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Newport Beach City Council Votes To Keep The Beaches Open

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People are seen gathering on the beach north of Newport Beach Pier on April 25. (Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

The Newport Beach City Council voted 5-2 tonight to keep city beaches open during the coronavirus pandemic.

After last weekend's heat wave drew thousands to Newport Beach, city officials said they would consider closing beaches for the next three weekends or closing some roads leading to popular coastal spots.

Newport Beach Mayor Will O'Neill argued against the closures:

"I support keeping our beaches open. And as your mayor I believe that we can step up education and enforcement to ensure that the public remains safe, without taking away people's freedom to enjoy the outdoors."

The mayor also leaned on guidance from the state parks department that urged people to stay close to home when enjoying the outdoors.

MORE ON ORANGE COUNTY BEACHES

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LA County Supervisors Want More Pay and Protections For Nursing Home Staff

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Bixby Knolls Towers skilled nursing home in Long Beach ( Megan Garvey / LAist)

A motion passed unanimously Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors calls for county representatives to work with Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials to mandate extra pay and sick leave for nursing home workers. They also want the state to ban retaliation against staff who request personal protective gear like masks and gloves.

More than 200 nursing homes have at least one COVID-19 case, and nursing home staff account for the majority of health worker deaths in the county.

L.A. County Department of Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly told the board that an increase in COVID-19 cases at nursing homes could spell disaster for area hospitals.

“If they become unable to maintain care for their residents, the crisis in the skilled nursing facilities presents the biggest risk to the ongoing stability of the overall health and hospital system across the county,” she said.

Ghaly said there are about 41,000 nursing home residents in the county, and on any given day only 2,000 available hospital beds.

The board's motion was amended to include a request for protections for workers in long-term care, assisted living and board and care facilities, as well as mental health rehabilitation centers.

The board also gave the county health department one week to come up with a plan to test all nursing home staff and workers, whether or not they have symptoms.

READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE MOTIONS:

MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

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LA Expands Free Coronavirus Testing To Construction Workers, Increases Stash Of N95 Masks

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Los Angeles County will add construction workers to the list of critical workers now eligible for coronavirus testing, even if they are not showing symptoms, said Mayor Eric Garcetti today, speaking from the city's Emergency Operations Center.

The mayor thanked construction workers for their help during this time, noting that many of them "have been keeping up with critical infrastructure projects, helping us build housing and keeping people getting a paycheck in these tough times, at a safe distance."

The list of folks who qualify for asymptomatic testing also includes:

  • rideshare, public transportation and taxi drivers (as of yesterday)
  • healthcare workers
  • first responders
  • critical government personnel
  • grocery workers
  • anyone who works or lives in a nursing home

MASK UPDATES:

Garcetti noted that the city has signed an agreement to puchase 24 million N95 masks from a company called the Honeywell Corporation, at a rate of 79 cents, plus tax, per unit. These masks wil go to first responders and hospitals in need, at cost. The first 100,000 deliveries will arrive in May and 500,000 will arrive in June; the output will scale up to 1.2 million per month by November.

Gene Seroka, who is currently serving as the city’s chief logistics officer during the COVID-19 crisis, expanded on some other benefits of the mask program:

  • All of the masks will be made here in the U.S. and create jobs in production, domestically, so that we don't have to depend on international markets
  • City officials will now know exactly how many masks they'll be receiving and when they'll arrive, so they'll be able to update hospitals and frontline medical workers with accurate estimates
  • The masks will be delivered at cost to hospitals and workers (no price gouging)

Seroka added:

"Some hospitals have told us they need 5 million of these masks just to survive the next couple of months, others have said their mask usage has grown from 30,000 a month to 300,000. So there's still much more work to do in this area, but it's a great start."

The city is also working to convert already-existing manufacturing facilities into producers of personal protective equipment, so that local hospitals don't have to wait for overseas shipments.

In addition, apparel companies are working to produce non-medical-grade masks for non-medical workers. The mayor said that over 1,280 companies have signed up to start production; 433 have been approved. Currently nearly 2,000 essential businesses have requested more than 1.7 million non-medical masks, he said.

Businesses in need of masks for their workers can visit coronavirus.lacity.org/laprotects to sign up. The mayor said he's proud of the program so far:

"We love the idea of buying things here, keeping it American, doing what we can to make sure that we put people back to work in our backyard...64,000 workers who visit an average of five homes a day are protecting themselves and their customers, and we are proud Los Angeles is stepping up to manufacture this, not just for ourselves, but for the entire nation."

