Morning Briefing: Staying Safe, Sane And In Compliance
Our state and county stay-at-home orders came swooping in fast, and they’re being updated and amended almost daily. Since Mayor Eric Garcetti’s initial mandate, folks in L.A. have been scrambling to stay safe, stay in compliance and — perhaps most difficult— stay sane.
We have the stories of some such challenges coming up today, from a man who’s staying at a homeless shelter and worried about an apparent lack of soap, to LAX officials’ ongoing emergency response, to one reporter’s exploration of what could happen if the Big One hit right now.
Here’s what we’re covering today:
- Robert Garrova explores what happens at skilled nursing facilities, like Cedar Mountain in Yucaipa, when residents and staff test positive for COVID-19.
- Head Starts, preschools and transitional kindergartens are closed, and teachers are trying to translate their lessons to a variety of digital apps, reports Mariana Dale.
- Matt Tinoco talks to a man currently spending nights at a South L.A. homeless shelter, who reached out to us to tell us social distancing is not being enforced, and there appears to be no soap on the premises.
- Josie Huang has the story of a former USC admissions official who’s agreed to plead guilty to a charge of wire fraud, having allegedly secured admission to the university’s graduate programs in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash.
- After a 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit Idaho earlier this week, Jacob Margolis looks at what would happen if the Big One struck L.A. while we’re battling coronavirus.
- Mike Roe talks with photographers who have been doing socially distant portraits, shot through windows and from far away — a sign of our times.
- L.A. County Fire officials are seeing a sharp uptick of calls from people complaining of fever and other COVID-19 symptoms, reports Elly Yu.
- Sharon McNary covers an L.A. Board of Airport Commissioners meeting, convened specifically to discuss COVID-19 concerns.
Your COVID-19 cheat sheet: What's happened in the past 24 hours
- L.A. County now has over 3,000 coronavirus cases, and another 11 deaths were reported Wednesday. There are now more than 883,000 cases worldwide.
- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti recommended that everyone wear masks when they venture outside (if you’re not a health care worker, you only need something homemade, like a bandana or scarf – not an N95).
- When Andrea Austin, an ER physician in downtown L.A., started her shift on Sunday afternoon, things were different than usual.
- We answer your questions, including: “Should people without symptoms be wearing masks when they go out?” and “Will I get sick if I eat food with coronavirus on it?” Gov. Gavin Newsom answered another common question, stressing that face masks don’t replace social distancing.
- Medical schools in the University of California system are trying to make it easy for fourth-years to join the workforce faster, and six health clinics in L.A. County can now provide assistance to families thanks to a donation of more than 150,000 diapers and 3,500 cans of formula.
- It's April 2. The rent is past due. But instead of writing a check, many small businesses in Southern California are writing uncomfortable emails to their landlords. On the flip side, LAist readers share letters they've received from their landlords.
- Los Angeles County's top education official urged all school districts to keep their campuses "physically closed" for the remainder of this academic year, and the University of California announced today that it will temporarily relax undergraduate admissions requirements for students seeking to enroll for fall 2020.
- We recently told you about how Southern California distilleries, including Portuguese Bend, AMASS and Blinking Owl, revamped their operations to make hand sanitizer. Here's an update.
- Talent agency WME said on Wednesday that it will cut much of its staff compensation between 5 percent and 30 percent. In other entertainment news, Spectrum Networks and AT&T struck a deal to bring Dodgers games to fans on DirecTV, AT&T TV, U-Verse TV and AT&T Now.
- Adam Schlesinger, known for being part of pop group Fountains of Wayne and writing music for everything from That Thing You Do! to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, has died from coronavirus complications. We remember his work.
- A train engineer admitted to deliberately derailing a locomotive at the Port of Los Angeles, stating that he believed the nearby hospital ship U.S.N.S. Mercy, docked in L.A. to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, was suspicious.
- In a scheduled briefing typically reserved for updating the public on the federal response to the current global pandemic, President Donald Trump instead announced that his administration is doubling down on the international war on drugs.
Here are some non-COVID-19 reads:
- As of this week, about one in three American households have completed the census. But in L.A. County, a Census Bureau map of individual tracts shows that participation is starting to look segregated.
- Theatrical lighting designer Elizabeth Harper has created the looks for plays at the Geffen Playhouse, the Mark Taper Forum, South Coast Repertory and more. She told us how she got where she is today.
And now, your moment of Zen:
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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.