Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):
New Free COVID-19 Testing Site At LA Mexican Consulate Aims To Fill A Need In The Community
A free COVID-19 testing site at the Mexican Consulate by MacArthur Park opened earlier this week to address the need for testing in the surrounding community, home to many immigrants from Latin America.
The surrounding Westlake neighborhood and nearby Pico-Union are among the L.A. neighborhoods with high COVID-19 case numbers, as the coronavirus pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on communities of color.
Latinos in L.A. County have become infected with the virus at high rates; Latinos, followed by Black county residents, also have the highest age-adjusted death rate according to a recent UCLA analysis.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis partnered with the consulate to open the new testing site.
“Expanding access to COVID-19 testing is imperative to slowing the spread of this highly contagious virus,” Solis said in a statement. “Many Latino immigrants and communities of color are hardworking essential workers with limited access to healthcare.”
Solis also said the spot was chosen to be welcoming to immigrants who are afraid to seek health services in today's political climate: “That takes us right to the question of will this be viewed as a public charge and be used against them if they want to obtain citizenship or any kind of legal residency here, and we're telling people ‘no.'”
The COVID-19 testing site at the Mexican Consulate, which is located at 2401 W. 6th Street, is also staffed by representatives from the consulates of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Spanish and indigenous language translation services are available.
The site can test up to 1,500 people a day. More information on this and other COVID-19 testing sites and appointments can be found here.
- As Many Angelenos Stayed Home, LA County Saw A Spike In Coronavirus Among Latinos. Here's Why
- Confused About Whether To Get A Coronavirus Test? Here's What You Need To Know
Latest COVID-19 Case Numbers From LA County
L.A. County health officials on Saturday reported 35 new deaths from COVID-19 across the county, and 2,103 new confirmed cases.
To date, there have been 5,245 known deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in the county, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health, and 220,762 positive cases.
In a statement, county officials said that a backlog of cases from the state electronic lab report system is still expected.
Currently, 1,393 patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are hospitalized in L.A. County, and 33% are in hospital ICUs. Officials pointed out that daily hospitalization numbers have been declining.
The county has by now tested a little more than 2 million people for coronavirus, and 10% have tested positive.
OVERALL LOOK AT LA COUNTY NUMBERS:
Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose L.A. County or any other California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Friday, Aug. 14:
The Air Is Pretty Bad This Weekend -- Here's Why, And How To Cope
If you’re concerned about the air quality right now, you have good reason.
Southern California skies are hazy with wildfire smoke, and also ozone brought on by the excessive heat. On Friday, some areas saw the highest levels of ozone over a one-hour period in a decade. The trend is expected to continue this weekend with triple-digit temperatures.
According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has issued an ozone advisory valid through Monday afternoon:
On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday afternoons, AQI (Air Quality Index) levels may reach the Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy AQI categories at times in the Santa Clarita Valley, the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Mountains, the San Gabriel Valley, the Inland Empire, the San Bernardino Mountains, and the Coachella Valley.
South Coast Daily Air Quality Forecast: Saturday, Aug. 15: https://t.co/szsyGAFunD#LosAngeles: Good / Mod. / Unhealthy for Sens. Gr. / Unhealthy#Orange: Good / Mod.#Riverside: Mod. / Unhealthy for Sens. Gr. / Unhealthy#SanBernardino: Mod. / Unhealthy for Sens. Gr. / Unhealthy pic.twitter.com/MEB6oJg05R— South Coast AQMD (@SouthCoastAQMD) August 15, 2020
The handful of wildfires burning right now are sending tiny particles of pollution into the air — particles that individually are nearly invisible.
However, “when you have a lot of them in the air, you will see the haze that you're seeing right now when you look out your window towards the fires,” said Philip Fine, deputy executive officer at the AQMD for the Planning and Rules Division.
Fine says this kind of pollution poses health risks, and can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
The bottom line: “If you smell smoke, or you see ash, or you see smoke in your area you should try to limit your exposure to that smoke,” Fine said.
Which means staying indoors, closing doors and windows if possible, and avoiding vigorous physical activity. And if you have air conditioning, clean the filters and keep the air recirculating.