He added that the program has also provided over 65,000 masks to the homeless population on Skid Row.

UNEMPLOYMENT AND STIMULUS UPDATES:

Garcetti also spoke about the economic hardship impacting many Angelenos right now, especially those who did not receive their stimulus checks because they don't have a bank account. To remedy this, the city is partnering with the county's Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to connect people who need the stimulus money urgently to affordable banking options. Angelenos can sign up for the program at coronavirus.lacity.org/banking.

The mayor reminded viewers that independent contractors, i.e. gig workers, can now sign up for unemployment insurance.

"Here in Los Angeles and across California, we have a robust, thriving community of artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, rideshare drivers and more who don't fit neatly into the normal ranks of our workforce. These benefits now include an additional $600 per week, beyond the usual state allocations, and are retroactive to the date you lost your job, not just the date you first file for unemployment. These small but critical shifts are meant to ease the burden, just a little bit on those who have been hit hardest by this pandemic."

If you're one of the many independent contractors confused by the unemployment process, good news! We have some answers for you.

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How A Massive Red Tide Event Makes For Glowing Blue Waves

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(Courtesy of Mark Girardeau)

While you shouldn't be at the beach right now, there is something special happening in the ocean.

The coast from Monterey Bay to the Mexican border is experiencing what's commonly known as a red tide event. It's caused by a massive bloom of microscopic algae, which usually happens around this time of year and into late summer.

And, that's what's giving the waters off the South Bay and Long Beach a distinctively brownish-red color.

When the bloom is disturbed — like when a boat motors through it, or if it's caught in some crashing surf — it can produce a soft, bright blue light.

The bioluminescence showed up in the San Diego area last week, and along some Orange and L.A. County beaches in recent days. But there's no way to predict when or where it will show up again.

Fortunately, the algae species in Southern California isn't toxic, but some blooms can cause eye and skin irritation.

Mark Girardeau, who owns Orange County Outdoors captured the rare neon blue waves created by a bioluminescent tide from the sand in Newport Beach on April 15 and gave us permission to share some of those images.

(Courtesy of Mark Girardeau)

(Courtesy of Mark Girardeau)
(Courtesy of Mark Girardeau)
(Courtesy of Mark Girardeau)

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Filing For Benefits As A Self-Employed Californian: Explained

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A call center worker at California's Employment Development Department (EDD) takes questions from out-of-work Californians about filing for unemployment benefits, March 30, 2020. California Economic Development Department

About one out of every six California workers has filed for unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic began. But many self-employed workers haven’t been able to apply until today.

California’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is now online.

Many of you have told us you're confused about the process. So here's some help!: a Q&A with Economic Development Department spokesperson Loree Levy and employment attorney George Warner with Legal Aid at Work. They answered some of the most common questions about filing as a self-employed Californian in a recent live digital event sponsored by KPCC/LAist.

READ A CURATED, EDITED TRANSCRIPT OF Q&As ON SELF-EMPLOYED FILING:

WATCH THE FULL LIVE EVENT:

READ CALIFORNIA'S OFFICAL FAQ:

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In Lawsuits, UC and Cal State Students Demand Refunds Of Fees For On-Campus Services

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UCLA celebrated its centennial in 2019. (Andrew Cullen/ LAist)

Students in the University of California and California State University systems say they shouldn't have to pay fees for services they can't access while campuses are shut down -- and now they've filed lawsuits to get their money back.

Class-action suits filed in federal courts in Los Angeles and Oakland this week demand refunds for the 700,000 students enrolled in the two university systems.

Adam Levitt, a lawyer representing the students, said it is "improper" for the universities "to attempt to retain what amounts to many millions of dollars in aggregate in campus fees they collected from their students, even though they terminated the services that these fees covered."

Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the Cal State Chancellor's office, said "the complaint misstates the facts."

"Campuses continue to operate, and many personal services are now provided remotely, such as counseling, advising, faculty office hours, disability student services, and even telehealth medical care," he said. "CSU will vigorously defend against this suit."

The University of California declined to comment on the lawsuit.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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With Theaters Closed, Academy Rewrites Oscar Rules

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(Aaron Poole / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

And the Oscar goes to... a movie that never played in a theater?

In a fundamental rewriting of its eligibility rules, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said films don’t have to be released theatrically to qualify for next year’s Oscars.

