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Morning Brief: COVID At Schools, A Nursing Shortage, And Fryman Canyon

A yellow school bus from Los Angeles Unified School District.
A yellow school bus from Los Angeles Unified School District.
(Kyle Stokes
LAist )
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Good morning, L.A. It’s August 27.

Coronavirus cases are still on the rise in L.A. County, and schools are new hotbeds for outbreaks as kids return to in-person learning.

Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, announced that during the week of Aug. 16 — the week that L.A.Unified School District returned to the classroom — 2,666 cases were reported among students and staff, the vast majority of the almost 3,200 cases at schools around the county.

Some of those, she noted, were in connection to youth sports, during which students may be mingling indoors and without masks. Several such outbreaks were linked to multi-day indoor high school cheerleading and dance camps, which together affected 10 staff and 131 students.

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Otherwise, positive tests among students were largely single cases, not widespread outbreaks, as they often were during the height of community transmission in 2020.

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Meanwhile, in L.A. County as a whole, public health officials on Thursday announced 3,226 new COVID-19 cases. To put that in some context, at this time last year, when lockdown was in full effect, our region was averaging about 1,290 new cases per day.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis pointed to folks who remain unvaccinated as the likely cause of the spread. The vast majority of infections and hospitalizations in the county are among those who have yet to receive their shots.

"We really do want people who are unvaccinated, and those who have started vaccination who haven't finished, to … go ahead and get fully vaccinated," Davis said.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The South Fire burning north of Fontana has already destroyed at least a dozen homes and other structures since it was first reported Wednesday afternoon. One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a minor injury.
  • As classes resume, a new state law governing independent study is worsening staff shortages, threatening school budgets and forcing quarantined students to relive last year’s school shutdowns.
  • COVID-19 burnout is driving many nurses to quit, and hospital administrators in California say the state’s new vaccine mandate is compounding the shortage, too.
  • A suspected gunman was shot and killed by police after officers responded to reports of an active shooter at the Redondo Beach Pier on Wednesday night.

Weekend Reads

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, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

Refugees from Afghanistan have begun to arrive in Southern California, but their resettlement has been complicated. (LAist)

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Latinos between the ages of 18 and 35 have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. A new program seeks to help the community get vaccinated. (San Fernando Valley Sun)

Worried about the delta variant? Here’s what you need to know. (LAist)

Kids will have plenty of ways to learn language and communication, even when masks are covering mouths around them. (KCRW)

A third dose of the coronavirus vaccine will be available soon. (LAist)

J Sw!ft was one of L.A.’s most promising musicians in the ‘90s. Then everything changed. (The LAnd)

As part of our Race in L.A. series, our panel answered a reader’s question: “Would it be considered racist for a non-Black mother to put her child's hair in braids or cornrows?” (LAist)

The former owners of Mama Lu’s Dumpling House paid more than $2 million in back taxes and fees. (LAist)

Before You Go ... This Weekend's Outdoor Pick: Fryman Canyon

Fryman Canyon in Studio City offers a 3 mi. moderate loop trail in the middle of L.A.
(Courtesy of rick, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

This nearly three-mile loop is easy to access from both Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, and offers a hike that lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. It’s not as crowded as other city hiking spots (hi, Runyon) but it's popular, especially on weekends. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leash.

Or, you could: Groove at a silent disco. Explore a groundbreaking graphic memoir. Learn how to curl (the winter sport, not the hairstyling technique). Watch a modern operatic spin on Cinderella. Check out a Cypress Park beer garden and a Culver City deli or score free donuts, free cookies and ridiculously cheap ice cream. And more.

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