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Morning Briefing: The Racial Disparity Of Coronavirus Inside Nursing Homes

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The coronavirus is taking a disproportionate toll on communities of color, including Pacific Islanders and African Americans. In a new story, Jackie Fortiér reports that those disparities are carrying over into nursing homes – in facilities with larger communities of color, the virus has infected more residents and staff, regardless of the institution’s quality, location or ranking.

Speaking to Alma Lara-Garcia, a certified nursing assistant at East L.A.’s Buena Ventura Post Acute Care Center, Fortiér discovered a situation in which staff were left in the dark about how to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, and about rates of the virus as it ravaged the facility.

"We were scared,” said Lara-Garcia. “We didn't know what was happening.”

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The disparity can be traced in part to the still-segregated nature of nursing homes, like so many other institutions. But that doesn’t account for all of it, and experts continue to scratch their heads for answers.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, May 22

In the tiny city of Hawaiian Gardens, the very large card room casino has closed because of the coronavirus, reports Sharon McNary, causing a damaging ripple effect on both local city revenue and businesses.

Itxy Quintanilla explores which, if any, campsites will be open for the holiday weekend, and what precautions and guidelines will be in place.

Elina Shatkin takes a look at how the virus is affecting San Gabriel Valley’s restaurants, as old school spots pivot to stay afloat, new ones struggle to establish themselves and diners show their support.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now 42,037 coronavirus cases and 2,016 deaths in L.A. County, and at least 87,500 cases and 3,560 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 5.1 million cases and over 332,000 deaths. L.A. County’s public health director said the region is "moving in the right direction" in its response to COVID-19.

Money Matters: Unemployment recipients who've exhausted their benefits should be eligible for a 13-week extension, but many haven't gotten it yet.

The Growing Toll Of COVID-19: One union reports that at least 68 L.A. grocery store workers have died from coronavirus. In L.A. County nursing homes, one factor distinguishes the facilities reporting the highest number of deaths: their residents are mostly black and Latino. Like other meatpacking facilities across the country, the Farmer John plant in Vernon has had an outbreak of COVID-19 cases. Nurses at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center protested to demand greater protections during the pandemic.

Policing The Sheriffs: The Civilian Oversight Commission will subpoena sheriff's records related to a possible cover-up, regarding deputies taking photos of the site where Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed.

The Times Are Changing: The Kevin and Bean show is no more, and the playlists have gotten noticeably less ‘alternative.’ Can KROQ survive? The UC system will not require students to submit SAT and ACT scores for undergraduate least until 2024.

L.A.’s Unhoused: City and county officials are pushing back against an order to relocate thousands of homeless people living near freeways.

Stay Busy, L.A.: This week’s quarantine-approved events include a number of SoCal restaurants offering holiday to-go specials, Scarypoolparty and Sublime performing virtually and CHIRLA holding a star-studded music festival. Also a Britney Spears dance party. With coronavirus shutting down L.A.'s escape rooms, creators are taking their games online.

Final Goodbyes: We remember one of L.A.’s coronavirus victims: Gaspar Gomez, 51, of Pacoima, was a father, immigrant, and longtime day laborer who died from the virus this month.

Your Moment Of Zen

Visual journalist Chava Sanchez captured these blooming jacarandas in Lincoln Heights.

Blooming jacarandas in Lincoln Heights, May 21, 2020. (Chava Sanchez / LAist)

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