With almost all of the nation’s theaters closed for the immediate future, the academy on Tuesday said films that debut on video-on-demand platforms or streaming sites could now compete, as long as they previously were scheduled to be released in theaters.

At the same time, the sound mixing and sound editing categories will be combined into one sound award.

Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a joint statement:

“The academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules.”

To be eligible for an award, distributors must make their digitally released films available on a secure academy streaming site within two months of the film’s streaming or VOD debut. If theaters reopen nationally, the academy said its new rules could be revoked.

At that point going forward, the usual qualifying requirements would return: a run of at least seven consecutive days, with screenings at least three times daily.

The 93rd Oscars is scheduled for Feb. 28.

MORE HOLLYWOOD NEWS

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Stay-At-Home Orders Are Speeding Up Some Roadwork — But It Might Not Last

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Los Angeles freeways in the age of COVID-19. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

The dip in L.A. traffic is causing many things including better air and breathtakingly open roads (for those essential trips).

Road crews can conduct repairs during the day rather than in the dead of night or on the margins of the workday.

That means some projects are finishing faster, according to Russell Snyder of the California Asphalt Paving Association.

It also means the city has been able to focus its repaving work on major streets, which are mostly empty, sparing people who live on residential streets the hassle of moving their cars during the day, when most people are staying at home.

But roadwork in the future may be at risk as less driving and more working from home translates into lower gas, sales taxes and transportation taxes, all of which help fund construction projects.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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‘An Unfortunate Milestone’: Coronavirus Deaths In LA County Reach 1,000

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A sign at the entrance to a COVID-19 test site at Carbon Health in Echo Park. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer did addressed the local media via teleconference today to report 59 more deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 1,000 — “an unfortunate milestone,” she said.

Ferrer also reported that the county has seen 597 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 20,976 cases countywide.

Here's the latest racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on the information we have for 918 of the people who've died. According to health officials, the victims are:

  • 14% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 18% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 37% Latino or Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 29% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 1% identified as belonging to a different race or ethnicity

The death toll at the county’s institutional settings, particularly nursing homes, continues to climb. Ferrer reported that 462 residents at those facilities have died. That number represents 46% of all deaths countywide.

The coronavirus crisis "has amplified the cracks in our society," Ferrer said, "including the care and protection of people who are older and medically fragile." She added:

"While managers and staff at all our skilled nursing facilities are doing their very best under difficult circumstances to care for their residents, we are still seeing many cases and deaths among residents and staff in these facilities. We need to accelerate our ability to quickly identify and isolate asymptomatic, as well as symptomatic, residents and staff, and quarantine those who are close contacts."

Here are some other key figures being reported today:

  • Of the 59 new deaths reported: 36 patients were over 65; 16 were between 41 and 65; one person was between 18 and 40
  • More than 133,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 in L.A. County and had the results reported to county health officials. Of those tests, 14% have been positive.
  • In total 4,507 people who've tested positive for coronavirus in L.A. County have "at some point" been hospitalized, Ferrer said, which represents 21% of all positive cases.

Ferrer also reiterated that the current May 15 expiration of the stay-at-home order has not changed, but explained that an amended order could be issued next. She said:

"...we're going to stay where we are right now and then as we get closer in May, we'll be making decisions about what pieces of the current order might need to be extended and where are there places where we'd be able to relax... there will be a [new] health officer order moving forward... giving us directives on how to make sure we safely open."

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MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

LA County Will Mail A Ballot To All 5.4 Million Registered Voters For The November Election

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Los Angeles County began mailing out 2020 primary election vote-by-mail ballots on Feb. 3. They must be postmarked on or before election day, March 3. Libby Denkmann/LAist

L.A. County Supervisors today voted 5-0 to send a mail-in ballot to every registered voter in the county ahead of the presidential election in November.

The motion was co-authored by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl. It requires the county registrar to print and send ballots to all 5.4 million L.A. voters in time for the general election -- addressing the problem of long voting lines and the threat of coronavirus contagion.

“I don’t want people to have to make a choice between their health and their right to vote,” Hahn said, adding the cost estimate is in the neighborhood of $9 million.

The county was already considering expanding voting by mail. Frustrating wait times and snaking queues at many of the new vote centers on March 3 -- particularly downtown and on college campuses -- prompted the Supervisors to order Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan to look into the problems and study expanding absentee voting. Logan submitted his report late on Monday, as the pandemic brings an added urgency to keep voters safe.

