‘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.”

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Man found in crashed car fatally shot in Santa Ana

SANTA ANA — A 20-year-old man was killed in a Santa Ana shooting and the shooter was at large Thursday morning.

Officers responded about 11 p.m. Wednesday to the 200 block of South Raitt street, near First Street, and found a Honda Accord crashed against a curb and pole and the victim inside with at least one gunshot wound, according to Cmdr. S. Enriquez of the Santa Ana Police Department.

The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A description of the shooter was not immediately available.

The name of the victim was not disclosed.

The intersection of Raitt and First streets was closed after the incident.

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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.

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Man arrested on suspicion of DUI after Huntington Beach crash kills 2

A Sunset Beach man was arrested on suspicion of DUI after a multi-vehicle traffic crash in Huntington Beach left two people dead on Tuesday evening, Jan. 19.

35-year-old Eric Kinser was transported to UCI Medical Center for treatment and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the Huntington Beach Police Department said in a statement.

At 6:45 p.m., police responded to reports of a multi-vehicle collision in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue. Three vehicles with extensive damage were found in the southbound lanes of PCH.

After a preliminary investigation, it was determined that Kinser drove a white 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck north on PCH and crossed over the center median into southbound lanes of traffic, police said. He collided head-on with a silver 1999 Toyota Solara, driven by a 19-year-old man from Newport Beach; and a white 2012 Lexus RX350, driven by a 71-year old woman from Huntington Beach, the Police Department said.

The driver of the Lexus was pronounced deceased at the scene and the driver of the Toyota was transported to UCI Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries, police said. A 45-year old female passenger in the Lexus was transported to OC Global Medical Center with moderate injuries.

Anyone with information about the crash was asked to contact Huntington Beach Police Traffic Investigator D. Demetre at 714-536-5670.

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Ducks sputter early and late in season-opening loss to Golden Knights

  • The Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm skates with the puck as the Golden Knights’ Nicolas Roy pursues during the second period of their season opener on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: Josh Manson #42 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck against Reilly Smith #19 of the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Anaheim Ducks left wing Max Comtois (53) looks up at center Sam Steel (23) after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: Max Comtois #53 of the Anaheim Ducks slides into Robin Lehner #90 of the Vegas Golden Knights after scoring the first of his two goals in the first period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: Mark Stone #61 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates with the puck against Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the Anaheim Ducks in the second period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks blocks a shot in front of Mark Stone #61 of the Vegas Golden Knights in the second period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) celebrates with teammates after the team’s win over the Anaheim Ducks in an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Vegas Golden Knights left wing Tomas Nosek (92) is congratulated after scoring against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Anaheim Ducks center Sam Steel (23) and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb reach for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: William Karlsson #71 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates with the puck ahead of Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the Anaheim Ducks in the second period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: Max Pacioretty #67 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates with the puck ahead of Josh Manson #42 and Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks as Chandler Stephenson #20 of the Golden Knights trails the play in the second period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: Robin Lehner #90 of the Vegas Golden Knights takes a break during a stop in play in the first period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud (2) shoots as Anaheim Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm (47) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Vegas Golden Knights left wing Max Pacioretty (67) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Vegas Golden Knights center Nicolas Roy (10) congratulates right wing Alex Tuch (89) after his empty-net goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) moves in on Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Anaheim Ducks left wing Danton Heinen (43) shoots as Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner (90) defends during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Vegas Golden Knights right wing Alex Tuch (89) and Anaheim Ducks left wing Nicolas Deslauriers (20) reach for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Anaheim Ducks left wing Max Comtois (53) reacts after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner (90) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) blocks a shot as Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) looks for the rebound during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: Robin Lehner #90 of the Vegas Golden Knights blocks a shot in front of Sam Steel #23 of the Anaheim Ducks in the third period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Ducks 5-3. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 14: Mark Stone #61 of the Vegas Golden Knights waves to an empty arena after being named the first star of the game following the team’s 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena on January 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Games at the arena are being played without fans in attendance because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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An empty arena and an elite opponent awaited the Ducks when they returned to the ice for the first time in more than 10 months because of the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena. In the opening minutes, they looked exactly like a confused team that hadn’t played in 309 days.

The Ducks gave up two goals in the first 2 minutes, 13 seconds.

Uh-oh.

Matters would improve, but not enough to produce a victory for the Ducks, who dropped a 5-2 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights in their coronavirus-delayed season opener. The Ducks certainly had their moments, especially during an excellent second period, but not enough of them to win.

Mark Stone scored the tiebreaking goal 49 seconds into the third period, converting from the slot off a pass from below the goal line from Vegas teammate Chandler Stephenson to give the Golden Knights a 3-2 lead. Max Comtois had scored twice to rally the Ducks to a 2-2 tie in the first.

