‘A lot of us are going to have PTSD.’ Fatigue, burnout, exhaustion plague hospital staffs during COVID surge

When Ruth Godde hooks up her patients to a ventilator at Antelope Valley Hospital, sometimes they grab her arm and ask if they are going to make it.

“You can’t with assurance say ‘yes’ to them, but you don’t want them to be more stressed than they already are, so we say, ‘We’re doing this to save you,’ ” she said. “But you realize as you’re incubating them the chances are they might not make it. In several instances, they don’t.”

As the COVID case count surges across Southern California, medical workers report burnout, fatigue and exhaustion as they scramble to save their patients’ lives.

“It’s exhausting mentally,” Godde said, adding that during her 12-hour shifts she has only one opportunity to eat or drink. She often cries in her car on the way home.

Every minute 10 people test positive for coronavirus in Los Angeles County. Every six minutes someone dies from the virus, officials say. Some ambulances circle for hours until a bed is free at hospitals. And some mortuaries are so full, they refuse to take on more bodies.

Los Angeles County, in the meantime, has approached the grim milestone of 1 million coronavirus cases, with more than 13,930 fatalities.

Death takes heavy toll

That has taken a merciless toll on medical workers.

On some days, nurse Michele Younkin from St. Jude Medical Center’s COVID-19 unit in Fullerton sees multiple deaths, she said, and rarely makes it through a shift without crying or comforting other nurses.

“I hold every patient that I lost … I hold them in my heart,” she said, as her voice cracked. “I can picture every single one, and I will probably never forget them.

“It’s emotionally taxing on our floor,” she added, “because we have so many deaths.”


In this July 31, 2020, file photo, Romelia Navarro, 64, holds the hand of her dying husband, Antonio, as nurse Michele Younkin injects the patient with a solution in his final moments in a COVID-19 unit at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

For Dr. Thomas Yadegar, a pulmonologist and medical director of the intensive care unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center, it’s been a long 10 months since the pandemic began raging. When he walks into the hospital, he knows the first few minutes there will be “one emergency after another” until the end of his 20-hour shift.

“No matter how many hours I put in, no matter how hard I work, it just seems like at the end of the day, there are another 10, 15, 20 patients that need my attention,” he said, “and it’s heartbreaking because I know that I’m not able to give them everything that they deserve.”

Every single day, depending on the caseload, Yadegar typically cares for about 35 patients, but there are days when he is responsible for up to 80. He can’t remember the last time he slept more than three hours at a time. These days, Yadegar said, he sees more deaths in a day than he did in a month before the post-Thanksgiving surge.

Within mere weeks in early December, he said, the hospital was functioning smoothly with a small number of coronavirus patients, and then the COVID patient volume kept doubling, overwhelming the staff.

“I had to expand our ICU and, even with increased capacity, 90% of patients in our ICUs were COVID-19 patients,” Yadegar said. “Every single floor is now filled with COVID-19 patients and over 80% of our acute care are devoted to COVID-19 patients.” The hospital had to cancel any kind of elective and semi-elective surgeries so it could focus on treating patients infected with the virus.

Keeping families connected

At the nursing station at UC Irvine in Orange County, meanwhile, the phone is ringing nonstop as family members seek updates on the conditions of their loved ones, said Angela Mayfield, a registered nurse in a medical-surgical unit during a recent virtual protest hosted by California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.


Registered nurses Robin Gooding, left, and Johanna Ortiz treat a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

“Nurses have worked short-staffed for many months while the work at the bedside remains physically and emotionally exhausting. The patients’ conditions are declining and the pressure on the bedside nurse can be overwhelming,” she said.

Registered nurse Robin Gooding at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills said nurses are “working really hard” providing emotional support to patients who often are not allowed to see family members.

“It’s kind of puts a burden on the stuff because you have to become a family member to patients,” she said, adding that the staff often feels “responsible for making sure those patients are passing comfortably.”

Patients in the hallways

Another nurse from UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center said during the same protest her emergency department is so crowded that patients are moved to the hallway, putting both patients and staff at risk for exposure.

Nurses describe similar experiences at other hospitals, citing exhaustion and burnout amid dealing with the overload of patients, the shortage of gowns and broken equipment.

Valerie Ewald, a registered nurse at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center, said she was offered “decontaminated masks,” that not only smelled bad but also had broken straps, making her wonder whether they offer sufficient protection.