“It looks very likely the entire state will move to this model, or a similar model,” Logan said.

GO DEEPER:

Hollywood Agencies Enjoy A Victory In Clash With WGA

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The Writers Guild of America West building. (Andy Nystrom/Flickr Creative Commons)

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On KPCC’s The Frame, I've been covering the dispute between talent agencies and the Writers Guild of America for over a year now.

This morning I spoke with sources about the latest developments. A federal judge has ruled that the three big agencies don’t operate like mobsters in a TV crime series.

But Hollywood agents aren’t exactly seeing a happy ending for their other problems.

READ THE FULL STORY:

CA Might Reopen K-12 Schools As Early As July To Curb ‘Learning Loss’

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A gate is locked at Huntington Drive Elementary School, an L.A. Unified campus in northeast Los Angeles. ( Kyle Stokes/LAist)

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California public school students: Your summer break might be a lot shorter this year.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is “considering” asking the state’s K-12 schools to begin the 2020-21 school year much earlier than normal — perhaps as soon as late July.

State officials haven’t made any definitive decisions to alter the school calendar yet, Newsom said during his daily press update today. The decision would be driven by public health considerations including hospitalization trends and the availability of coronavirus testing, contact tracing and personal protective gear.

The governor cited concerns about “learning loss” during the pandemic.

Despite efforts to set up distance learning programs and distribute laptops, many educators are worried that the longer students are stuck at home, the further they’ll fall behind. Academic research is beginning to validate these concerns.

Newsom is floating the idea of an early start so schools can get ready:

“We need to start preparing for the physical changes in the schools and the environmental changes in the schools that are necessary."

The governor has previously suggested that even when school campuses reopen, social distancing measures may need to continue. That might mean schools will have to stagger students’ schedules and limit their interaction at meals, recess, assemblies and gym classes.

Gov. Newsom: How California Can Start Loosening Stay-At-Home Orders

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In his daily coronavirus update, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new details about reopening businesses and schools in California. You can read highlights below or watch the press conference above.

REOPENING SCHOOLS

The state is considering starting the school year in late July or early August in order to help avoid "learning loss," Newsom said, but that decision has not yet been made.

REOPENING OTHER PUBLIC SPACES

Coronavirus isn't going away soon, California Department of Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell said. She said that modifications to stay-at-home orders have to be guided by a commitment to equity and that individuals, businesses and government need to take responsibility.

Newsom talked about regional differences. Residents in some parts of the state want to reopen soon while the Bay Area recently extending its stay-at-home order to May 18.

FOUR PHASES TO FULLY LIFTING STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS

There are four phases in California's "Resilience Roadmap," Angell and Newsom said. The first two (we're currently in the first one) are:

  • Phase 1: Safety and Preparedness

This includes making workplaces for essential workers as safe as possible. Newsom said community surveillance is essential in this phase.

The state will continue to expand testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution and hospital surge capacity in this stage. It includes essential workplaces making physical and workflow adaptations, an essential workforce safety net, making PPE more widely available and individual behavior changes. There are also sector-by-sector safety guidelines being prepared for an expanded workforce.

  • Phase 2: Lower Risk Workplaces

This includes gradually opening some lower risk workplaces with adaptations, including modifications to allow physical distancing.

Sectors listed by Angell include retail with changes like curbside pickup, manufacturing (of items like toys, clothing and furniture), offices (but only when telecommuting isn't possible) and opening more public spaces (like parks and trails).

It also includes modified school programs and child care providers reopening with adaptations. Summer programs and the school year may start sooner, with the state looking at late July or early August. Child care facilities are currently limited to essential workers but this would allow them to expand. The state wants to address learning gaps, ensure students and staff are safe in those schools, and allow parents to return to work.

This phase requires wage replacement to allow workers to stay home when they're sick, Angell said.

HOW TO GET FROM PHASE 1 TO PHASE 2

To move from Phase 1 to Phase 2, here are the indicators state officials are considering:

  • Hospitalizations and ICU trends remain stable
  • Hospital surge capacity maintained to meet demands if there are increased infections in the next stage from increased movement
  • There is sufficient PPE to meet demands, including anticipating future needs and knowing PPE can be secured
  • Sufficient testing capacity to meet demand
  • Contact tracing capacity statewide, including working with local health authorities and governments to make sure capacity is there

Angell divided the actions needed to move to this next phase into three parts:

  • Government Actions

This includes creating policies that allow people to stay home when they're sick and providing guidance on how to reduce risk.