Stone then set up Max Pacioretty’s goal that made it 4-2 at 10:59 of the third.

Alex Tuch scored an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left for Vegas.

“We didn’t hang our heads when we got down early,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said, ticking off a list of positive developments in their first game since March 11. “We were able to battle back and get back in the game. I thought (Sam) Steel and Comtois and (Troy) Terry were real solid overall.

“I thought our second period was a real good one overall for us. So, there were some good things, but in the end, it’s about the two points and there’s a few things we’ve got to clean up.”

Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk made his Ducks debut after signing a three-year, $11.7-million contract after helping to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup championship this past fall. Shattenkirk played a team-leading 23:55, had three shots on goal and a minus-1 defensive rating.

“Our response in the first period was great, the way we just took a deep breath,” Shattenkirk said. “We realized it was the first game of the year, no exhibition games, there’s going to be some mistakes made and they capitalized on them, but we did the same thing to them.”

John Gibson made 24 saves, including two on breakaways by Pacioretty. The Ducks didn’t give him much help in the opening minutes as they fell behind 2-0 less than three minutes into the game. He blanked the Golden Knights for the rest of the first period and all of the second.

“He made some big saves for us,” Eakins said. “Las Vegas likes to really make those quick-strike plays from below the goal line, but overall, I thought ‘Gibby’ was good.”

A mistake-filled first 10 minutes might have been excused since the Ducks and Golden Knights had short training camps and didn’t play exhibition games to work out the rough edges, and there were plenty of them as the teams went on a scoring spree.

Jonathan Marchessault split Ducks defensemen Jacob Larsson and Jani Hakanpaa, their new third pair, and beat Gibson with a perfect shot over his left shoulder only 1:07 into the game. Tomas Nosek then made it 2-0 for Vegas from close range at 2:13.

Normally, a start like that would have had fans in T-Mobile Arena screaming for more, but the only sounds came from the Golden Knights’ bench, and even that was muted. Slowly but certainly, the Ducks regrouped and rallied to tie the score at 2-2 on the goals from Comtois.

Then again, maybe it wasn’t all that slowly.

Steel set up the first of Comtois’ goals with an alert pass to the front of the net at 4:22. Ryan Getzlaf set up the second with some hard work to pry the puck loose from Vegas defenseman Zach Whitecloud. He then fed a cross-crease pass to an unmarked Comtois for the tying goal at 7:58.

The teams settled down for the rest of the first period and they were deadlocked, 2-2.

It stayed that way until Vegas scored three times in the decisive third period.

“As the game went on we tried to be aggressive and play our game and we forgot sometimes to cover our ‘D’ and we got bit with two goals and the empty-netter and that’s how it went,” Comtois said. “We’ve got to go back to the video room and see what went good and what went wrong.

“We know we can play with those guys. We saw it in the first and the second.”

The Ducks get another crack at the Golden Knights on Saturday in Las Vegas.

NOTES

Comtois’ goals, both in the first 7:58 of the game, marked the fastest two goals by an NHL player to start a season in more than 15 years. The last NHL player to score two goals in the first eight minutes of a season was the Kings’ Jeremy Roenick, who scored two goals in the first 4:18 on Oct. 5, 2005, in Dallas. … The Golden Knights improved to 9-2-2 against the Ducks since they entered the league in 2017. … The Ducks had won three straight season openers.

Give the kid another!!@comtois20 roofs a sweet pass from Getzlaf for his 2nd goal of the period!@AnaheimDucks | #FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/Moy4IFjwuY

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

“We’re a very tough team to play against, we just weren’t able to stick with it there and do it in the third period to keep that game close.”@AlysonLozoff sits down with Kevin Shattenkirk to discuss his first night with the @AnaheimDucks pic.twitter.com/4lnOccmi7M

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

.@AnaheimDucks head coach Dallas Eakins goes over tonight’s season opener.#FlyTogether pic.twitter.com/hmXCL6euS7

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

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Woman charged in New Year’s Eve killing of man in Santa Ana

SANTA ANA — A 35-year-old security guard is facing a murder charge in connection with the New Year’s Eve killing of a man in Santa Ana, court records obtained Tuesday show.

Toetu Tesarina Lavea, who was arrested Saturday and was being held in lieu of $1 million bail, listed her occupation as security, according to jail records.

She is charged with murder in the death of 46-year-old Manuel Ramos of Santa Ana.

Police said they were called at 6:46 p.m. Jan. 2 to a residence in the 1800 block of West 18th Street, where they found Ramos’ body in the living room with “significant trauma” to his upper body. According to the criminal complaint, he was killed two days earlier, but further details were not immediately available.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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