LOCAL AND REGIONAL NEWS

Friday, May 29th, 2020


  

Back in March, as the coronavirus began to hit California, Governor Newsom signed an executive order banning all evictions. With the order set to expire at the end of the month, some tenants still falling on hard financial times could start to worry. The Housing Authority is encouraging local landlords to work with their renters. To be clear, the moratorium wasn’t a waiving of rent for the past few months. It just meant people could defer payments for the time being.


It's the question on every fitness fanatics mind, when will gyms reopen? According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, we could see guidelines released in a "week or so." During a virtual round table on Wednesday, Newsom discussed reopening the fitness industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He discussed the complexities of the fitness industry and said they want to make sure the guidelines they set forth meet the unique criteria and considerations.


A debate in Congress over whether to extend $600 a week in federally provided benefits to the unemployed looks sure to intensify with the number of people receiving the aid now topping 30 million — one in five workers. The money, included in a government relief package enacted in March, is set to expire July 31. Yet with the unemployment rate widely expected to still be in the mid-teens by then, members of both parties will face pressure to compromise on some form of renewed benefits for the jobless.


Costco announced Thursday that it will bring back free samples beginning in mid-June. During a company earnings call on Thursday, Costco revealed that a modified sample program will be returning for members. The warehouse club stopped offering free samples of food items in March due to coronavirus concerns. Galanti also said Costco will soon be adding more items to the menu in its food court. Costco currently requires everyone in its warehouses to wear masks.


U.S. consumer spending plunged by a record-shattering 13.6% in April as the viral pandemic shuttered businesses, forced millions of layoffs and sent the economy into a deep recession. Last month’s spending decline was far worse than the revised 6.9% drop in March, which itself had set a record for the steepest one-month fall in records dating to 1959. Friday’s Commerce Department figures reinforced evidence that the economy is gripped by the worst downturn in decades, with consumers unable or too anxious to spend much.


The Kern County Public Health Services Department confirmed 66 new COVID-19 cases yesterday morning, including one death. The new cases bring the county’s total to 2,017 cases and 37 deaths. 


Kern County Public Health Services held a COVID-19 briefing Thursday, providing an update on the situation at the Kingston Healthcare Center, as well as other skilled nursing facilities in the county. As of Wednesday, 54 workers and 80 residents had tested positive with COVID-19, with 18 residents losing their lives. At Valley Convalescent Hospital it was reported that 19 workers and 40 residents tested positive, with 4 residents losing their lives. There was an additional death previously reported at The Orchard Post Acute Care. Of the deaths related to COVID-19 in Kern County, 23 are from skilled nursing facilities.


There's new concern about medical costs because of the coronavirus. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were already seeing hospital costs rising. Insurance comparison website Quote Wizard looked at a decade of data and it determined the average cost of a hospital visit went up 36% to more than $2,300 a day. In some states, the increase was higher. Hospitals did get some emergency relief funding under the CARES Act and other stimulus bills. That will help offset some of the extra COVID-care debt, but only time will tell how the crisis will impact future costs.


The California Senate's plan to cover a projected budget deficit rejects Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed cuts to public education and health care programs. The Senate's plan would spend about $8 billion more on public education than Newsom's plan. But it would delay $9 billion in payments to K-12 public schools and community colleges for at least one year. 


Wearing a face covering in public is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Still, not everyone is wearing one. A new study offers some insight into why. Men are less likely than women to state that they wear a face covering anytime they leave the home. Many gave the reason that wearing a face mask was shameful or a sign of weakness. I'm not sure if a degree of macho will protect you. 


President Donald Trump escalated his war on social media companies Thursday, signing an executive order challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet. Still, the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets.


Organizers canceled the Boston Marathon on Thursday for the first time in its history, bowing to the social distancing requirements of the coronavirus outbreak and ending a 124-year run that had persisted through two World Wars, a volcanic eruption and even another pandemic.




Thursday, May 28th, 2020


For the 10th straight week, weekly initial claims for unemployment have totaled in the millions. On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported that 2.1 million people filed initial claims for unemployment for the week ending May 23. In the last 10 weeks, 40 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment. Thursday's report marked the eighth straight week in declining unemployment figures, but unemployment claims remain historically high.


A recent survey found that cancer patients are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a second survey found that there are more delays in care, financial strain and negative mental health effects that cancer patients face as a direct result of the pandemic.