  • Business Actions

This includes businesses paying workers when they need to stay home sick, adapting to make workplaces lower risk and allowing employees to continue working from home when possible. Angell said the state will continue to encourage employers to have their employees work from home.

  • Individual Actions

The state wants people to continue safety precautions like physical distancing and wearing face coverings, to avoid non-essential travel and to support and care for people who are at higher risk. That support includes making phone calls to check in on people and figuring out other ways to help them.

REGIONAL VARIATIONS IN STAY-AT HOME ORDERS

During Phase 2, counties can choose to relax stricter local orders at their own pace, according to Angell. State orders will still need to be followed but localities can either loosen or tighten restrictions, as needed.

More regional variations could be supported following Phase 2, once a statewide COVID-19 surveillance system has been made possible through testing, according to Angell. The state will consult and collaborate with local governments.

THE NEXT TWO PHASES

It will be months before we get to these next two phases, Newsom said, and these timelines can change if people are careless in their behavior.

  • Phase 3: Higher Risk Workplaces

This allows higher risk workplaces to adapt and reopen. That includes personal care businesses such as gyms, hair salons and nail salons — any businesses that involve close proximity, Angell said. Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters and sports venues without live audiences, are also included here. This category also includes in-person religious services (churches, weddings).

  • Phase 4: End of Stay-At-Home Order

This phase includes reopening with an expanded workforce at the highest risk workplaces. This includes large-scale events like concerts, convention centers and live audience sports. It requires therapeutics for coronavirus to be in place.

LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS

The number of deaths rose from 45 to 54, Newsom said — roughly half of the number of daily deaths seen last week. The number of new coronavirus positives: 1,576, up from 1,300 the day before. The hospitalization rate went up 2.5%. ICU numbers went down slightly after being stable the day before, Newsom said.

MORE CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

The hospitalization numbers are stabilizing, Newsom said, although they're not yet declining. Newsom reiterated that California is weeks, not months, away from loosening stay-at-home restrictions. He said that people ask whether that means one week or three weeks but that depends on the data.

Newsom also said progress has been made in coronavirus testing, with 585,000 tests conducted in California so far. There are more than 20,000 tests being conducted per day currently, with the state well on its way to 25,000 per day. The ultimate goal is 60,000 to 80,000 tests per day.

California has acquired 12,500 hotel rooms meant to house the homeless as part of Project Roomkey, according to Newsom. The state has distributed 2.8 million of 3.1 million masks it has acquired although he said we aren't close to where we need to be with personal protective equipment.

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We Take You Inside LAUSD's Food Distribution Machine

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An LAUSD distribution warehouse in Pico Rivera. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

This week, the L.A. Unified School District marked a sobering milestone: 13 million meals served to kids and adults in need during the coronavirus crisis.

The district has been distributing the meals to kids and adults, no questions asked, since the first week of the COVID-19 school closures. The effort is estimated to cost an extra $78 million, and the district has yet to determine how it will fund it.

To understand how the nation's second-largest school district pivoted to providing widespread community food relief, we followed the meals, from the district's warehouse in Pico Rivera to some of the 63 grab-and-go centers where the meals are packed and distributed.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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LA County Weighs 'Strategic Plan' For COVID-19 Testing In Nursing Homes

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California health officials have reported both staff and residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Bixby Knolls Towers skilled nursing facility in Long Beach. The facility advertised for a janitor and certified nurse outside last week. Megan Garv

Today, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors will vote on a motion that would give the county Department of Health Services seven days to develop a "high-level strategic plan" for carrying out nursing home testing.

In all, 423 residents of institutional settings have died from COVID-19 in L.A. County — 45% of all coronavirus deaths. Most lived in skilled nursing facilities, according to public health officials.

Eight of the 11 health care workers who have died in Los Angeles County of COVID-19 worked in skilled nursing facilities.

READ THE FULL STORY

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Morning Briefing: High Toll In High Poverty Communities. OC Crowds The Beaches

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The L.A. sky looked marbled at sunset on Sunday, April 26. (Aaron Mendelson / LAist)

Never miss a morning briefing, subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

L.A. County officials released some disturbing data yesterday: Communities with high levels of poverty have three times the rate of death from COVID-19 as communities with low levels of poverty. Specifically, in high poverty areas, the death rate is 16.9 people per 100,000. In areas with very low poverty, the death rate is 5.5 per 100,000.