In a statement, UCLA Health spokesman said that the hospital has “sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment and follows CDC guidelines regarding quality.”

“The safety and well-being of UCLA Health nurses, our other health care workers and our patients is our overriding priority at all times,” Enrique Rivero said. “We understand the anxiety created by the high volume of COVID-19 patients and associated workload, and we value our staff’s dedication to safe, high-quality, compassionate patient care.”

Higher nurse-patient ratios

It doesn’t help that the state recently allowed hospitals to adjust their nurse-to-patient ratios. New rules adopted during the pandemic allow hospitals to ask ICU nurses to care for three patients instead of two while emergency room and telemetry nurses might be required to take care of six instead of four patients.

Hospitals say they are so overloaded with high numbers of coronavirus patients, they simply don’t have enough medical personnel to respond to the crisis.

But asking nurses to take care of more patients will overwhelm already exhausted medical staff and weaken their ability to provide quality care, workers say.

“We are working to exhaustion, sweating and dehydrated from the long hours of wearing the personal protective equipment that we need to keep safe,” Mayfield said. “Our patients are struggling to breathe and stay alive.”

On a recent afternoon, Godde stopped another nurse at Antelope Valley Hospital, a mother of a newborn, who’s still breastfeeding, to remind her to go pump.

“She’s been leaking for a couple of hours and … you can tell she isn’t even aware of it because we’re all running around,” she said. “It breaks your heart.”

Quality care suffering

One Godde colleague at Antelope Valley, intensive care unit nurse Cindy Gillison, said she deals with “the sickest of the sick” on a daily basis. Medical staffing, meanwhile, is stretched so thin, she added, they can’t provide the quality care their patients need.

“These patients are dying alone,” she said, adding that there’s nowhere for the staff to put the bodies. Two refrigerated semi-trucks parked in the hospital’s parking lot are holding bodies. “There’s a tremendous amount of crying. It’s devastating.”


Before her 12-hour shift, nurse Cindy Gillison poses on Jan. 13 outside Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, where she is caring for more patients since the state allowed hospitals to relax nurse-to-patient ratios amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the last few months, she has seen “a mass exodus” of nurses to bigger hospitals that offer bonuses and higher pay. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Once the pandemic is over, “a lot of us are going to have PTSD,” said the single mother of three. “It’s like a war zone. … We’re in the wrong place at the wrong time all the time.”

Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris said FEMA and Samaritan’s Purse, the faith-based disaster relief organization, have provided about 60 medical personnel to Antelope Valley Hospital to relieve the workload.

Still, like many other medical workers, Gillison braces herself for another surge following New Year’s Eve. “It’s scary to think what’s going to happen after four weeks, when the New Year’s surge comes,” she said.

The most frustrating part of the latest surge? It was preventable, medical workers say.

In the beginning of the pandemic, said Yadegar from Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center, health care workers sensed support from the general public, but in recent weeks that support has “dissipated.” That, he said, has been “truly demoralizing and has taken everything away from us.”

As he drives home after his 20-hour shift, he watches how people are “living their lives as if nothing is happening.”

“If the general public … could see the misery, the pain and the anguish that we deal with on a daily basis,” he said, “they would not want to go to the grocery store, let alone get together or go to parties or travel.”

Powered by WPeMatico

Coronavirus: California passed 3 million cases, 34,000 deaths on Jan. 19

California’s case count has hit the 3 million milestone.

According to data gleaned from local public health departments across the state, there were 57,307 new cases and 700 new deaths reported from Tuesday, Jan. 19.

And, of the 3.2 million vaccinations distributed throughout the state, 1.39 million have been administered, tracking showed.

 

California regions and ICU capacity for Jan. 19

As ICU capacity dwindles in Southern California the percentages in this graphic have been adjusted by state public health officials to represent the high levels of COVID-19 patients among all ICU patients. More actual beds may be available.

Vaccines administered as of Jan. 17

The California Department of Public Health site shows a total of 3,226,775 vaccine doses, which includes the first and second dose, have been shipped to local health departments and health care systems as of Jan. 17.

The totals of vaccines administered across six different regions are in the maps below. As of Jan. 17, a total of 1,393,224 vaccine doses have been administered statewide.That’s up 609,748 from the Jan. 11 report. The state cautions that the numbers do not represent true day-to-day change as reporting may be delayed.

