Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 7/22/20, AM
Nursing Homes’ COVID Concerns / Parents Sue CA Over Remote Learning Requirement / CA Files 50th Lawsuit Against Trump Administration / Rare California Wolves Have A Litter
Nursing Homes’ COVID Concerns
Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are on the rise in much of California, and nursing homes are again bracing for outbreaks. But they’re worried about supplies and staff
Preventing infections in a skilled nursing facility takes rapid testing, lots of protective gear and enough staff to backfill workers who might have to stay home sick.
That’s according to Deborah Pacyna with the California Association of Health Facilities — a trade group for long-term care homes.
“What we’re looking at right now, the situation’s a little troubling.”
Pacyna says supplies are running low, and same-day testing isn’t on the horizon. And she says these homes were understaffed even before the pandemic.
“Added to that we have the virus, we have people staying home from work. Some are afraid to come to work.”
A bill moving through the legislature would require nursing homes to hire a full-time infection prevention specialist, which some advocates feel could alleviate future outbreaks.
Parents Sue CA Over Remote Learning Requirement
A group of California parents are suing the state over guidelines that would continue remote learning for most schoolchildren this fall. Under a plan laid out by Governor Gavin Newsom last week, schools in more than 30 counties hit hard by the coronavirus will not be able to open. Those are counties on the state’s watch list- which are being monitored for increased spread and strained hospitals.
The lawsuit alleges the plan to keep schools in those counties closed violates children’s right to a basic education under the California Constitution. It also claims the guidelines violate the Equal Protection Clause by only allowing some kids to go back to school in-person. San Francisco attorney Harmeet Dhillon filed the lawsuit.
“What we are advocating is parent choice. But the governor took that choice away. It is devastating and it must be stopped.”
Dhillon says remote learning is tougher for disadvantaged kids and says families should be able to decide for themselves whether to stay remote or return to school.
CA Files 50th Lawsuit Against Trump Administration
Attorneys general from 20 states, including California, sued the Trump administration, Tuesday, over federal rules that they say undermine the protection of waterways like rivers. It’s the 50th time the state has sued the administration over environmental rollbacks.
The attorneys generals say the new rules announced by the US EPA last week alter a three-decade old practice that gives states the power to review, block or amend parts of federal water projects.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says losing that power would make it difficult for states to protect water quality.
“We want to keep California's environment the envy of the world and the pride of every Californian. That's why we will be taking the Trump administration to court once again.”
Becerra says the federal push could limit California’s ability to have a say in everything from pipelines to housing development to hydroelectric projects. He says the decision is part of a larger effort to undermine the Clean Water Act.
Rare California Wolves Have A Litter
California’s only known gray wolf pack has eight new pups. Eight youngsters were tallied in the Lassen Pack in northeastern California, according to an April-through-June report from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. The father is a black-furred male that began traveling with the pack last year. The agency said he isn’t related to any other known California wolves, and his origin isn’t clear, the agency said.
The pack in Lassen County now has at least 14 animals.
Gray wolves were eradicated in California early in the last century because of their perceived threat to livestock. An Oregon wolf with a radio collar, dubbed OR-7, arrived in 2011, and he became the first confirmed wolf in the California wild since 1924.
OR-7 later returned to Oregon, where he founded the Rogue Pack before vanishing last fall. Other Oregon wolves, including several offspring of OR-7, have turned up in California. A male from the Rogue Pack was the first breeding male of the Lassen Pack, but he hasn’t been seen since last year.
A pack of seven wolves was seen in Shasta County in 2015 but vanished within a year. The reappearance of wolves in the state has riled ranchers, who say wolves have preyed on their livestock on public or private land.
Wolves are protected under California’s Endangered Species Act even as the federal Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to delist gray wolves as an endangered species.