A man who was caught on camera last week attempting to steal a bicycle from a residence but was stopped by a 10-year-old girl has been arrested. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office said that on Wednesday, 59-year-old Michael King was arrested in Wasco on suspicion of burglary and theft during a state of emergency. The victim’s 10-year-old daughter saw the suspect and yelled at him, causing the suspect to drop the bicycle and flee on foot from the residence, the department said.


Most people who break into a bank do it to get their hands on some money. A man in San Diego said he did to get his hands on a Hot Pocket. Police said the alarm company reported surveillance cameras inside the bank showed the man in the break room using the microwave. The man, who has not been identified, admitted to breaking in for a Hot Pocket. When asked if it was worth it, the man responded, “Hell yeah, it was worth it. 


 Federal courts have delivered a string of rebukes to the Trump administration over what they found were failures to protect the environment and address climate change as it promotes fossil fuel interests and the extraction of natural resources from public lands. Judges have ruled administration officials ignored or downplayed potential environmental damage in lawsuits over oil and gas leases, coal mining and pipelines to transport fuels across the U.S.


Kern Public Health is reporting that as of yesterday morning there are seven additional COVID-19 deaths bringing the total to 36. There are are 1,951 COVID-19 total cases among county residents. This total includes the 10 non-resident who have tested positive. Public Health also reported of the 1,951 cases 1,284 have recovered and are no longer considered contagious.


Kern County health officials are reporting a jump in the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 coming out of the holiday weekend. There have been seven new deaths reported bringing the total number to 36. And the total number of cases is now approaching 2,000. According to a tweet from Kern County's Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop, "22 or over 60% of the total 36 deaths are patients/residents at three different state-regulated skilled nursing facilities."


With retail outlets re-opening, there are some things you should still keep in mind while venturing out. It is still strongly recommended you wear a mask when in public to protect yourself and others. Keep your hands clean and try as best you can to continue to practice social distancing. Many stores have installed hand sanitizing dispensers so use them...often. 


Free Covid 19 testing is being done at the Kern Valley Hospital. Make an appointment by calling 379-2681 extension 267 from 8 am to 4pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The drive through testing is being done in from of the hospital on Laurel in Mtn. Mesa each Wednesday and Thursday from 7 am to 2 pm. Test results will usually be available within 48 hours. The number and more details can be found at KVHD dot org, and at Kern River Radio dot com.


An effort to block Pacific Gas and Electric's path out of bankruptcy kicked off Wednesday's trial on the plan in bankruptcy court as critics of the utility questioned whether the overwhelming vote in favor of the plan by wildfire victims was tainted by conflicts of interest and shoddy counting. PG&E’s plan won support last week in a landslide, with victims overwhelmingly backing PG&E’s $58 billion proposal to emergence from bankruptcy after a year-and-half.


Two people have been charged with multiple crimes connected to what is known as the "Bakersfield 3", including one person who has been missing for two years. According to the Kern County District Attorney's Office, Matthew Queen and Baylee Despot have been charged with murder, torture, kidnapping and conspiracy in the case of Micah Holsonbake. Queen has faced multiple charges in the past, including kidnapping, resisting arrest, and weapons charges. Despot, who was charged with murder and torture, was last seen two years ago and is considered part of the Bakersfield 3. 


It may not be the typical graduation, but the Kern Valley High School Class of 2020 will graduate with a ceremony complete with cap, gown and diploma, thanks to some creative planning by school administrators. Seniors will graduate on Thursday, May 28. But rather than having all 105 graduates on the field as one large group, seniors will be receiving their diplomas individually. And rather than the ceremonial walk onto the field, graduates will be driven. As outlined in email correspondence, each graduating senior will be driven onto the high school’s track in separate vehicles. Principal John Meyers said a strict graduation protocol has been established, with only one car per family and a total of six people in the car, including the graduate and driver.


Good news for those jonesin' for games of chance and randomness. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday night that he would allow casinos to reopen June 4, welcoming tourists to return to the glitzy gambling mecca of Las Vegas.The Democratic governor told reporters that Nevada will welcome visitors from across the country to come to Las Vegas and have a good time.


Wednesday, May 27th, 2020


The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 3.7 earthquake shaking the ground near Oildale and Bakersfield last night. According to the USGS, the quake hit around 9:52 p.m. about 3 miles Southeast of Oildale.


Health officials now are weighing in on the risk of getting infected with Covid 19 through water. Previous research from the University of Arizona shows that coronavirus can survive for a period of time in tap water. However, CDC officials say there is no evidence that the virus can spread to people through treated water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. The Kern County Department of Recreation and Parks says they're still waiting for the green light from public health before opening water parks and play areas.


