COVID-19

One of the many untold effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the toll it is taking on patients without the coronavirus. During the initial wave of COVID cases, staying home was universally urged to protect people from exposure to the infection, but, in the process, many people ignored serious medical issues that should have sent them to their provider or an emergency room. 

Angel Russell/KCBX

Some hair salon owners throughout California, including ones along the Central Coast, plan to reopen their doors August 17, despite orders from the governor and local health officials to remain closed.

We’ll hear from Dr. Gail Newel, Santa Cruz County's public health officer, who discusses a variety of topics—from new evidence on the effectiveness of masks to how the pandemic has affected her daily life. We'll learn about Downtown SLO's efforts to maintain a vital city center during the pandemic from the organization’s CEO Bettina Swigger. The Point San Luis Lighthouse just celebrated its 130th birthday, and while it's closed for actual tours during the pandemic, its history is rich and there are lots of plans for the future. Finally, insects are included in the everyday diet in many parts of the world, and we’ll learn about raising awareness and changing the perception of Americans around eating bugs.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Jon Jarosh, Director of Communications at Destination Door County. Jarosh explains how Door County, Wisconsin has cultivated a motivated COVID-aware tourism sector that goes to great lengths to ensure safe social-distancing, wearing masks and promoting safe outdoor dining and activity venues.

Door County has been a favored vacation destination for families across the Midwest for more than a century. Popular outdoor activities include hiking, biking, boating, and family forays at u-pick cherry orchards. Outdoor experiences continue in the midst of winter with snow shoeing, cross country skiing and ice fishing on Sturgeon Bay.

Nurses across the Central Coast demonstrated this week, taking part in a national day of action. The healthcare workers aim to bring attention to the ongoing lack of personal protective equipment, or PPE.

UCSB SRC

Archivists at UC Santa Barbara are documenting the pandemic’s effect on the university’s community. To do so, they’ve asked students, staff, faculty and alumni to send in submissions, without any guidance on form or content.

And so far, UCSB’s Special Research Collections have received nearly 100 submissions.

Edward M. Corpus

Monterey County artists have opened up their workspaces as part of the annual Artists Open Studio Tour over the past three decades. This year, though, those doors will remain closed because of the pandemic. Arts Habitat, which took over as organizer in 2016, has canceled the tour until next summer.

Courtesy of Cayucos Elementary

Some elementary schools in San Luis Obispo County are now filing paperwork trying to get permission to reopen for in-person classes in the fall. It involves asking for a waiver from the county public health department.

Daniel Barboza

FOMAT Medical Research is a clinical research institute in Oxnard, working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to host research on a COVID-19 vaccine.

Angel Russell/KCBX

The fitness industry has taken a huge hit as the state is trying to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

For two-and-a-half months, Central Coast gyms were closed due to state mandates. Then fitness centers got the green light to open in some counties again in mid-June, only to be told to reclose just a few weeks later.

While you may not be able to leisurely peruse the shelves of your local library right now, it doesn’t mean the library still can’t be your haven during the COVID-19 pandemic. Libraries have quickly changed how, where and when they offer services amongst the continuing pandemic, finding ways to allow the community to access the myriad of valuable resources they have to offer. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with San Luis Obispo County Libraries' Christopher Barnickel, Chase McMunn, Aracelli Astorga and Sharon Coronado as they discuss how County of SLO Public Libraries are working to support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issues & Ideas: Coin shortage, abalone and a "quarantini" a day

Jul 28, 2020


As most schools continue with distance learning this fall, high school sports will be put on hold until—at least—early next year. KCBX speaks to a local athlete and coach about what the delay means for them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than five million Americans who make their living in the arts and cultural sector across the U.S. Cancellation of gigs, concerts, openings and engagements to quell the spread of the virus is wreaking havoc on artists, businesses, nonprofits, institutions and individuals of all types. As with other industries, the pandemic is bound to have a severe impact on the financial health of our local arts organizations and individual artists.

Despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic, this is not just an election year, but also a very important year for everyone to participate and be counted as part of the 2020 U.S. Census. Due to the pandemic, both of these civic duties have become more complicated. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks in the first half hour with Tommy Gong, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder, and Michael Latner, Ph.D., Cal Poly political science professor and Kendall Voting Rights Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists, as they discuss the integrity of the 2020 election and plans to make voting safe and accessible to everyone. In the second half hour, Kris speaks with representatives from local organizations, who amid COVID-19, are working to prevent an undercount in the 2020 Census within 'hard-to-reach' communities. Guests include Devon McQuade, development and communications coordinator with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition; Brandy Graham, veteran support programs manager with CAPSLO; and Micki Wright, a senior volunteer services representative.

