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LA County Reports 1,313 New COVID Cases, 22 Deaths

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(Courtesy Los Angeles Department of Transportation)

L.A. County health officials on Sunday confirmed 1,313 new cases of coronavirus and 22 deaths. Currently, there are 1,176 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and 31% of them are in an ICU.

Today’s update brings the total number of cases to 1,203,152, and deaths to 22,029.

In recent weeks, L.A. County and City officials have been making a concerted effort to provide vaccinations to as many Angelenos as possible, as new tiers of eligibility open up. On March 1, teachers, food and agriculture workers, law enforcement and others became eligible. On March 15, people ages 16-64 with underlying health conditions will become eligible.

L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Thursday said the county is “very close” to moving from the state’s most restrictive tier — purple — to the next, slightly more permissive red tier.

"The [current] number is 7.2 new cases per 100,000 residents," she told us last week. "The number we need to get to is 7."

The red tier would allow more indoor businesses to open at limited capacity, including restaurants and retail.

Climate Change Activist Picks Up All Trash In Eaton Canyon, Over 589 Days

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Dozens played by the 40-foot-tall waterfall at Eaton Canyon. (Josie Huang/LAist)

With just a pair of gloves and a few buckets on hand, 20-year-old climate activist Edgar McGregor spent nearly 600 days cleaning Eaton Canyon, picking up trash that hikers and others leave behind.

In a video posted to Twitter, McGregor says he has "nowhere else to clean in my park."

“I have covered an enormous portion of my park checking the entire main trail, checking all the waterfalls, all the storm drains, everything ... and for the first time in 589 days I can say with confidence that my park Eaton Canyon ... is completely free of municipal waste.”

McGregor has received an outpouring of support throughout his journey. Even 18-year-old fellow climate activist Greta Thunburg offered her congratulations.

McGregor says now he will turn his attention to a new park in need of TLC.

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No Baby Boom: California Reports Steep Birth Decline During 2020

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A baby wears a Halloween outfit. Omar Lopez/Unsplash

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, some wondered whether a baby boom would be inevitable. But research is showing that it may be a baby bust instead.

In a study released early in the pandemic, one-in-three U.S. women said that because of COVID-19, they wanted to delay having a child or have fewer children. A year into the pandemic, those changes in women's preferences are becoming evident.

Nell Frizzell, author of "The Panic Years: Dates, Doubts, and the Mother of All Decisions," said it's not hard to imagine why the current times may be throwing a wrench into plans to start or expand a family.

“Even the risk of adding to the burden on our overstretched health service with another pregnancy feels like something I'm not necessarily comfortable to do,” she said.

Plus, giving birth during the pandemic might mean having a different type of labor than at other times.

“I have so many friends who have now had their little lockdown covid babies,” added Frizzell, “and some of them had to give birth on their own.”

Some states are reporting steep declines in births during the same month compared to prior years. According to data provided to CBS News, birth rates in California fell by 10.2% between Dec. 2019 and Dec. 2020 — down from 36,651 to 32,910.

However, the state’s birth rate has been declining for several years; officials reported decreases in births in both 2019 and 2018.

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Activists Want More Resources Put Towards Missing Indigenous Women

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Photo by Cayetano Gil on Unsplash

Officials and stakeholders in the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous victims held a panel on Saturday to raise awareness around the devastating problem.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control found homicide to be the third-leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native women. On some reservations, the murder rates of Native American women is ten times higher than the national average.

Boys and men are affected as well. Lisa Craig, whose family lives in Shasta County, said her nephew, Nick Craig, disappeared in Northern California more than a year ago.

“Some of these cases come about through drugs and alcohol,” she said. “Up here in the rural counties, that's kind of pushed off as, ‘Well, he's part of that crowd, so it doesn't matter.’”

Last year, Assemblymember James Ramos introduced a bill that would require the California Department of Justice to collaborate in a more meaningful way with tribal law enforcement. It would also instigate a study to determine how to increase state resources for reporting and identifying missing Native Americans in California, particularly women and girls.

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Wind Power Company Will Help Breed Condors To Replace Those That Have Died

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Wind turbines. (Photo by ZHANG FENGSHENG on Unsplash)

California's quest for 100% renewable energy could be putting the already fragile condor population in danger. A wind power company has come up with a solution — help breed the endangered birds.

The Manzana Wind Power Project has announced plans to work with a captive breeding facility to fund the breeding of additional condors for release into the wild.

Louis Sahagun, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, explains how that arrangement might work.

“They want to breed six condors for release when they reach one-and-a-half years of age, which is the age at which they are believed to be able to defend themselves,” he said.

According to Sahagun, Manzana has offered to spend $527,000 to raise condors.

At its lowest population count, there were just 18 California Condors left. Through captive breeding programs, that number has grown to nearly 500 over the course of four decades.

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