Governor Gavin Newsom announced that barbershops and hair salons could begin at the local and county level with the appropriate modifications. "Forty-seven of the 58 counties currently have self-attested to having those plans of action in place," Newsom said. "Along those lines, [counties] will be able to add in barbershops and hair salons to those regional variations starting immediately.


President Donald Trump is threatening social media companies with new regulation or even closure after Twitter added fact checks to two of his tweets. Claiming tech giants "silence conservative voices," Trump tweeted Wednesday that, "We will strongly regulate, or close them down before we can ever allow this to happen."


The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says the second named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Bertha, has formed off the South Carolina coast. NHC says Bertha is expected to produce heavy rainfall across parts of eastern and central South Carolina, and west-central to far southeastern North Carolina.


Big Oil lost a pair of court battles Tuesday that could lead to trials in lawsuits by California cities and counties seeking damages for the impact of climate change. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by energy companies and ruled state courts are the proper forum for lawsuits alleging producers promoted petroleum as environmentally responsible when they knew it was contributing to drought, wildfires, and sea level rise associated with global warming.


Kern County Public Health Services reports Positives Detected Among Kern Residents: 1,886. Recovered Residents: 1,239. Positives Detected Among Non-Residents: 10. Number of Deaths: 29.


The state of California released new guidelines Monday to allow for the reopening of churches and other places of worship for in-person services. The new guidelines include:  Staff, volunteers and congregants are strongly recommended to wear face masks when in the vicinity of others, Consider shortening services to minimize the amount of time people are congregated together, Seating and podium areas must be rearranged to allow for 6 feet of space between people, and open doors and windows to encourage fresh air to flow inside. Places of worship are also encouraged by state guidelines to continue offering remote and online services. They should also meet outside to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 wherever possible.


The Kern Valley Hospital is offering free Covid-19 testing at a drive through area in front of the hospital. It at no cost to you and the appointments can be made each Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 am to 4 pm. by calling 379-2681 extension 267. 379-26-81 extension 267. The tests themselves will be taken each Wednesday and Thursday only from 7 am to 2 pm. Tests from an outside lab are usually back in about two days and you can choose how you wish to be informed. For information, you can log onto WWW.KVHD.ORG. Just click on the top press release. 


Some things are beginning to return to normal here in the KRV. Restaurants are offering limited distance dine-in again, and many retailers and services are starting to become available. As the state and county allows, more and more will be opening. It is still strongly recommended you still practice social distancing and wear a mask for your protection and for the protection of others. 


 Six Flags announced the first of its 25 amusement parks will open on June 5. Six Flags Frontier City will open in Oklahoma City with new health and safety measures, including limited capacity, thermal imaging for temperature checks, touchless bag checks and increased disinfecting protocols. 


Governor Gavin Newsom provided further opening modifications during his Tuesday coronavirus update. Newsom announced that barbershops and hair salons can now be added to the regional re-openings. Kern County was approved for regional re-opening of phase two last week with the state's approval of the county's application.


Tuesday, May 26th, 2020


California Governor Gavin Newsom released new COVID-19 guidelines for places of worship on yesterday. Places that are considered worship must limit attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. This will remain in effect for the first 21 days of a county public health department’s approval of religious services and cultural ceremonies activities at places of worship within their jurisdictions. After 21 days places can work with their health department to reassess things.


The coronavirus hasn’t been kind to car owners. With more people than ever staying home to lessen the spread of COVID-19, their sedans, pickup trucks and SUVs are parked unattended on the streets, making them easy targets for opportunistic thieves. Despite silent streets and nearly non-existent traffic, vehicle larcenies shot up 63% in New York and nearly 17% in Los Angeles from Jan. 1 through mid-May, compared with the same period last year.


The Kern Public Health Department reports as of Monday morning there are 1,871 total cases in Kern County. This includes the 10 non-residents. The total recoveries are at 1,239 for Kern. 29 COVID-19 related deaths.


At 11:22 yesterday morning, the Bakersfield CHP Communications Center received a call of a female possibly preparing to jump from the railing of the Olive Drive overpass into the traffic lanes of southbound State Route-99. At 11:24 a.m., it was reported the female jumped into the southbound lanes and was lying between the 1 and 2 lanes. The female was not struck by any vehicles and was pronounced deceased a short time later by responding medical personnel.


We will see above average temperatures for a majority of the week. Also seeing near record temperatures, over 100 degrees mid week. After the warming trend, we will see slightly cooler temperatures by this weekend. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning starting this afternoon to Thursday night. 





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