Read more about Coronavirus: California passed 3 million cases, 34,000 deaths on Jan. 19 This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Kings’ season opener spoiled by Wild’s Russian rookie

  • The Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov (97) gets the puck past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) for the game winning goal in overtime during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. The Wild defeated the Kings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Anze Kopitar (11) takes a shot during the Kings home opener against the Wild at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Austin Wagner (27) battles with he Wild’s Nico Sturm (7) during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Wild’s Matt Dumba (24) checks the Kings’ Austin Wagner (27) as the Wild’s Ryan Suter (20) moves in during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Jeff Carter (77) reacts after scoring a first period goal during their home opener against the Wild at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Jeff Carter (77) reacts after scoring a first period goal during their home opener against the Wild at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) keeps an eye on the puck during the Kings home opener against the Wild at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Wild’s Jonas Brodin (25) celebrates scoring a first period goal during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Mark Alt (5) and the Wild’s Jordan Greenway (18) battle for the puck during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Andreas Athanasiou (22) reacts after scoring a goal as the Wild’s Matt Dumba (24) and goalie Cam Talbot (33) look on in the second period during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Kings Drew Doughty (8) and Adrian Kempe (9) move the puck away from the Wild’s Marcus Johansson (90) during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Olli Maatta (6) and the Wild’s Marcus Johansson (90) battle for the puck during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Kings players congratulate Adrian Kempe (9) after he scored a second period goal against the Wild during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Andreas Athanasiou (22) scores a goal as the Wild’s Matt Dumba (24) and goalie Cam Talbot (33) defend in the second period during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Wild’s Victor Rask (49) falls to the ice as the Kings’ Mikey Anderson (44) grabs the puck during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. The Wild defeated the Kings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Kings’ Matt Roy (3) and the Wild’s Kevin Fiala (22) battle for the puck during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. The Wild defeated the Kings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov (97) celebrates with teammates as Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) leaves the ice after Kaprizov scored the game winning goal in overtime during the Kings home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, January 14, 2021. The Wild defeated the Kings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

of

Expand

After 10 months off, a mere 60 minutes was not enough for the Kings.

Despite carrying a 3-1 lead into the third period, the Kings fell to the Minnesota Wild, 4-3, in overtime on Thursday night inside an empty Staples Center.

“It was certainly not the outcome we wanted, especially being up 3-1 after the second,” Kings center and team captain Anze Kopitar said.

The Kings and Wild were teams who were just figuring it out when play was suspended in March. The Wild made a playoff push after a dismal start – and got reinforcements this offseason – and the Kings were seeking their eighth consecutive win Thursday, 10 months after they notched No. 7 to end last season.

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick lost on opening night for the eighth time after getting his 12th season-opening nod, making 23 of 27 saves. Cam Talbot, whom Minnesota signed as a free agent this offseason, denied 31 of 34 Kings shots.

It was a rookie, Minnesota winger Karill Kaprizov, who stole the show with two assists, the game-winning goal and a fistful of hold-your-breath moments over the course of 63 minutes.

Forward Jeff Carter notched a goal and an assist for the Kings, and wingers Andreas Athanasiou and Dustin Brown also scored. Anze Kopitar added two assists. Defensemen Jonas Brodin, center Victor Rask and forward Marcus Foligno scored for the Wild.

Carter factored into tying and go-ahead goals in the first 40 minutes of Thursday’s game. He scored the equalizer with just more than one second left in the first period, sneaking in a rebound from a faceoff that Kopitar won forward and into the Minnesota goal crease.

“I did tell Carts to go to the front somewhat, to see if something happens, and it turned out pretty well,” Kopitar said when asked if it was a set play.

Later, Carter generated a rebound with a shot off the rush that Athanasiou popped in off a set play to break a 1-1 tie in the second period.

Athanasiou made his Kings debut; he was signed in the offseason after five NHL seasons primarily spent with the Detroit Red Wings.

On Wednesday, Kings general manager Rob Blake singled out Carter as having benefited from the 10-month layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic and delayed postseason.

“Carts has been good all training camp, finally healthy,” Coach Todd McLellan said, adding that the “speed factor” of a fresh-legged Carter and Athanasiou could elevate the Kings’ gritty offense.

Late in the second period, the Kings scored their first power-play goal of the season. Brown received the puck down low and turned it back toward the net from behind the goal. The puck redirected in off a Wild defender. Brown’s 300th career goal extended the Kings’ lead to 3-1 with 2:55 left in the second period.