The AQMD has a guide to air quality and pollution on its website.
- Extreme Heat, Two Wildfires, And Potential Mudslide Risk...On Top Of Coronavirus. It's LA 2020.
- LA Has The Worst Air In The Nation Again
Morning Briefing: It’s Going To Be Very, Very Hot This Weekend
Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.
Ready your ice buckets; the heat is descending on SoCal this weekend. And so has a statewide power emergency, at least for about 2 1/2 hours Friday night.
The areas facing the highest projected temps are the Antelope Valley, which could get up to 112 degrees, and the Inland Valleys, which may see highs of 110 degrees. Experts are saying the heat could last through Wednesday.
But there are creative ways to stay cool, regardless of your living situation: put lotions in the fridge before slathering them on, build a tower of ice cubes in front of your fan, freeze wet paper towels and put them on your wrists – you get the idea.
Some cooling centers will also open up over the next few days.
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay cool out there.
Coming Up Today, August 15
With authorities putting the fire risk in Southern California at “extreme,” we will be keeping an eye on the fire situation this weekend.
Never miss an LAist story. Sign up for our daily newsletters.
The Past 24 Hours In LA
Power Emergency: 2020 is definitely not letting up. State power officials last night declared a Stage 3 Electrical Emergency in California. Yes, that means rolling blackouts might happen. No, it hasn't happened since 2001 when the state was in an electricity crisis (who remembers Enron?). The emergency lasted about 2 1/2 hours before officials said they'd stabilized the grid.
It’s Hot: It's going to be a very hot weekend, but there are some options for cooling off. Here are some tips to protect against heat-related illnesses, along with advice from health officials, updated local resources, and DIY suggestions from formerly warm people.
Wildfires: Fire crews are in the third day of battling the Lake Fire, which has burned over 11,600 acres in the Angeles National Forest. A brush fire near Azusa, now dubbed the Ranch 2 Fire, has spread to more than 2,500 acres at last count.
Coronavirus Updates: California is seeing a decline in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and a 6.2% average positivity rate, which Gov. Gavin Newsom called a good sign.
Shaping The Conversation: Take a deeper dive into the life of Hee Sook Lee and the impact of the BCD Tofu House chain, which she founded. A struggle is playing out over who gets to shape a new school of ethnic studies and a forthcoming university requirement at Cal State L.A.
First Person: For one Argentine girl, assimilation as an immigrant to the U.S. meant a new friend, tastes of home and a whole lot of Harry Potter. A visit to the dentist for a costly emergency prompts columnist Erick Galindo to look into access to dental care for working class communities of color, and he learns it’s not great.
There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives without also trying to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, these articles provide some much-needed insight into the current moment in L.A., as well as some news you may have missed:
Semaj Miller, a 14-year-old basketball prodigy, was shot to death in South L.A. at the end of July. Many in his community attribute his death to the ongoing pandemic, which has forced the closure of youth programs in the area. (The 562)
In this excerpt from Katie Hill’s new memoir, the former Congresswoman discusses her abusive ex-husband, the sexual violence that forced her to resign her seat, and more. (LA Mag)
L.A. County will pay $8 million to the family of Darren Burley, a Black man who died in 2012 after Sheriff’s deputies beat him with a flashlight, tased him, and kneeled on his back and neck. (LA Watts Times)
The Melrose Ave. we all know and love may soon look very different. (Urbanize L.A.)
Chanchanit Martorell has spent 14 years shepherding the Thai Town Marketplace, a food hall intended to kickstart low-income chefs and first-time entrepreneurs, into being. It may finally be happening. (The LAnd)
This couple recently opened the first CBD shop in Boyle Heights, inspired by their families’ histories as well as the history of the area. (LA Taco)
For one Mt. Washington mom, giving birth during the coronavirus took her on a journey from “soul-wrenching and heartbreaking” to “elated [and] exhausted.” (The Eastsider)
Photo Of The Day
Matt Tinoco, who covers homelessness for our newsroom, shot this photo last night. As he said on Twitter: “Ha ha nope.”
Help Us Cover Your Community
- Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
- Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.
The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.