News Roundup: Hospitals Ready for COVID Surge, Businesses Lend a Hand and More


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Humboldt County hospitals are preparing surge capacity in intensive care units, the Times-Standard reports, and have plans in place to more than double the number of beds currently available should it become necessary amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The story, reported by the Times-Standard’s Sonia Waraich, details efforts at three Humboldt County hospitals and notes that St. Joseph Hospital has converted an entire 32-bed care unit into a negative pressure respiratory unit to care for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients. Read the full report here.

The Lost Coast Outpost, meanwhile, has a story from Ryan Burns looking at the hard hit the local economy has taken from the pandemic and for potential reasons for hope that what is increasingly looking like an economic hellscape won’t be permanent. The Outpost also has a pair of stories on how Kokatat and Holly Yashi have pivoted operations to producing masks and face shields, respectively.

On the state level, meanwhile, nonprofit Calmatters has some deep dives worth a read, including a story detailing the state’s plans to get $125 million in disaster relief to the undocumented workers who make up 10 percent of the state’s workforce, an uplifting piece about the small “acts of grace” getting people through this challenging time, a look at spiking domestic violence rates during shelter in place in some parts of the state and another at how state budget cuts loom with the COVID-19 recession.

On the student press front, Skaidra Pulley, copyeditor for Arcata High School’s powerhouse Pepperbox newspaper, has a heartfelt column, “Let Seniors Be Sad,” offering some insight as to how closing schools for the remainder of the year has hit 12th graders especially hard.

The Mad River Union, meanwhile, has a thorough write-up of a recent Arcata City Council meeting, which includes information about the city’s rolling out an emergency loan program for local businesses, the council’s discussion on whether the city should introduce a mandatory-face-covering ordinance and efforts to house the city’s homeless residents, which include securing local motel rooms for some high-risk people and making city-owned parking lots temporarily available for socially distanced campgrounds. Read the story here, and peruse the paper’s special feature in which “area resident Paula Proctor and her sisters” offer up a “music playlist relevant to our time” and featuring a lot of Beatles in list form in case readers want to revisit making mixtapes at home.

On the press release front, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced yesterday that the National Police Association, Fortuna Police Employees Association and Humboldt Deputy Sheriffs Organization have combined to fund a $10,000 reward for information lead to the identification, arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for opening fire on a local deputy April 13. The Yurok Tribe, meanwhile, announced that it is ramping up COVID-19 related services to tribal citizens.

And finally, the Times-Standard reported that Mountain Mike’s Pizza “opened its doors to the hungry masses” Wednesday afternoon. We’ll take this opportunity to remind you that Humboldt County Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich urged county residents to remember the the intent of the county’s shelter-in-place order — “to create as much distancing as possible and limit the number of times you are outside your home” — when deciding whether picking up some takeout constitutes an “essential” outing. (We’ll also add a trigger warning for those who've had it with seeing unmasked faces or four people huddled within 6 feet of one another — you might want to skip the photo accompanying the story.)

And in case you missed it, this Journal’s ongoing COVID-19 reporting included daily case updates, a detailed look at how two organizations — little Peninsula Union School and nonprofit Cooperation Humboldt — are working to meet neighbors’ needs, an analysis of how low testing rates may have contributed a recent dip in the number of new cases locally, a rundown of where bookworms can turn to get their fix while sheltering in place, the latest look at Humboldt’s rising unemployment numbers, a look at how Dell’Arte is taking its show online and a pair of columns from the fine folks at the Humboldt Office of Education, one looking at how to help prevent domestic violence and the other on how childcare workers are essential and under-appreciated.

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