We may all be in this together, but it’s clear we aren’t all paying the same price — or taking the same precautions. That was underscored in a major way this weekend by the images of people crammed together on Orange County beaches -- despite the fact that social distancing was in effect.

The pictures were met with disdain from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said that such behavior will only set the state back from re-opening. OC officials also weren’t happy, and the Newport Beach City Council is considering closing the beaches back down.

But we should all be troubled by the images. The median household income in Newport Beach is $122,709, and just 6.6% of residents live in poverty, which is far below the state average. Based on what we know so far, the area likely isn’t being hit as hard by the pandemic. But we also know that any transmission within those beach crowds may spread to less well-off communities, where the death toll could be high.

So, if you care about your neighbors, raise your hand -- and with your other hand, put down that beach towel.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, April 28

Libby Denkmann covers the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting, including a vote on whether to mandate mail-in ballots for the November election.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is handing out millions of free meals every week. Carla Javier looks at each step of the planning, packaging and distribution process -- and how the district will pay for a program that's projected to cost $78 million. (Don’t miss the great video of the process on the story from our visual journalist Chava Sanchez.)

California's Economic Development Department will finally allow gig workers and other self-employed people to apply for unemployment insurance starting Tuesday, April 28. David Wagner breaks down what people can expect.

New data shows that the majority of health care workers who have died in L.A. County worked in skilled nursing facilities, reports Jackie Fortiér. The rapid spread of the virus through the staff of nursing homes has led to the California National Guard plugging those staffing holes.

Kyle Stokes covers the California Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance’s 2-part hearing looking at the impact of COVID-19.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are at least 20,417 coronavirus cases and 942 deaths in L.A. County. There are nearly 44,844 cases and over 1,750 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 3 million cases and more than 210,000 deaths.

COVID-19 In The Courts: ICE was supposed to start reducing the population of a San Bernardino County processing center, but a federal appeals court temporarily halted the order. California officials have been ordered to address a lawsuit that demands the state dramatically reduce the population in county jails and juvenile halls.

The 2020 Census: L.A.'s congressional district lines could be reshaped. The slow-growing 27th District in the San Gabriel Valley, one of the districts in the country where Asian Americans make up a plurality, is looking particularly vulnerable.

Open, Close, Open?: Newport Beach is considering closing their beaches once again on weekends for the next three weeks. L.A. could start taking baby steps toward normalcy in the next two to six weeks, Mayor Garcetti told us today — with caveats. Long Beach is thinking along the same lines. LAUSD campuses will not reopen until a “robust system of testing and contact tracing” is in place, said the superintendent. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is weeks, not months from starting to reopen — unless people keep ignoring social distancing guidelines at beaches or other public places.

Cleaning Up: The five-year cleanup of a lead-contamination zone is a story of confusion, shifting goalposts, missed deadlines and bloated budgets. The county is going to start using an institute in Monterey Park to disinfect up to 30,000 N95 masks a day.

Money In The Time Of... : A state program helps workers keep their jobs — but the archaic application process (snail mail?) might leave employers in the dark. Some community health clinics are OK for now, thanks to government loans. L.A. County’s CEO unveiled a new recommended 2020-21 budget, but nearly everything in it is subject to change. A Los Angeles law firm is suing the biggest banks in the country over their alleged mishandling of federal coronavirus stimulus loans for small businesses.

California Kids: No LAUSD student will fail this semester, and they’ll all receive at least the grade they got when schools closed down.

Food And Arts: Coronavirus hasn't stopped MacArthur Park's street food vendors — or the investigators trying to shut them down. At least three L.A. restaurants — one of them the century-old Musso & Frank — have sued their insurance companies for denying coronavirus-related claims. TV and film production dropped drastically in the first quarter of the year. Get your online events list here, including living paintings, Hamilton and home and scripts written by school kids and read by celebs.

Final Good-Byes: Ian Whitcomb, who died earlier this month at 78, was a one-hit wonder who went on to have an eclectic life and career (including hosting a KPCC music show in the 1990s). We remember him fondly.


Your Moment Of Zen

Investigative reporter Aaron Mendelson captured a marbled sky at sunset on Sunday.

(Aaron Mendelson / LAist)

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