Not only did the Kings convert one of their four power plays, they killed all six man-advantage opportunities for the Wild.

But the Wild were not without a spark, mainly in the form of rookie winger Kirill Kaprizov. While No. 1 overall draft pick Alexis Lafreniere turned in an unremarkable debut for the Rangers, the 23-year-old Russian phenom Kaprizov recorded the primary assists on Minnesota’s first two goals

On the first, he made a long reception in stride near the boards, cut inward and drew three Kings defenders. When he lost control of the puck, it went to Brodin for a clean shot that opened the scoring in the game. In the third period, he sucked in the defense again and sent a pass high to Rask for a goal from the point.

Later in the third, he nearly factored into a third when forward Kevin Fiala nailed the post after a passing sequence initiated by Kaprizov in the third period and defenseman Jared Spurgeon did the same in overtime.

The flash and perspicacity of Kaprizov were complemented by a Minnesota checking line with Foligno and Jordan Greenway on the wings. Foligno’s heavy fore-checking started a series of events that culminated in his game-tying goal midway through the final frame.

It was the young Russian’s night as he collected a neutral-zone turnover and glided in on goal. As he transitioned from backhand to forehand, the puck banked off his skate and past Quick for the game-winner.

“Minnesota’s lucky to have a talented player like that,” McLellan said. “The NHL is fortunate to have him because he looks like he’s going to be a tremendous one.”

FEELIN’ THE FLOW! IT’S JEFF CARTER WITH THE FIRST KINGS GOAL OF THE SEASON! 🚨#GoKingsGo | @LAKings pic.twitter.com/USwMu1KDYt

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) January 15, 2021

WELCOME TO LA, ANDREAS ATHANASIOU! 🤩@LAKings | #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/P19aSlMnMH

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) January 15, 2021

“There’s a lot of things we did well, things we can build off of… and certainly areas that we have to clean up.”

Hear from @LAKings Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s season opener. pic.twitter.com/kzvktrudlw

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) January 15, 2021

“I felt good… I felt ready.”

Anze Kopitar discusses tonight’s season-opening OT loss to the Wild.@LAKings pic.twitter.com/86VAFtV61t

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) January 15, 2021

Powered by WPeMatico

California board urges bias reviews of police social media

By DON THOMPSON

SACRAMENTO — California police agencies should routinely review officers’ social media, cellphones and computers for racist, bigoted or other offensive content that contributes to disproportionate police stops of Black people, a state advisory board said Monday.

The controversial recommendation comes from community and law enforcement representatives who analyzed nearly 4 million vehicle and pedestrian stops by California’s 15 largest law enforcement agencies in 2019.

The Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board report was unveiled amid calls to defund police and promises from state lawmakers to renew efforts to strip badges from bad officers, make more police misconduct records public, and allow community groups to handle mental health and drug calls where police powers may not be needed.

People who were perceived as Black were more than twice as likely to be stopped as their percentage of the population would suggest, the board said in its fourth annual report.

Black people also had the highest proportion of their stops (21%) for reasonable suspicion, while the most common reason for stops of people of all races was traffic violations. Black people were searched at 2.5 times the rate of people perceived as white.

And the odds were 1.45 times greater that someone perceived as Black had force used against them during a traffic stop compared to someone perceived as white. The odds were 1.18 times greater for people perceived as Latino.

Reform efforts have often focused on increasing training to make officers aware of how their implicit, or unconscious, bias may affect their interactions. Starting this year, a new law also requires agencies to screen job applicants for implicit and explicit biases.

“Unchecked explicit bias may lead to some of the stop data disparities we have observed,” the board said.

Explicitly racist or bigoted social media posts by some law enforcement officers appear to be a widespread problem nationwide, it said, citing a study by the Plain View Project that examined the Facebook accounts of 2,900 active and 600 retired officers in eight departments across the country.

In California, current and former San Jose Police Department officers were found to have shared racist Facebook posts. Other agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and San Francisco Police Department, have been involved in similar issues.

The board recommended that agencies review employees’ social media posts and routinely check officers’ department-issued cellphones and computers to make sure they aren’t showing racist or other problematic behavior.

Betty Williams, president the NAACP’s Sacramento Branch, said the recommendation doesn’t go far enough and should also include officers’ personal cellphones.

