COVID-19

Photo from UCSB

Experts say efficient testing and tracing are key components to limiting the spread of COVID-19. With this in mind, UC Santa Barbara has opened a certified clinical COVID lab on campus for students, faculty and staff.

While the COVID-19 pandemic had changed lives across the world, numerous studies have shown that certain groups have been disproportionally affected by the crisis, among this woman. A recent report shows that a staggering 87% of women business owners say they have been adversely affected by the pandemic. What have been some of the greatest challenges for women business owners during the pandemic and why, and how have women managed to innovate, and find support during these difficult times?


Angel Russell

Since March of last year, about 19,000 people in San Luis Obispo County have tested positive for the coronavirus and around 200 people locally have died due to the pandemic.

On March 14th, 2020, the county reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus. The next day, south county resident Oralis Cornelius and her husband became the second and third confirmed cases.

Anne Wernikoff/CalMatters

Californians with high-risk medical conditions will qualify for COVID-19 vaccines starting March 15, the state’s health secretary announced today.

After several months of being under the most restrictive pandemic-related closures, San Luis Obispo County health officials are optimistic that further reopening could be just days away.

“We remain firmly in the purple tier; however, we are making progress,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, based on the state’s framework and the county's current metrics. 

Shae Hammond for CalMatters

Last fall, St. John’s Well Child and Family Center began purchasing sub-zero freezers to store the COVID-19 vaccine. By Nov. 20, St. John’s had eight freezers, with three more on the way. 

Issues & Ideas: Big Sur landslide, a broken EDD and Central Coast internet connectivity

Feb 9, 2021

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, Central Coast state senator John Laird talks with KCBX’s Greta Mart about the EDD and the effort to fix the dysfunctional agency. New research out of UC San Francisco examines the risk of COVID-19 death among essential workers, and we’ll hear from the UCSF epidemiologist who led the research team. Monterey County's Big Sur community faces more hardship now that a section of Highway 1 is yet again closed after a landslide. Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a recall effort, and we’ll take a look at who’s behind the effort and also fact check claims about Facebook’s role in the situation. You’ll hear a conversation about fiber optics and the future of internet connectivity on the Central Coast. Finally, a discussion about the important role of ‘makers’ to keep shopping interesting in a downtown setting.

SLO City Church

The U.S. Supreme Court is telling California that it can't bar indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it can keep—for now—a ban on singing and chanting indoors.

Angel Russell

San Luis Obispo County is facing a shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine, and public health officials said because of that, the Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande vaccination sites will be closed this week. 

Angel Russell

While a litter problem is not new to Pismo Beach, city officials said the pandemic has exacerbated the situation, and now they are seeking new solutions.

Angel Russell

At Port San Luis in Avila Beach, fishermen and women are now able to sell their fresh catch directly off the pier in a new "Fishermen's Market" pilot program.

Issues & Ideas: Alzheimer's research, farmworker vaccinations and expanding inclusion

Feb 2, 2021

50 agricultural workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine at their workplace in Fresno, which advocates say is the best way to ensure all farmworkers get vaccinated. Governor Gavin Newsom has had mixed success modernizing state bureaucracy in the last two years. You’ll hear from a UCSB neuroscientist about a research project aimed at understanding Alzheimer's. Also, we’ll get an update from Michelle Call of GALA Pride and Diversity Center on the ways the organization has become more inclusive. And finally, you’ll get a closer look at the work being done at SLO’s Transitions Mental Health Association.

Cal Poly partner lab makes mistake on COVID-19 test results

Feb 1, 2021
Alexa Kushner

Avellino Labs, a third-party lab charged with administering COVID-19 tests to Cal Poly students, told campus officials in late January it made a mistake in reporting test results.

Angel Russell/KCBX

1/29/21 UPDATE

Just a few dozen Central Coast residents remain without power this morning as PG&E and SoCalEdison continue to clean up damage from this week's storm. Advisories for high surf remain in effect through this evening. Highway 1 remains closed from Ragged Point to Big Sur, and no estimate on when the coastal highway will reopen after a mudslide covered the road near Big Creek Bridge. Storm-related damage and flooding has closed several roads across Monterey County. In the Santa Ynez Valley, Highway 246 is closed due to downed trees in the roadway and Caltrans crews are on the scene. Many roads across the Central Coast are still experiencing flooding, so extreme caution while driving is advised. 

As of today, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 400,000 people in the U.S. and while hope is on the arisen, with two vaccines currently being distributed, the virus is still considered to be “widespread” on the Central Coast, with hundreds of new infections reported daily. So, what should you do if you come down with the virus? Is it okay to go to the doctor? The hospital? How safe is the vaccine? And, how can you make an appointment to get vaccinated? 