Greta Mart/KCBX

After three days on the state’s watchlist for COVID-19 cases, San Luis Obispo County is now back under the kind of closure orders experienced in March, April and May. All bars are closed. Starting Thursday, gyms, churches, most offices, salons and malls are ordered to close down all indoor operations.

Angel Russell/KCBX

Despite weeks of assurances from county and state officials, not everybody who wants a COVID-19 test can get one, especially now. On July 9 San Luis Obispo County’s health officer said there’s not enough capacity to meet the huge increase in demand for testing, and she asked people with no symptoms to not seek a test at this time, only essential workers.

California faced a crisis in affordable housing even before COVID-19, so how has the pandemic affected the situation? During shelter at home orders, and the continued restrictions, many low-income tenants have faced job and income loss that have prevented them from paying rent, buying food and accessing health care.  Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with John Fowler, president and CEO with Peoples’ Self-Help Housing (PSHH) and Morgen Benevedo, PSHH's director of multifamily housing, as they discuss how COVID-19 is affecting affordable housing, including issues such as increase in need, resident safety, a decrease in production and capitalization problems for the future. Plus, what role the government has, and strategies for increasing affordable housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since mid-June, Santa Barbara’s tourism marketing branch has been advertising the city as “Open for Travel,” an action which has brought some criticism.

Angel Russell/KCBX

Choosing not to–or forgetting to–wear a mask in parts of California could cost you. The city of Monterey is now citing people not wearing masks, and the city of Arroyo Grande is eyeing a similar ordinance.

All bars across San Luis Obispo County are now ordered to close for the weekend, to "avoid large congregations of individuals in close proximity within a confined space."

Angel Russell/KCBX News

Bars, breweries and wine tasting venues are closing their doors Thursday night in San Luis Obispo after the city issued temporary restrictions for the 4th of July holiday.

Marco Bruschi

Younger adults are contributing to the rise in COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, and a spike in confirmed cases statewide has led California's governor to reinstate shut-down orders for all bars, pubs and brewpubs. And while not ordered to do so, San Luis Obispo city officials announced Wednesday that the city's bars must too close as of July 2. 

Issues & Ideas: Flying at SBP, job losses for undocumented workers and GALA pride

Jun 26, 2020

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas, San Luis Obispo author Nicholas Belardes talks about growing up in Bakersfield and going to a high school steeped in Confederate symbolism. A new report from UC Merced shows undocumented workers have been hit hard when it comes to job loss during the pandemic, especially women in non-essential jobs. SLO County Regional Airport director Kevin Bumen discusses the current protocol of transiting through the airport, in-flight COVID-19 precautions and the state of the airline industry as people are beginning to think about traveling again. Michelle Call of  the Central Coast's Gay and Lesbian Alliance, or GALA, gives us an update on local happenings during Pride Month. And finally, we learn how sea otters may be keeping our estuaries’ underwater plants healthy.

As the effects of COVID-19 are felt around the world, the real estate and development industry are being impacted in different ways. Interest rates are at a historic low, yet fewer homes are on the market

Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with experts from the Central Coast housing and real estate industry—Chris Richardson, president of Richardson Properties; Mary Trudeau, SLO division manager at the Mortgage House; and Lindy Hatcher, executive director of the Home Builders Association on the Central Coast—as they discuss how the global pandemic could reshape the U.S. real estate industry.

When everything hits at once it can feel like you are drowning—the weight of the world bears down on your chest and even the simplest of daily tasks can began to feel like rolling a boulder up a hill. If that sounds familiar, you're not alone. Since March there has been a 30% increase in reported depressive episodes in people who have not struggled with mental health before. With limited services available, where can people get help? Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, about coping with stress overload, recognizing deep melancholy and building resilience while trying to care for children, family, friends and hoping to heal the world.

Courtesy of the SB Zoo

Zoos in California are welcoming the public back after being closed since mid-March. The gates of Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero reopened Wednesday, and director Alan Baker said it’s great seeing visitors again, since it was a bit eerie being at the zoo without visitors for so long.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport with a conversation with airport director Kevin Bumen. Bumen shares insights about current protocol of transiting through airports; in-flight COVID-19 precautions and the current status of the airline industry; details about TSA protocols; United, Delta, Alaska and American Airlines' modification of service frequency, including United's temporary elimination of service between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles; and Delta's elimination of service to Santa Barbara.

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Coast businesses has been immense. Results from a survey issued to local business owners by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce suggest severe impacts on the business community due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Jim Dantona, president and CEO of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and Jocelyn Brennan, president and CEO of the South County Chambers of Commerce, about the business and economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the Central Coast. They will discuss their efforts to assist businesses and organizations weather the closure, navigating confusing HR issues, and help businesses prepare for a safe, successful, and sustainable reopening of the economy.

What will student learning look like when the new school year starts? The San Luis Coastal Unified School District this week laid out different pandemic-prompted scenarios for how the district’s 7,500 students will attend classes in the fall.

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