Police departments “demand fair and impartial police services for the communities they serve,” responded Chief Eric Nuñez, president of the California Police Chiefs Association. But he said checking officers’ cellphones, computers and social media accounts “would require a significant additional funding source, time and legal issues that have not been properly identified or researched at this point.”

The disproportionate numbers could be driven by demographics, not racism, the Los Angeles Police Protective League board of directors said in a statement.

“What these numbers don’t tell is that in Los Angeles, 70% of violent crime victims are either Black or Hispanic and that 81% of the reported violent crime suspects are either Black or Hispanic,” the league said.

Both the league and the state sheriffs’ association said the broader issue of racial bias must be addressed across society, not just law enforcement.

“Law enforcement agencies across California have embraced change, participated in training, and engaged their local communities on this topic and we will continue to do so,” said Kings County Sheriff David Robinson, president of the sheriffs’ association.

“We’ve done all of the reformist things,” countered Cat Brooks, executive director of Justice Teams Network and co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project. “We’ve done trainings, we’ve done body cameras, we’ve done police commissions, we’ve hired from the community. All of these things to tinker around the edges of this very large problem, but really what we’ve been doing is putting Band-Aids on gunshot wounds.”

She said the report’s findings show the need for a “complete transformation” from an emphasis on police and prisons to one focused on addressing root community causes such as hunger and homelessness.

The report’s data is little changed from a year ago when stops involving the state’s eight largest agencies were studied for the second half of 2018, before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other police killings of primarily Black and Latino men sparked nationwide protests and reform efforts last year.

It shows “there is significant work to be done to prevent further disparities in who is stopped, how they are treated when stopped, and the outcomes of those stops,” the board said.

Black people make up 7% of the population but were involved in 16% of California stops in 2019. Those perceived to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent accounted for 5% of stops and 2% of the population.

Whites and Latinos were one to two percentage points less likely to be stopped than their proportion of the population would indicate, while those of Asian background account for 12% of the population and just 6% of stops.

Read more about California board urges bias reviews of police social media This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Bond girl and ‘That ’70s Show’ actress Tanya Roberts dies in L.A. at age 65

LOS ANGELES — Film and television actress Tanya Roberts has died at age 65.

The former Bond girl in “A View to a Kill” had taken her dogs for a walk on Christmas Eve with her partner, Lance O’Brien, and upon her return home, she collapsed and was taken to a hospital, her publicist, Mike Pingel told City News Service. She was put on a ventilator after being hospitalized, but never recovered. She died in Los Angeles on Sunday, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

Tanya Roberts, the actress best known for playing a Bond girl in ‘A View to a Kill’ and Midge Pinciotti on ‘That ’70’s Show,’ has died. She was 65 https://t.co/jTAJ0jq1X4 pic.twitter.com/lLU58a1E36

— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 4, 2021

Her death was not COVID-related, he told CNS.

Pingel said she had been in good health prior to her Dec. 24 collapse.


Eric (Topher Grace, C) and Donna go on their first date with a little help from the parents on the First Date episode of That 70s Show Sunday, Feb. 14, 1999, on Fox. (From left: Debra Jo Rupp, Tanya Roberts, Kurtwood Smith, Grace and Don Stark. (Frank Carroll/Fox Broadcasting)

Roberts, who had been a successful model and posed for Playboy, in addition to myriad TV advertisements. She also starred in fantasy adventure films including “The Beastmaster” and “Sheena.” She joined the team on “Charlie’s Angels.” She totaled more than 40 acting credits dating back to the 1970s. More recently, she played Midge on “That ’70’s Show.”

Roberts is survived by O’Brien, and her sister, Barbara Chase.

Powered by WPeMatico

43 employees at Kaiser medical center in San Jose test positive for COVID-19

SAN JOSE — Some 43 employees at the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center Emergency Department tested positive for COVID-19 between Dec. 27 and Jan. 1, according to a senior official at the hospital.

“We will ensure that every affected staff member receives the care and support they need,” Irene Chavez, a senior vice president for Kaiser Permanente, said in a statement. “Using our infection prevention protocols, we are investigating the outbreak and using contact tracing to personally notify and test any staff or patients who were exposed during this time period based on (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and public health guidelines.”

Chavez said the hospital is moving quickly to test all emergency department employees and physicians for COVID-19.  Employees confirmed to have COVID-19 or suspected of having the virus due to symptoms will not come to work, she said.

The Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center remains open, officials said Saturday.

