelming the healthcare system as seen in other places such as New York

 LA County reported 477 new cases and 18 deaths in the last 24 hours which is a total of 38,451 positive cases and 1,839 deaths — it was noted that the lower numbers were probably due to the weekend testing lag. 92% of the people who died had underlying health issues and a reminder was issued that if you have a medical condition, it is best to stay home as much as possible. Of 5,835 people who have tested positive, 15% had to be hospitalized. 955 deaths have been reported in institutional settings, with the majority in skilled nursing facilities, which represents 52% of all deaths in LA County. It was noted that testing has been expanding in the county and out of 350,000 test results received, 9% were positive. Dr. Ferrer gave 3 updates: 1) 164 pregnant women tested positive and 80% were symptomatic – there were 38 live births and 2 non-live births reported and the 31 newborns who were tested were negative for Covid-19; 2) for healthcare workers and first responders, 4,298 have tested positive with 684 positive cases reported from last week, the majority of cases were reported for nurses and in nursing facilities and hospitals, and 26 healthcare workers have died from Covid-19; 3) for skilled nursing facilities, 141 facilities have had all residents and staff tested and, out of 3,600 tested, 402 have tested positive, and more importantly, 86% of those who tested positive did not have symptoms for Covid-19. Dr. Ferrer added that there are now 2 strategies being executed in the skilled nursing facilities: health officials are testing all residents and staff in facilities with at least 1 known case; and there will be “preemptive intervention” where testing will be done in facilities that have not yet experienced any coronavirus outbreaks. Also, LA County hospitals have reported 4 cases of pediatric multisymptom inflammatory syndrome where children have tested positive for coronavirus, and there are 21 cases that are being investigated. While rare, this is a very serious illness and a health alert has been issued. City Breakouts (Cases/Deaths): City of LA 18,540/892; Long Beach 1,298/NA; Carson 345/20; El Segundo 32/0; Gardena 207/20; Hawthorne 310/8; Hermosa Beach 26/2; Inglewood 487/46; Lawndale 90/2; Lomita 46/6; Manhattan Beach 73/2; PV Estates 42/0; Rancho PV 80/10; Redondo Beach 126/7; Rolling Hills 2/0; Rolling Hills Estates 13/0; Torrance 339/43

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases


COVID-19 News Briefs for Sunday, May 17, 2020

May 17, 2020

 Chinese officials concerned about a virus resurgence, have quarantined 8,000 people in the country’s northeast. A respiratory disease specialist said that although China has a relatively low number of infections, it still faced a challenge because most of its population had not been exposed to Covid-19 and was still susceptible to infection

 India has extended a nationwide lockdown on its 1.3 billion people because of a surge of cases in recent days. They are keeping in place many but not all of the strict rules and restaurants, malls, schools, and religion centers will remain closed until May 31

 While coronavirus has been relatively slow to take hold in Africa, hot spots are being reported in Somalia, Tanzania, and Nigeria with the US Embassy issuing an emergency health alert

 More than 1.4 million people in the US have been infected with coronavirus, and at least 88,660 have died. With more than two-thirds of states significantly relaxing restrictions on how Americans can move about, experts predict a resurgence, citing that only 3% of the population has been tested for Covid-19, leaving its true scale and path unknown

 Before Covid-19, healthcare workers were already vulnerable to depression and suicide, and even with new cases and deaths beginning to ebb, mental health experts say the psychological pain of medical workers is likely to continue and lead to trauma-related disorders. Recent studies of healthcare workers in China, Canada, and Italy who treated coronavirus patients found soaring rates of anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and the WHO also issued a report about the pandemic’s negative impact on mental health

 The WHO said that studies show that spraying disinfectants outside or across broad spaces indoors to try to kill coronavirus can do more harm than good. They added that the same goes for ultraviolet light disinfecting and that spraying people directly can result in risks to the eyes, respiratory or skin irritation

 The FDA granted emergency clearance for a coronavirus testing kit that will enable individuals to take a nasal sample at home and send it to a laboratory for diagnostic testing, the second such approval it has made. Consumers will first have to take an online screening survey to determine whether they meet federal standards for the test, and once approved, the $135 test kit will be shipped immediately with results designed to take 3-5 days. The kit, made by Everlywell, will be available later this month. Some public health researchers have warned that at-home nasal swab tests can be less accurate than the specimen collection performed by health care providers

 Oil prices are seeing a modest recovery as countries reopen and supply drops. US oil future climbed to nearly $30 a barrel, from a low of minus $30 last month

 Along with African-Americans, Latinos have borne a disproportionately high rate of becoming infected and dying of Covid-19. Health experts say one of the main reasons is because many work in low-paying jobs that require them to leave home and interact with the public. Latinos comprise about 40% of California’s population and 53% of positive cases. Young Latinos and blacks are also dying at disproportionately high rates. In work sectors considered essential, Latinos comprise 80% of agriculture jobs, 50% of food jobs, and 60% of construction workers

 California prisons have released about 3.500 inmates while the daily jail population across 58 counties is down by 20,000 from late February. Some of those released unknowingly carry Covid-19, potentially infecting family, friends, and the community, and advocates say many run the risk of ending up homeless when jailers don’t connect them to services which are overwhelmed because of the crisis

 A US district judge ordered LA city and county officials to provide space in shelters or alternative housing for the 6,000 – 7,000 homeless people living near freeway overpasses, underpasses, and ramps. The ruling compels local officials to develop a plan by Friday to provide housing to lessen the risk of Covid-19 spread as well as other dangers among those living on the streets

 LA County had 694 positive cases and 29 deaths in the last 24 hours; totals are now 37,974 cases / 1,821 deaths. City Breakouts: City of LA 18,304; Long Beach 1,271; Carson 344; El Segundo 32; Gardena 207; Hawthorne 305; Hermosa Beach 26; Inglewood 480; Lawndale 86; Lomita 46; Manhattan Beach 73; PV Estates 42; Rancho PV 78; Redondo Beach 123; Rolling Hills 2; Rolling Hills Estates 13; Torrance 338

Compiled by Charlene Nishimura

Media Sources: Los Angeles Times; New York Times; Washington Post; Wall Street Journal; Forbes Magazine; Business Insider; USA Today; CBS News; CNN; KTLA; OZY; ABC World News Tonight; Spectrum News 1; The Hill.com; WebMD; AP, Politico, Newsweek, daily televised briefings from the White House, Governor Newsom, LA County Health Department, Mayor Garcetti; City of Torrance press releases; Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce press releases