Novo San Luis Obispo

A sweeping motion by California’s governor lifting regional stay-home-orders now puts the state back into a four-tier system, with Central Coast counties returning to the most restrictive purple tier. 

Courtesy of the City of Paso Robles

As restrictions continue due to state COVID-19 orders, the city of Paso Robles has started a program to help businesses stay afloat, while giving customers a discount.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing

Over the past decade, people around the world have started to observe 'Dry January,' abstaining from alcohol for the month for a healthier start to the new year. But one Central Coast brewery is hoping people place that goal on hold this year.

Courtesy of SBUSD

The Santa Barbara Unified School District has adopted a new grading policy for secondary students—grades 7-12—as they continue with distance learning.

By a unanimous vote, the school board passed a grading policy that now includes an option for a grade of 'No Credit' in lieu of an F.

High school students in Santa Barbara County have not had on-campus classes in almost a year. Aiming to change that, some students started a unique competition. 

Across the globe, businesses of all sizes are recognizing that supportive policies and practices increase organizational productivity, while also boosting the physical and emotional health of employees and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the overlapping lines between work and life, and provides a unique opportunity to consider how family-friendly options may be incorporated at businesses everywhere. Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Wendy Wendt, executive director of First 5 San Luis Obispo County; Maggie Payne, program director with Atascadero Children’s Center; and Molly Kern, director of governmental affairs with San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. In the second part of the program, Kris will be talking with Kelly Boss, HR director with IFixit; Zihad Naccascha, partner and cofounder of Carmel & Naccascha LLP; and Angela Toomey, HR director with Morris and Garritano.  They will explore the many benefits of family-friendly workplace policies, and identify opportunities for change.

Angel Russell

After closing once again in December due to concerns about visitors not following COVID-19 public health guidelines, SLO County's Pismo Preserve is now reopened, but with limited hours.

The Mask Map is a website where people can post their opinions and experiences on whether a store or other business is following pandemic-related mask mandates. But some business owners caution the website may not accurately reflect a businesses' position or enforcement of social distancing rules and mask wearing. 

Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group

The record $89.5 billion education budget Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled Friday includes $2 billion in grants aimed at nudging schools to reopen classrooms for its youngest students by mid-February and $4.6 billion for summer school to address students’ learning.

Courtesy of Cottage Hospital

Intensive care unit bed capacity is reaching a limit in Santa Barbara County, and health officials warn it may get worse.

In this episode of Issues & Ideas, we learn about a project aimed at addressing climate change by planting trees in Stockton and renewing urban forests. A new law could help many musicians and performers in California once venues reopen. You’ll hear about a local company called Comevo that experienced success during the pandemic and stepped up to help others. The San Luis Obispo County Library system has faced challenges this past year, but continues to move forward with innovations and a lot of hard work. And finally, a local resident has been planting lots of fig trees from cuttings, and we’ll share some ideas about gardening, cooking and eating figs.

Angel Russell

The Cal Poly  campus in San Luis Obispo is buzzing once again, with Monday's start to the winter quarter, and students are adjusting to the increased COVID-19 testing. 

Angel Russell

While many are waiting to see when they'll get the new stimulus check, an estimated 9,000 undocumented residents of SLO County may be excluded. That's where SLO County UndocuSupport is helping out.

City of Lompoc

A rapid COVID-19 testing location has opened in Lompoc, which can provide results to patients within minutes. But health officials warn not to rely solely on the rapid test if the result is negative. 

Issues & Ideas: US fishing industry floundering, debris flow risk and the Channel Islands

Dec 28, 2020

On the December 21 edition of Issues & Ideas, we'll hear a report on how some GOP lawmakers in California oppose business shutdowns because they say there’s no evidence they reduce COVID-19 cases or spikes. And, you’ll hear about how the pandemic is impacting the fishing industry on the entral Coast and beyond, as KCBX speaks with a Central Coast fishing industry official and two academic researchers. Lake Tahoe has finally received a measurable amount of snow, and more is forecasted, but the pandemic has buried the tourist economy there. The rainy season is upon Monterey County and because of this summer’s major wildfires, the season brings a significant risk of debris flows. We have a report on how COVID-19 has affected one Central Valley family. We’ll also hear from a San Luis Obispo business owner about current challenges and opportunities—and the risks her family took during the pandemic to help their business stay afloat. Finally, we’ll learn about a new "un-textbook" written about the Channel Islands.

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