 

Read more about 43 employees at Kaiser medical center in San Jose test positive for COVID-19 This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Winter storm warnings in place for Southern California mountains

With the season’s  first storm arriving late Sunday, winter storm warnings were issued for mountain areas of Southern California effective through Monday evening.

Now that rain is starting to come onshore, let’s take a look at those expected rain and snowfall totals through Monday. Generally 0.5-1″ or so of rain (locally 1-2 inches in the coastal slopes) is expected. 6-12 inches of snow above 5000 feet, mainly in LA Co. #CAwx #LArain pic.twitter.com/VclLk9f0Oa

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) December 28, 2020

Up to a foot of snow was expected in L.A. County mountains, excluding the Santa Monica Range.

“Travel could be very difficult, including the Interstate 5 Corridor where the snow level is expected to lower to 4,000 feet, which would affect the top of the Tejon Grade with snow accumulations of one to two inches along with icy conditions,” the National Weather Service said in its warning.

The San Bernardino County mountains were expected to see snow above around 4,000 to 5,000 feet.

“Heavy snow and strong winds expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions, including during the morning and evening commutes Monday. Tree branches could fall as well. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, with very localized amounts up to 20 inches, are expected,” the National Weather Service said in its warning for San Bernardino County mountain communities including Crestline, Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake, Running Springs and Wrightwood.

The Riverside County mountains, including in the Idyllwild area, generally could see up to eight inches of snow, the NWS said.

Please heed the advice of The CHP if planning any travel across the #SoCal Mountains through Tuesday! #CAwx https://t.co/DWP6svUIbE

— NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) December 27, 2020

At lower elevations, one half to one inch of rain was expected in Los Angeles County. The NWS said the Riverside and Santa Ana areas may see a quarter to a half inch.

Read more about Winter storm warnings in place for Southern California mountains This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Shooting at Illinois bowling alley leaves 3 dead, 3 injured

ROCKFORD, Ill. — A gunman opened fire inside an Illinois bowling alley, killing three people and injuring three others Saturday night in what authorities believe was a random attack.

A 37-year-old male suspect was in custody after the shooting at Don Carter Lanes, Rockford police said in a social media  post.

Two of those who were shot were teenagers, police Chief Dan O’Shea said during a news conference.

O’Shea did not immediately release additional information about the victims. He described the scene as contained and said he did not think any officers fired their weapons while apprehending the suspected gunman.

Rockford is about 80 miles northwest of Chicago.

Mayor Tom McNamara released a statement saying he was “angered and saddened” about the shooting.

“My thoughts are with the families of those who lost loved ones,” McNamara said. “I’m also thinking of those who were injured and my hopes are with them for a quick and full recovery.”

The Rockford Register Star reported that 2020 has been the city’s deadliest year for homicides, according to records that date back to 1965. Thirty-five people have been killed in the city this year, breaking the previous record of 31 in 1996.

Read more about Shooting at Illinois bowling alley leaves 3 dead, 3 injured This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Whicker: Lakers get into the spirit of this cut-and-dried Christmas

Next time the NBA fills up Christmas Day with basketball, make sure batteries are included on both sides.

The Lakers could have played in their stockings and won this one over Dallas. Their 138-115 victory followed Miami’s 13-point stroll past New Orleans, Milwaukee’s 39-point embarrassment of Golden State, and Brooklyn’s ominous 28-point waltz in Boston.

It’s not unusual to have Christmas games serve as background music instead of actual dramatics, and it wouldn’t be bad, either, if this were a year when the family could gather ‘round. Although the players aspire to get network exposure, they’re as protective of their special days as anybody else. When one team falls behind, it’s easier to punt its best effort to a more secular occasion.

But you can’t blame the NBA for playing as many games as it can whenever it can, seeing what might be awaiting as the winter deepens. On Friday, the Lakers just had fun matching up their new ornaments.

This was the Lakers’ highest-scoring performance since Dec. 8 of last year, when Anthony Davis put 50 points and they throttled Minnesota 142-125. They certainly weren’t offensively challenged in their championship season, but they can score far easier in their half-court offense with Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schröder in the crew, especially if Kyle Kuzma keeps looking this good.

Harrell, Schröder and Kuzma shot 23 for 35 against the Mavericks, and Harrell’s five offensive rebounds helped the Lakers outscore Dallas 35-0 on second-chance opportunities, which hasn’t happened in the NBA since such records were kept.

Their strong push meant Davis could work fewer than 31 minutes and LeBron James fewer than 32, a rest they earned after a strong first quarter.

“Five or six guys are able to come in and get you 20,” Kuzma said. “We’ve got guys ready to come in and take a game over.”

It might be the closest thing to a shadow starting lineup since 1984, when Pat Riley often began games with Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes, Michael Cooper and Mitch Kupchak sitting beside him. Here, the Laker reserves scored 55 points and sank 10 of 16 3-point shots.

Nobody actually wants to see the Lakers experiment with this, but if James or Davis had to miss extended time, couldn’t they still finish high in the West? One would assume Jalen Horton-Tucker, among others, would eat up those available minutes, and we’ve barely seen the tip of Wesley Matthews’ game in this 1-1 start.

“I can see, with this team, that I can go into the lane and put pressure on the other team,” said Schröder, who left no doubt that he would be thrilled to sign a contract extension “as long as it’s fair for both sides.

“When I do that, nobody is really helping,” Schroder added. “Everybody else on the court draws a lot of attention.”

The Mavericks (0-2) got 27 points and seven rebounds from Luka Doncic, but they needed more, or at least needed him to do it differently. Coach Frank Vogel had Schröder guard Doncic much of the time and then called in bigger helpmates when the shot clock began dwindling.

Doncic was only 7 for 16 in the first three quarters, and Vogel was pleased the Lakers kept him from digging in at the 3-point line. He went 2 for 4 from deep, and had only four rebounds.

“You try not to overhelp and open up the 3-point game for all their guys,” Vogel said. Add the Mavericks’ 13-for-32 shooting on longballs, and those are winning numbers against the preseason favorite for league Most Valuable Player.

“I guarded Luka quite a bit when I was in Oklahoma City,” Schröder said. “We did a great job of putting him under pressure in the beginning, although we slipped a little bit later.

“I gotta play defense because it gets me into my offense. I think it’s 60, 70 percent of my game. If I play 94 feet with energy, my teammates can see that we’re all into it. That’s what I’ve done my whole career.”

Harrell is also doing the same things that earned him the league’s top Sixth Man award last year, an honor for which Schröder contended as well.

“The only thing to say about him (Harrell) is that he catches everything and he scores everything,” Vogel said, smiling. “We’re trying to give our depth enough reps, and trying to manage LeBron, but it started tonight with LeBron and AD playing at a high level.”

As they know each other better, the Lakers probably will give you lots of nights like this, lots of games that get wrapped up earlier than your gifts probably were.

Read more about Whicker: Lakers get into the spirit of this cut-and-dried Christmas This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. OC Shredding Business

Powered by WPeMatico

Congress approves $900B COVID-19 relief bill, sending to Trump

By ANDREW TAYLOR

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Monday night that would finally deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate a nation confronting a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Lawmakers tacked on a $1.4 trillion catchall spending bill and thousands of pages of other end-of-session business in a massive bundle of bipartisan legislation as Capitol Hill prepared to close the books on the year. The bill goes to President Donald Trump for his signature, which is expected in the coming days.

The relief package, unveiled Monday afternoon, sped through the House and Senate in a matter of hours. The Senate cleared the massive package by a 92-6 vote after the House approved the COVID-19 package by another lopsided vote, 359-53. The six Republican senators voting against the bill were Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rick Scott of Florida, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas.

The tallies were a bipartisan coda to months of partisanship and politicking as lawmakers wrangled over the relief question, a logjam that broke after President-elect Joe Biden urged his party to accept a compromise with top Republicans that is smaller than many Democrats would have liked.

The bill combines coronavirus-fighting funds with financial relief for individuals and businesses. It would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants, and theaters and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.

The 5,593-page legislation — by far the longest bill ever — came together Sunday after months of battling, posturing and postelection negotiating that reined in a number of Democratic demands as the end of the congressional session approached. Biden was eager for a deal to deliver long-awaited help to suffering people and a boost to the economy, even though it was less than half the size that Democrats wanted in the fall.

“This deal is not everything I want — not by a long shot,” said Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., a longstanding voice in the party’s old-school liberal wing. “The choice before us is simple. It’s about whether we help families or not. It’s about whether we help small businesses and restaurants or not. It’s about whether we boost (food stamp) benefits and strengthen anti-hunger programs or not. And whether we help those dealing with a job loss or not. To me, this is not a tough call.”

The Senate, meanwhile, was also on track to pass a one-week stopgap spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight and give Trump time to sign the sweeping legislation.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a key negotiator, said on CNBC Monday morning that the direct payments would begin arriving in bank accounts next week.

Democrats promised more aid to come once Biden takes office, but Republicans were signaling a wait-and-see approach.

The measure would fund the government through September, wrapping a year’s worth of action on annual spending bills into a single package that never saw Senate committee or floor debate.

The legislation followed a tortured path. Democrats played hardball up until Election Day, amid accusations that they wanted to deny Trump a victory that might help him prevail. Democrats denied that, but their demands indeed became more realistic after Trump’s loss and as Biden made it clear that half a loaf was better than none.

The final bill bore ample resemblance to a $1 trillion package put together by Senate Republican leaders in July, a proposal that at the time was scoffed at by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as way too little.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took a victory lap after blocking far more ambitious legislation from reaching the Senate floor. He said the pragmatic approach of Biden was key.

“The president-elect suggesting that we needed to do something now was helpful in moving both Pelosi and Schumer into a better place,” McConnell told The Associated Press. “My view about what comes next is let’s take a look at it. Happy to evaluate that based upon the needs that we confront in February and March.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, D-Calif., came to the Senate to cast her vote for the bill. “The American people need relief and I want to be able to do what I can to help them,” she said.

On direct payments, the bill provides $600 to individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 to couples making up to $150,000, with payments phased out for higher incomes. An additional $600 payment will be made per dependent child, similar to the last round of relief payments in the spring.

“I expect we’ll get the money out by the beginning of next week — $2,400 for a family of four,” Mnuchin said. “So much needed relief just in time for the holidays.”

The $300 per week bonus jobless benefit was half the supplemental federal unemployment benefit provided under the $1.8 billion CARES Act in March. That more generous benefit and would be limited to 11 weeks instead of 16 weeks. The direct $600 stimulus payment was also half the March payment.

The CARES Act was credited with keeping the economy from falling off a cliff during widespread lockdowns in the spring, but Republicans controlling the Senate cited debt concerns in pushing against Democratic demands.

“Anyone who thinks this bill is enough hasn’t heard the desperation in the voices of their constituents, has not looked into the eyes of the small-business owner on the brink of ruin,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, a lifelong New Yorker who pushed hard for money helping his city’s transit systems, renters, theaters and restaurants.

Progress came after a bipartisan group of pragmatists and moderates devised a $908 billion plan that built a middle-ground position that the top four leaders of Congress — the GOP and Democratic leaders of both the House and Senate — used as the basis for their talks. The lawmakers urged leaders on both sides to back off of hardline positions.

“At times we felt like we were in the wilderness because people on all sides of the aisle didn’t want to give, in order to give the other side a win,” said freshman Rep. Elssa Slotkin, D-Mich. “And it was gross to watch, frankly.”

Republicans were most intent on reviving the Paycheck Protection Program with $284 billion, which would cover a second round of PPP grants to especially hard-hit businesses. Democrats won set-asides for low-income and minority communities.

The sweeping bill also contains $25 billion in rental assistance, $15 billion for theaters and other live venues, $82 billion for local schools, colleges and universities, and $10 billion for child care.

The governmentwide appropriations bill was likely to provide a last $1.4 billion installment for Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall as a condition of winning his signature. The Pentagon would receive $696 billion. Democrats and Senate Republicans prevailed in a bid to use bookkeeping maneuvers to squeeze $12.5 billion more for domestic programs into the legislation.

The bill was an engine to carry much of Capitol Hill’s unfinished business, including an almost 400-page water resources bill that targets $10 billion for 46 Army Corps of Engineers flood control, environmental and coastal protection projects. Another addition would extend a batch of soon-to-expire tax breaks, such as one for craft brewers, wineries and distillers.

It also would carry numerous clean-energy provisions sought by Democrats with fossil fuel incentives favored by Republicans, $7 billion to increase access to broadband, $4 billion to help other nations vaccinate their people, $14 billion for cash-starved transit systems, $1 billion for Amtrak and $2 billion for airports and concessionaires. Food stamp benefits would temporarily be increased by 15%.

The Senate Historical Office said the previous record for the length of legislation was the 2,847-page tax reform bill of 1986 — about one-half the size of Monday’s behemoth.

Powered by WPeMatico